The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

January  1, 2014

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:

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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.
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 

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Peggy Giffen
    Peggy Giffen
  • Penny
  • LauriL
  • Steve Allen
    Steve Allen
  • Sandy Crossley
    Sandy Crossley
Cooking addict. Mother of two. Photographer. Blogger ( Author of forthcoming food memoir THIS DINNER WILL NOT KILL THEM.


Peggy G. March 7, 2018
A Nor'easter is upon us, so decided to make this chocolate chip cookie recipe for the first time. Undoubtedly, THE BEST chocolate chip cookie I've ever eaten! The aroma traveled down to my husband's study as they were baking. His smile was worth a thousand words! Thanks, Phyllis, for a recipe I'll come back to again and again.
Penny March 28, 2016
The second time I made these I added one teaspoon of King Arthur Flour Buttery Sweet Dough Flavoring and they were the best cookies I have ever made. Try it !
LauriL February 2, 2016
Kenzi will tell you that my baking attempts have yielded nothing but super flat Toll House cookies and once, for her 5th B-day, a purple (red velvet recipe with one bottle of red/blue food coloring). I'm only allowed to bring apps to parties if that tells you anything. Well, last week I needed an ambulance ride (fell on the damn ice) and the guys who rescued me were so kind that I decided to make them your chocolate chip cookie recipe. I gathered up all of the ingredients, measured, then walked away leaving them to sit on the counter for a couple hours (its call fear of baking). Finding the courage, I followed every single dotted i. Not only were they amazingly wonderful but my mind was jogged to your list of commonly spouted comments (when your friends barged into your freezer!!) The ambulance crew's comments are unprintable but their smiles were huge!
Author Comment
Phyllis G. February 10, 2016
i have been meaning to write back for the past week. love this story so much! hopefully your fear of baking is slowly slipping away. next, maybe you should try my brown butter blondies. just let them completely cool before cutting. then store them cubed in the freezer so they are available for late-night snaking. or to make someone smile.
Steve A. May 15, 2015
FINALLY made these after having the recipe in my Evernotes for almost a year. Yum! Worth the wait, and now I have some in the freezer, and some balls of dough as well, so we'll be eating them for a while. (Next time, I'm thinking about trying the brown butter thing, but otherwise sticking with this recipe.) Thanks, Phyllis! (PS- Jen says Hi)
Sandy C. December 16, 2014
I've used butter flavored Crisco instead of butter and they still come out really good. And I agree on the cook time. I pull mine out leave on baking sheet and when they settle I'm in cookie heaven. So delicious.
Sharon October 29, 2014
I never measure vanilla, I just pour from the bottle of "real" vanilla. Seems like a lot of chocolate, but I'm willing to try the big chunks, too. And the less white sugar, the better. Freezing is the best idea, yet, and then not even having to thaw. Thank you for this great post, Phyllis.
Author Comment
Phyllis G. November 6, 2014
Sharon, I also never measure vanilla. But I had to in order to write the recipe. Honestly, sometimes I put in even more than the 2 teaspoons. And I agree that it's a lot of chocolate. These cookies are very rich. Very intense.
thebirdie October 29, 2014
Is this chewy?
Author Comment
Phyllis G. November 6, 2014
They're quite gooey in the center. Crisp along the edges. I wouldn't say that they're chewy.
thebirdie November 6, 2014
Thank you!
Veranda October 29, 2014
<<<------- as you can see I am the original cookie monster I will be trying this recipe asap! Thanks for this post!
Charlynn S. October 29, 2014
Toll House chocolate chips use artificial vanilla
Marie P. October 29, 2014
I have been making these for quite awhile now. It is a fabulous cookie
Author Comment
Phyllis G. November 6, 2014
Marie, that's so great to hear!
Author Comment
Phyllis G. October 20, 2014
They're made by a company called Guittard. I buy them at many markets throughout the Bay Area, including Whole Foods. You can also order them online from all kinds of places. Let me know if you can't find them. Happy to help.
Kimberly L. October 20, 2014
Can't wait to try this recipe! Can you please tell me where do you get the over sized chocolate chips? Thank you!
Camilla August 4, 2014
I'd love to make this, but I have no idea how to translate 2 1/8 cups to grams...
emliza August 24, 2014
Here is an online converter
Missy S. March 15, 2014
Instead of walnuts I use toffe chips. Theyamp up the chewy/crispy factor nicely.
mbj913 February 4, 2014
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.
Douglas February 2, 2014
Would like to see this using weights instead of volume measures.
Robin G. February 2, 2014
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 :)
Ashley-Marie January 28, 2014
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.
Nicola G. January 27, 2014
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 :)
JMT January 22, 2014
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!
JMT January 22, 2014
Oh, and with the 1/4 size, you bake only 6 cookies at a time on the sheet, which is fine!
JMT January 22, 2014
1/4 cup size, that is....