Cooking What I Want

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

By • January 1, 2014 • 81 Comments

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When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: exactly what you want, when and where you want them.

Today: A cookie with the perfect combination of fat, flavor, and comfort. Who needs detox? 
 Chocolate Chip Cookies from Food52

Year round, my freezer is a treasure trove of sweet treats. Often, when friends come over, they walk right past me, head into the kitchen, and start foraging around until ahhhh yes they find what they’re looking for: chocolate chip cookies. They take a huge bite and sigh out a thing or two from this list:

They’re intoxicating.
Can I live at your house? In your freezer? With those cookies?
They’re perfect.
They need ice cream.
They’re so you.
They make me happy.
OMFG.
They are the reason I come over to your house.
I’ll trade you some for a bottle of gin.
Can I have another?

(Full disclosure: There are a few dissenters who think my cookies are too big, overly packed with chocolate chips, and that I should be drawn and quartered for using nuts.)

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Food52

As a child, I would watch my mom cream the butter, pack down the brown sugar, meditatively scrape the dough off the sides of the mixing bowl. She would meticulously portion out the first two trays of cookies, slide them into the oven, and then dive in for her first taste of dough. All manner of composure would drop away as she fell into an altered state of cookie-dough-eating bliss. All I wanted was to have what she was having. To make what she was making. So she taught me to sift the flour, carefully pour the vanilla extract (never over the mixing bowl!), and follow the directions (with a few of her special tweaks) on the back of the Toll House bag. And now, 40 or so years down the road, a thousand cookie batches later, I have my own recipe, one that has shifted and aged, along with me, and I like to think it has settled into some sort of a lovely middle-aged kickassedness.

In case you’re a Toll House Cookie junkie, let me talk you through how I stray from the classic. Some of my changes are very straightforward: a touch less flour, more brown sugar, less white sugar, extra vanilla, and more nuts (finely chopped). And I really crank up the amount, size, and intensity of the chocolate chips by using a combination of both big and little morsels, half bittersweet and half semisweet.

I have a trick that helps prevent over-mixing. I add the sifted dry ingredients in four batches. When the fourth batch is only partially mixed in, I toss in the nuts and chocolate chips, using the paddle to mix it all together. The nuts and chips get a bit crushed, resulting in a more even distribution of the goodies. This is a good thing.

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Food52

I would argue that the most important modification I’ve made to this recipe is cooking time. Sort of like when you want rare lamb chops but you have to be be brave and take them off the heat early because they will continue to cook. Same deal with these cookies; you must take them out of the oven when they’re still raw in the center. People will tell you you’re crazy. Ignore them. This way you will have a gooey interior and a crispy outer border. Dreamy.

If you’re saving some dough, scoop it into balls using an ice cream scoop, place them on a sheet pan, and freeze. Once firm, transfer the balls to a Ziploc bag. You can bake them off anytime, even when they’re frozen solid. Maybe one cookie at a time to enjoy with red wine late at night while watching “Homeland.” Or all at once for a pile of ice cream sandwiches. Keep your freezer filled with chocolate chip cookie dough. Because you never know.

It’s a basic enough recipe for any man, woman, or child to successfully execute. So start with my guidelines, adjust it over time, and let it evolve into your very own perfect recipe. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Food52  

Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Makes 24 cookies (2 ounces each)

2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups regular semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup large bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here. 

Photos by Phyllis Grant 

Comments (81)

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about 1 month ago Missy Sullivan

Instead of walnuts I use toffe chips. Theyamp up the chewy/crispy factor nicely.

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2 months ago mbj913

i normally use the times recipe or bouchon, but i tried yours last night and liked it very well. my mother is now claiming yours is the best. i used half whole wheat flour as i like the flavor it adds to cookies.

also: i say bake them off and never worked in a kitchen.

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3 months ago Douglas

Would like to see this using weights instead of volume measures.

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3 months ago Robin Gomez

Heaven...pure and simple! I've made 3 batches of these so far and my husband is always begging me to make more! I grind the walnuts in a coffee grinder because I hate chopping most anything (I'm slow). Perfect and delish in every way! Thank you! This is my new go to chocolate chip cookie recipe :)

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3 months ago Ashley-Marie

Phyllis, I too am chastised by a few people for making cookies and muffins with too much chocolate / chocolate chips that are too big. More for me, I say, more for me.

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3 months ago Nicola Galloway | Homegrown Kitchen

I love the double chocolate chip addition, I can imagine these taste amazing. I also like adding oat flour to chocolate chip cookies for a nice chewy crumb. Thanks for sharing :)

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3 months ago JMT

I have to say that this is now my go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies! Have made two batches now. I used a 1/4 measuring cup leveled for each cookie placed on the sheet in ball form . Baking for 10 minutes exactly works with my oven. I took some to work and one of my coworkers said, "Oh, I'm just going to eat a half and save the rest for later with coffee." She went back to it and broke off another piece. Then went back again and said, "OMG, it's addicting and I just have to eat the whole thing!" It's just one of those kind of cookies despite the size!

