- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 15 minutes
- makes about 28 cookies
The standard cookie method printed on the chocolate chip bag tells us to soften the butter, which means waiting for a vague not-too-cold, not-too-warm sweet spot, and works best in an electric mixer, not by hand. You won’t get bad cookies if you miss the mark, but there’s too much secrecy and room for error—when we could be skipping it all.
Seven Spoons author Tara O’Brady has been tinkering with her chocolate chip cookie recipe since high school and likes to instead pull the butter straight from the fridge and melt it for a denser, chewy-crispy cookie (that happens to be easier to make the moment you want one). Do as Tara does: Bake one tray right away and keep the rest of the dough frozen for an even-more-instant treat another day.
A few more tips: Tara also likes using chocolate discs or feves, in lieu of the chopped chocolate—anything but stabilized chips, so that the melting chocolate forces the cookies to spread outward and pools into layers. She also riffs on this recipe in all sorts of ways—she sneaks in oatmeal and whole-grain flours and brown butter, and stirs in last-minute flair like sprinkles, torched marshmallow fluff, malted cereal crackle, and peanut butter.
Excerpted from Simply Genius: Recipes for Beginners, Busy Cooks & Curious People (Ten Speed Press, September 27, 2022).
Hear more about this recipe from Tara herself on our podcast The Genius Recipe Tapes. —Genius Recipes
(225g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch (1.3cm) chunks
(340g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
3 1/4 cups
(415g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons
fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups
(320g) packed light brown sugar
(100g) granulated sugar
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
- Get prepped: Heat the oven to 360°F (180°C) with a rack in the center (350°F/175°C is fine if that’s the closest your oven can do). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan over low heat, slowly melt the butter. (You shouldn’t hear sputtering.) Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula until the butter is almost melted. Meanwhile, on a cutting board with a chef’s knife or serrated knife, chop the chocolate, aiming for a mix of 1/3-inch (8mm) to 1/2-inch (1.3cm) pieces, with some finer bits.
- Mix dry, mix wet: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and fine sea salt. Grab a large bowl, add the melted butter, and whisk in both sugars. It might look clumpy at first, but it will smooth out quickly. Break the eggs in one at a time, whisking briskly after each one, just until the streaks of egg white disappear. Whisk in the vanilla.
- Mix dry into wet: With the silicone spatula, stir the dry ingredients into the wet until the flour is mostly mixed in. Stir in the chocolate, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to catch any loose bits, stopping as soon as the flour has disappeared. (Mixing longer will toughen the cookies.)
- Roll the cookies: If the dough feels warm or looks glossy, refrigerate it for 5 minutes. Scoop 3 tablespoons dough (55g) per cookie and roll into a ball between your palms. Place 3 inches (7.5cm) apart on one of the lined sheet pans.
- Bake the cookies: When one sheet pan is full, sprinkle each ball with a small pinch of flaky salt, if you like, and slide the pan into the center of the oven. Bake until the tops are cracked and lightly golden but still soft in the middle when pressed very lightly with a finger, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan with oven mitts halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool on the sheet pan for 2 minutes, then use a wide spatula to move them to a wire rack to cool completely. Continue shaping and baking cookies with the remaining dough, using a cool sheet pan for each batch.
- Make ahead and store: The dough balls can be frozen in a sealed container for 3 months. Bake without defrosting at 330°F (165°C)—they may need an extra minute or two. Keep baked cookies sealed on the counter (and eat soon).