Posted by: Pat O'Brien | May 12, 2012

The Perfect Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie — Tips, Techniques and the Recipe

After I finished a group presentation on Home Baking Techniques this past week, several attendees told me that they couldn’t wait to go home to try to make the chocolate chip cookie recipe that was part of the discussion.  I always bring samples of the cookie recipes I’ll talk about  — I’m fairly confident that my remarks are  always more interesting when accompanied by a snack ….  Their enthusiastic reaction prompted the thought that this might be an interesting blog post. I should define what I consider “perfect” in a chocolate chip cookie — soft texture, just a hint of golden (not brown) color on the surface, evenly distributed chips and a beautiful, evenly round shape.

During the presentation, I emphasized that the opportunity for success in baking is in large part a result of using the proper tools and equipment.  To create these cookies, you’ll need 2 air-insulated cookie sheets (always in stock at Bed, Bath and Beyond), parchment paper (now readily available in the plastic wrap section of most supermarkets), and a commercial metal ice cream scoop (1/3 cup) or a 1/3 cup measuring cup.  Yes, it is possible that your first batch of these babies could cost $30 if you need to purchase all the tools, but you’ll enjoy making these so much that the outlay will be well worth it.

When you set your oven control to preheat to 375 degrees , you need to know the actual temperature inside that oven.  An oven thermometer is easily available for about $10, again at the super market.  This handy gadget lets you know what temperature you’ll need to set on the control so that your oven delivers 375 degrees of heat.

Here’s the recipe:

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you follow these instructions, your cookies will turn out perfectly – I promise. This recipe was developed 20 years ago when I was baking with my then 11 year old son Christopher; we started out using the recipe on the bag of chocolate chips, but only had one egg and somehow measured a bit too much flour into the bowl.  The results were so delicious that we wrote down our modifications and have used this recipe ever since for just about every family gathering, school team dinner, and then to send to college mailboxes and beyond ….

Yields 16 – 3 ½ “ cookies

  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp (or in the microwave for 30 seconds at 30% power)
  • 1 egg
  • i teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if you use salted butter, omit this salt)
  • 2 ½ cups unbleached flour
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use the supermarket house brand REAL semi-sweet morsels)

Preheat oven to 375.  YOU MUST USE AN OVEN THERMOMETER TO DETERMINE THE CORRECT TEMPERATURE – ADJUST THE OVEN CONTROLS UNTIL THE INTERNAL OVEN TEMPERATURE READS 375.

Cut parchment paper to fit over the surface of each cookie sheet.  (Parchment paper may be reused several times ….)

Blend sugars with butter until combined.  Add egg, blending until it’s completely absorbed into the butter mixture.  Add vanilla.   Add flour, salt, and baking soda, combining completely once again.  Then add the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate chips are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Place 8 scoopfuls or 1/3 cupfuls of dough on the parchment on each cookie sheet – 3 along each side of the sheet and 2 down the middle.  Flatten each dough mound with the palm of your hand until they’re ½” high.  NOTE:  If you would like to freeze unbaked cookies to bake later, just put the 1/2″ high mounds on a plate in the freezer; when they’re frozen, remove from plate and place in freezer zip lock bag.  Bake frozen (don’t thaw) as needed at the same temp for a minute or two longer.

Bake at 375 for 11 or 12 minutes – set the timer for 11 minutes to check – the cookies should not be brown at all, but the top surface should not look like “batter”; it should looked “just cooked.”  (Note:  I often find that the cookie sheet on the lower rack is completely ready at 11 minutes, but the cookie sheet on the upper rack needs another minute or so to finish, so I move that to the lower rack and set the timer for another minute.)

Remove the entire sheet of parchment with the cookies from the cookie sheet to cool.  (Just pull at one corner of the parchment and slide it off the cookie sheet onto the counter.)

So, have some fun in the kitchen and let me know what you think of the recipe — Bake on!

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