Bake

Chocolate Chip Cookies

June 27, 2021
4.4 Stars
Author Notes

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.)

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.

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. —Phyllis Grant

Watch This Recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Makes 24 cookies (2 ounces each)
Ingredients
  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 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
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Mix together chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Set aside.
  4. All medium speed unless otherwise noted: In a standing mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until well mixed and light. Scrape down the sides. Add one egg. Mix for 5 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Add second egg. Mix for 5 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Add vanilla. Mix for 5 seconds. Scrape down the sides.
  5. You're going to add the sifted flour mixture in 4 batches, stopping before adding the final batch. For the first 3 batches, mix at low speed just to combine, scraping down the sides between each addition. When you get to the final batch of flour, add the chocolate chip/nut mixture. They will get a bit crushed. That's okay. Mix until there's barely a trace of flour visible. Don't over-mix. Sometimes, it's better to be safe and do the final bit of mixing by hand.
  6. Set up a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper. Bake one tray at a time or they will all cook at different rates. Make them spherical, not flat. The cookie size is up to you. I find the bigger they are, the better ratio you have between gooey interior and crisp exterior. 2 ounces is about right for that.
  7. Leave a few inches between the raw cookies. Place sheet pan in the oven. They cook very fast at this temp. I never set a timer. I just hang around the oven and drink tea. They're done when they're brown and crispy on the outer border and raw in the very middle (8 to 10 minutes). Remove sheet pan. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then, with a spatula, transfer cookies to a cookie rack to cool. If you're not going to eat them right away, they should be frozen.
  8. If you're not baking them off right away, portion them out with an ice cream scoop, place them on a sheet pan, and freeze. Once firm, store them in a Ziploc bag. Works great to bake them off when they're frozen.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • anna
    anna
  • Jacqueline Ogilvie
    Jacqueline Ogilvie
  • Kirsten Gillies
    Kirsten Gillies
  • Katherine Dean
    Katherine Dean
  • Nikki Tennant
    Nikki Tennant
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.

243 Reviews

jesshurf November 20, 2021
Wound up with cookie puddles for my first batch. For sure needs to be chilled before baked. I had a feeling but it didn't say it in the method. Chill before you bake!!
 
naty July 26, 2021
i did this before and it was a rave. then one day the cookies are raw in the middle and the edges are already browned. i haven’t succeeded since after so many bad batches. please help.
 
Author Comment
Phyllis G. July 27, 2021
First thing I would do is buy an oven thermometer. They are very affordable if you buy a basic one from the hardware store. Sounds like oven might be running high. Meanwhile, if you try another batch, turn temp down a bit. Also helps to take cookie sheet out halfway through baking and wack it on the counter to flatten the cookies a bit.
 
Andrea June 27, 2021
I have made these several times now and have given them as gifts. I get rave reviews and everyone loves them! I find when I portion them out and freeze, then bake from frozen they come out perfect every time.
 
nina June 11, 2021
I made these with 1/3 buckwheat, a little lower brown:white sugar ratio (cuz I was running out), and subbed a combo of cranberries, pecans and semisweet choc for the mix-ins. They are excellent! I really enjoyed giving the tray a whack halfway through to spread the middles out, and it is effective. Nice job Phyllis, I can see why these have been much lauded over the years.
 
Kathleen C. May 4, 2021
These are delicious but they don't look anything like the picture. The first batch were too round, they didn't flatten at all and the chocolate never became runny but held its shape. I baked the second and third batches for 12 minutes at 400 in a convex oven. They still didn't come out like the photo. What's the secret do you think? 375 doesn't seem hot enough.
 
anna February 14, 2021
I left out the walnuts because they're too expensive, but I followed the rest of the recipe to the letter, and my cookies came out a mushy, melted mess all over the pan. Any pointers on where I may have gone wrong? I don't know much about baking but it seemed like leaving out the walnuts worked fine for other people!
 
