How to Make Great Chocolate Chip Cookies Every Time
Even for professional bakers like Liz Shim, chocolate chip cookies can be one of the trickiest things to get consistent batch after batch. But with a few tips and the right recipe, you can make perfectly chewy chocolate chip cookies in a matter of minutes.
First, you want to start with the right ingredients. Using a combination of brown and white sugar is key here. Brown sugar makes the cookies soft and chewy with a good caramel flavor because of the molasses, and white sugar makes them crispy around the edges. Using only one kind of sugar can mess with the balance of textures, resulting in a very flat and crunchy cookie or one that is too soft and floppy. Liz relies on this Best Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe for her ideal texture; however, if you prefer a chewier cookie, increase the brown sugar to 1 ½ cups and decrease the white sugar to ½ cup.
Back to Basics
The joy of chocolate chip cookies is that you probably already have most, if not all, of the ingredients on hand, so you can whip them up whenever the craving strikes. However, you will want to pull two things out ahead of time to make sure they can come to room temperature: the butter and the eggs. Softened butter is key to whip up any fluffy batter and can be pulled out of the fridge a few hours ahead of time or the night before. Forgot to soften your butter? Place it in the microwave and heat in 5-10 second increments until soft. Similarly, pull your eggs from the fridge a few hours ahead of time, or, if you forget, place them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Having all your ingredients at the same temperature ensures the dough will come together smoothly and all the ingredients can emulsify.
Making the Dough
When it comes time to mix, make sure to cream your butter and sugars thoroughly, for at least 3-5 minutes. You want it to fully incorporate and then continue mixing until aerated and lightened in color. This step is crucial to creating puffy cookies with pockets of air that provide chewiness. The rest of the recipe is as easy as they come; along with a little vanilla, two eggs go in, one at a time to ensure they emulsify. If you want an extra-rich and chewy cookie, Liz suggests adding an extra egg yolk at this step. Always scrape down the sides of the bowl in between steps to make sure anything that was pushed to the sides is incorporated back in. Next, the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking soda) go in and that's about it! This is a wonderful base dough for any cookie so feel free to customize. For simple chocolate chip cookies, Liz adds semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can add other kinds of chocolate, dried fruits, or nuts.
Use a light-colored aluminum pan and parchment — not wax — paper to get an even bake and easy release. An ice cream scoop is ideal for same-size cookie dough balls, which will mean evenly and perfectly baked cookies. If your scoops are vary in size, it may cause the larger cookies to be under-baked and/or the smaller cookies to burn. Finally, make sure to space your cookies out and give them room to spread! There's nothing worse than getting all the way through a recipe only to have a sheet tray of cookies all stuck together. If you want to reduce the amount that your cookies spread, chill them in the fridge for about 30 minutes before baking. Scoop and bake as many as you like, and simply scoop the remaining raw dough into portions, freeze, and then transfer the frozen dough balls to a freezer safe bag or container to store. When you're ready to bake, add a few more minutes to the standard bake time and you're well on your way to fresh-from-the-oven warm cookies.
With these tips and a solid recipe, you can make quick chocolate chip cookies in no time. All that's missing is a glass of cold milk.