Weeknight Cooking

Basic, Great Chocolate Chip Cookies From Tara O’Brady

September 27, 2022
5
16 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Molly Fitzsimons.
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • makes about 28 cookies
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Basic, Great Chocolate Chip Cookies From Tara O’Brady
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch (1.3cm) chunks
  • 12 ounces (340g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 1/4 cups (415g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (320g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
Directions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Bradford
    Bradford
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
  • Smaug
    Smaug
  • jam parkinson
    jam parkinson
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

15 Reviews

Bradford December 20, 2023
Nothing short of perfection. Followed the recipe almost exactly (I added some browned milk powder for extra "browned butter" flavor) and they turned out beautifully. Absolutely delicious! Thank you for putting an end to the hunt for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe – found it!
 
jam P. October 22, 2023
these cookies taste and look like ass. I don't understand??? why was there so much dry ingredients???? holy shit
 
Troy W. January 19, 2023
I’ve made many chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years and this is definitely one of the best. Crispy on the outside yet nice and chewy middles. But maybe best of all, these were SIMPLE to make. The melted butter approach made mixing so easy. I think from start to finish the batch took me a little over half an hour. I look forward to trying some of the variations suggested too!
 
Linda November 10, 2022
Sorry for the typo. My review should have said I decreased the light brown sugar to 250 g….
 
Linda November 10, 2022
Great and Easy chocolate chip cookies. I followed the recipe except I decreased the light brown sugar to 50 g and the granulated sugar to 75 g. Next time I will try using some whole wheat or oat flour. Thanks for a delicious cookie!
 
sugarsource October 31, 2022
These cookies are SO GOOD! I accidentally made them a little larger (~20 cookies in the batch), and didn't roll them before baking (just scooped them) and they turned out beautifully.

In the future, I would bake only the cookies I was planning to eat/share in the first 48 hours, and then freeze the rest of the unbaked dough for the future.
 
Sheilad2000 October 20, 2022
Great recipe, thanks. I have a question about the oven temp for baking from frozen. 330F seemed pretty low...my frozen cookies took a long time to bake, and I had to bang the pan on the counter to flatten them.
 
andrew.bond October 18, 2022
at first i was hesitant as i have tried several recipes and long favored a recipe relying on less flour, less sugar and more chocolate. to say we were impressed is a gross understatement. chocolate appears in every bit, the edges remain perfectly crisp and the center remains, even after days covered, soft and delectable. these are now in our regular rotation!
 
Stephanie G. September 27, 2022
The picture is using feves or discs for chocolate but you are saying to chop the chocolate? 3+ cups of flour and 12 oz chocolate seem like the chocolate would be less pronounced than the picture- just not sure if this picture is the correct portrayal of this recipe.
 
Kristen M. September 27, 2022
Hi Stephanie, thanks for noticing and asking—I added a note to the recipe to clarify. This version of the recipe is directly from Simply Genius (which is adapted from Tara's original recipe from 2015) but as I mentioned in the article, Tara has also riffed on it a lot since then, mix-ins especially. She uses discs and feves often, too—in the video I chopped them a bit to match the size in the recipe, but you can also leave them whole. As she described in the podcast & video interview, the most important thing is that they're unstabilized chocolate (not chips), so they force the dough to spread outward as they melt.
 
Smaug September 28, 2022
That seems like an awful lot of flour, almost 50% more than most cookie recipes. I've given up on chopped chocolate for cookies- high quality, high cacao chips are now available, and with chopped chocolate I usually seem to end up with big chunks of chocolate at the bottom of the cookies, where it doesn't fare well.
 
soher September 29, 2022
These cookies are amazing! Used a Trader Joe’s dark chocolate bar which I chopped up. I ended mixing with my gloves hands, and all worked as described. I also made some with the marshmallow fluff (on the podcast).
DELICIOUS!!! Can’t wait to share with friends and family.
 
Kristen M. October 7, 2022
I'm so glad you liked them!
 
Troy W. January 19, 2023
Trust the recipe. I also thought the flour seemed to be a lot in comparison to other ingredients. It was perfect.
 
Smaug January 19, 2023
I thought it a bit excessive; the cookies didn't keep well.