Author Comment
Phyllis G. February 14, 2021
What a bummer, Anna! So sorry. I have been making this recipe my whole life. I have modified it even more over the past few years. I now always refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight before baking. But you might want to check a few other things. Make sure your oven temperature is correct. Make sure your baking soda isn't out of date. And I am wondering what else could have happened? Feel free to email me at [email protected] Let's figure this out!
 
nina June 11, 2021
I would suspect not quite enough flour, since volume measurements can differ in mass. Agree with Phyllis that refrigeration/time might help hydrate the flour better, which would help it all cohere. And that oven temps can vary a lot - you might see more spreading at lower temps, because the edges wouldn't cook fast enough at the beginning to create the sort of 'fence' that holds the rest of the cookie in. But that's just a guess.
 
Tlch January 26, 2021
I am a chocolate chip cookie lover and these are fantastic! I used mini and regular semisweet chips and pecans instead of walnuts because that’s what I had in the house. Followed the directions and they turned about so amazing. Love the texture with the crispy edges and the gooey center. Thanks for sharing!
 
Beth December 23, 2020
This was not good! I’ve baked a million chocolate chip cookies and decided to try a new recipe (actually two new ones and my usual favorite) followed the directions perfectly and baked multiple batches off in different ovens and just now from the freezer. They’re weirdly flat and didn’t rise at all. The other recipes came out perfectly and used the same ingredients so hmm.
 
Karen December 23, 2020
Weird. They come out perfectly for me. I wonder what the difference is?! Since I found this recipe, my family doesn’t let me make any other!
 
CRuhl December 22, 2020
The photo inspired the cookie cooking and I have to say....the best CCC ever.
The mixture of chocolates (so smart) and the soft gooey center while the outside offers that crunchy edge. This is my go-to recipe from now on.
Thank you!!!
 
Alh December 17, 2020
Incredible cookies, follow the instructions to the letter the first time and you’ll have success (although I left out walnuts and still had incredible cookies).
These were a house favourite and were gone in less than 3 days.
 
Author Comment
Phyllis G. December 17, 2020
So nice to hear this. Happy holidays!
 
Jacqueline O. November 11, 2020
Love these. I bake mine a bit longer as my husband likes more crunchy cookies. These stay soft inside so I’m happy too. Though if they weren’t so good I’d be a lot less fat. 👍🏻
 
Courtney J. October 30, 2020
All Time Best!
 
Courtney J. October 30, 2020
All Time Best.
 
Courtney J. October 30, 2020
All Time Best.
 
Kirsten G. September 29, 2020
The temp of 375 is too high! I burned about 3 dozen trying different times, etc., and then reduced the temp to 350... much better. At 375, I could see the edges beginning to turn black after 5 or 6 minutes. We are at high altitude, so I generally expect to increase the temp and/or cooking time by a little bit. The texture is a bit flat, not puffy like in the picture or description. Wondering if it's a bit too much butter, and not enough flour. Anyway, they taste good. Just my experience.
 
Katherine D. September 7, 2020
I love these! They remind me of cooking my college roommate would make and I could never reproduce (secret family recipe, she said). They sink down into this beautiful cookie puddle, are so SOFT and rich they just melt in your mouth! I omitted the nuts and added a bit of almond extract. I always leave my cookie dough in the fridge for a few hours (even overnight) to ferment, so I baked these straight from the fridge and they needed about 14 minutes in the oven. Husband loved them, I even had some for breakfast!
 
tiffymassis May 28, 2020
Made these cookies with butterscotch chocolate chips and they were amazing!
love this recipe
 
Nikki T. May 22, 2020
We've made these at least 6 times and they are AMAZING
 
aiota May 21, 2020
I've easily made this recipe over 50 times. I love it, and once I had found it I didn't bother with any other chocolate chip cookie recipe. It works every time when followed correctly, and everyone asks me for this recipe - it's a go-to, everything you dream of your cookie to be. Chewy, buttery, chocolatey, sweet, crispy...just yum! I usually omit the nuts and often will pinch a bit of flaked salt to the tops before baking - HEAVEN! And a word to the wise - I made these very recently and instead of adding 2 and 1/8th of a cups of flour, I accidentally added 2 and 1/2; they were dry and just not the magical cookie I am used to - so be sure to properly measure your ingredients because part of what makes this recipe epic are the ratios!
 
Nikki T. May 22, 2020
Yummm
 
David L. May 5, 2020
Great if you want an overly-sweet puddle of cookie!
 
TJ L. May 5, 2020
Exactly my problem!!! They were inedible