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The Surprising Way to Tweak a Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Improving upon a classic is a tough task. Improving upon a classic cookie is even more challenging. A standard chocolate chip cookie recipe follows the same general formula for good reason! Why mess with perfection?

Photo by Posie Harwood

However, if pressed, I can name a few characteristics of a chocolate chip cookie that I'd emphasize or amplify. I like texture and crunch, but I still love the soft chewiness of the interior of a chocolate chip cookie. I like sweetness, but not a one-note sugary flavor. I like the caramelized, earthy flavor that brown sugar imparts, but not too much of it.


I've tinkered with the classic cookie template in every way you can imagine. I've added shredded coconut and toasted nuts and three kinds of chocolate. Sometimes I toss in cacao nibs, or malted milk powder, or even Grape-Nut cereal. Today's variation is one of my favorites, yet. It doesn't depart far enough from a typical chocolate chip cookie to merit new categorization, like becoming an oatmeal cookie or a "kitchen sink" cookie.

Photo by Posie Harwood

Adding a bit of cornmeal, toffee bits, and flaky sea salt merely amplifies the best parts of a classic chocolate chip cookie while preserving its essence. Cornmeal adds a slight grit and texture to the batter. Toffee echoes, and repeats back, the earthy sweetness of brown sugar without adding too much extra sweetness. A sprinkling of flaky sea salt balances the sugar and gives the resulting cookies a certain je ne sais quoi.

Try this recipe, and I imagine it'll earn a place in your regular repertoire. It's simple and straightforward enough for kids (and those who prefer the classics), and interesting enough for more adventurous dessert lovers. And, the cookie dough is exceptionally good. So the baker who gets to swipe a few fingerfuls along the way (you) wins.

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Cornmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Makes 15 cookies
  • 1 cup (226 grams) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (160 grams) brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup toffee bits
  • flaky sea salt
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Tags: chocolate chip cookie