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3 months ago JMT

Oh, and with the 1/4 size, you bake only 6 cookies at a time on the sheet, which is fine!

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3 months ago JMT

1/4 cup size, that is....

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3 months ago lisa volpe hachey

Melt the butter, people. And use great chocolate!

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3 months ago myburns

By the way…I couldn't stop thinking about these until I made them. These are freaking awesome! I love the textures and the flavor kicks ass. Bravo dashandbella!

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3 months ago Jilly

I made these but cut the butter a little and replaced it with some peanut butter. Fab! Will be keeping this recipe:) Also, I must say I'm impressed with how graciously you deal with comments from haters, Bravo!

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3 months ago dashandbella

love the peanut butter idea. and thanks for your kind words. means a lot.

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3 months ago md22mdrx

My best "chocolate chip cookie" recipe included making a habanero & ghost pepper compound butter to use in the batter. We then melted down white chocolate and added sriracha and a hot sauce called "a$$ reaper". This broke the chocolate, but we saved it by tempering an egg into it. We zigzagged it over parchment and froze it, then broke it up for the chips.

Gave it to unsuspecting family members at Christmas. It was hilarious. My brother then took the rest to college to further the mayhem!

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3 months ago Deborah Adele

I hate when chefs say "bake them OFF" or "cook them off"....it's so arrogant and unnecessary to add the word off.

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3 months ago dashandbella

we all say that around here. even my 6-year-old. it's just part of our baking language. a holdover from my kitchen days.

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3 months ago LB144

My mother had a recipe for cookies that I used to love. Sadly when as an adult I asked her about it she insisted she didn't remember every making anything like it. As I remember the cookies were very flat, golden yellow rather than tan, and may have had honey as an ingredient. I guess one of the reasons I liked them was because they were so flat, as a growing boy, I could see which ones had the most chips in them. if anyone knows of a recipe I would like very to be able to re-live this part of my childhood.
Aside: I found the comments about rare lamb chops interesting because it seems most people like lamb overcooked. I think the reason some people don't like lamb is that it's always a least medium.

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3 months ago dashandbella

let me know if you ever find that cookie recipe. would love to try it.

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3 months ago Sietske van Schaik

The key to fantastic chocolate chip cookies is a hefty scoop of Nutella. *laugh*

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3 months ago dashandbella

hell yes to nutella

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3 months ago Lisa Houston

I think the best recipe is nestles tall house
sometimes i add a little exrta salt to the cookie dough.

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3 months ago Shawn

Made these last night and was disappointed by the lack of flavor in the dough. They definitely need a full teaspoon of salt!

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3 months ago dashandbella

you would probably love these cookies sprinkled with maldon sea salt. i keep meaning to try that.

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3 months ago Shawn

I did exactly that after they were baked and it made a big difference! Still, I'm curious as to why the salt in the recipe is so low considering that every other CCC recipe I've seen uses a full teaspoon.

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3 months ago dashandbella

it's crazy to admit but in many ways it's just a habit for me to always cut the salt in half. it's what my mother taught me! but i say you should play and increase the salt up to 3/4 of a teaspoon. or maybe even a full teaspoon. let me know! and next time, i'll do the same thing. it's the ever-shifiting cookie recipe.

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3 months ago Stewart

NOT!!! 1 star!
Followed the recipe. All the cookie tastes like is chocolate and nuts. The batter flavor is almost completely lost. If that's your pleasure, why not just make a chocolate cookie with nuts? I've yet to meet a chocolate chip recipe that beats the ballance of Nestle's Tollhouse. But I'll try Dana's old Nestle's recipe (below). --- Here's a trick, though. If you want your tollhouse cookie to have a refreshing edge on a hot day, eat them frozen! The only problem with this is, unlike warm cookies (where the rich flavor requires milk and only eating a few), you can't get enough. You can eat 5, 10, or more in a row, and your tastebuds still want more.

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3 months ago dashandbella

yes! i love eating frozen cookies.

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3 months ago Amy

I made these cookies last night. The only thing I DIDN'T do was add bittersweet chips or walnuts. I just increased the semi-sweet chips. OMG! The BEST cookies I have ever made! I have been on the hunt for years for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. I finally found it! I brought these into work and got compliments ALL day! Thanks for posting this recipe ☺

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3 months ago dashandbella

how lovely.

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3 months ago Dana

The nestle toll house cookie recipe on the back of the bag from the 60's had 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar. I have always made them that way. I also have used 2 teaspoons of vanilla in my recipe for 30 years.

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3 months ago dashandbella

i had no idea. i wonder why the recipe was changed from back then.

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3 months ago Brandon

If you are worried about over mixing don't use a mixer. I've been making Cookies for 30 years and use nothing more than a bowl and wooden spoon.