June 27, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies: A Journey is Completed

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post (a far too long post) about how much I love love love cookies. And at the end of it, I mentioned that I was on the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Friends, that quest has come to an end.

And I know, all too well, that the Internet is full of recipes claiming to be the best chocolate chip cookie ever and then you make them and they are flat and ugly and only somewhat tasty and you weep and move on to a new recipe, hoping that this time, life will finally reward you for your endurance (this is why I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to cookies). 

So, let me go on record as saying that MY quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie has come to an end.

And I hope that maybe for one or two of you, this might help you too find Chocolate Chip Cookie Nirvana. For the rest of you that find this a recipe that fails you again, my prayers are with you as you continue your search.

 
Also, I have so much to say about this before I share the actual recipe.

First, I did try that New York Times recipe finally, and it was really good. But 1) I don't want a cookie that requires at least a day of forethought and 2) these cookies were better. 

I made these three times in one weekend and the first time they were tasty but ugly as . . .something ugly (you know those chocolate chip cookies that are totally flat with the chocolate chips sticking up like little tumors? That's how these cookies turned out). I tried them again the next night and they were perfect and then I had to try them one more time to see if I could repeat my success. I do it for you. And then I made them several more times in the weeks since then. That might not have been for you so much as it was for me.

I also halved the original recipe from Natalie's blog because I generally just want to make about a dozen cookies (seeing as there are only two of us - obviously I only make cookies after the child is in bed because who wants to share?).

And I did a ridiculous amount of reading about chocolate chip cookies to see if I could figure out what the problems were the first time around. The main thing seemed to be the flour (I added a little bit to keep them from being so flat) and the temperature of my oven. Natalie said she cooks hers for 6 minutest but, whoa boy, mine weren't even CLOSE to being done at that point. I upped the temperature which helped the chips melt more and helped them cook through without making them crispy on the inside.

I ALSO read that you should add the chocolate chips to the wet ingredients and THEN add the dry ingredients so that you don't over-mix the dough. Who knew?!

And yes, this recipe uses shortening which I am morally opposed to. But I'm more morally opposed to living a life without a fail-safe chocolate chip cookie recipe. So, something had to give.

For the record, my perfect chocolate chip cookie is NOT flat, completely set, but not crunchy on the outside, and soft, but not goo-ey on the inside. And a lot of chocolate chips. This is that cookie (for me!).

Whew, if you read all of this, you deserve more than a recipe. You deserve a dozen of these cookies delivered to your doorstep.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Nat the Fat Rat)


Makes 12-15 cookies

3 scant T butter (I use unsalted), softened
3 scant T shortening (If you're doubling the recipe, go with 1/3 cup each of butter and shortening)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 small egg

1 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup + 2 T flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (if your butter is salted, just use slightly less salt)

Kosher or sea salt


Preheat oven to 375. 

In a stand mixer, beat butter and shortening together until combined (about a minute). Add sugars and beat another minute or two. Add vanilla and egg. Beat again (I know, so much beating here. . . ).

Mix in the chocolate chips.

Add the flour, soda, and salt. Mix JUST until combined. It will look over-floured for a few seconds, but should come together fairly quickly.

Scoop golf-ball size spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet, sprinkle each ball with a pinch of kosher or sea salt and bake for 10-11 minutes (mine are 11 minutes, every time).

They should be light-colored and puffed when they come out of the oven, but dry-looking (not shiny or wet). Let cool on the pan for about 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.



23 comments:

  1. It breaks my heart a little that you, too, love these cookies-with-shortening so. Because that means I may eventually have to break down and try them.

    I'm guessing you have, but out of curiosity, have you tried smitten's favorite choc chip cookies? Or the salted brown butter oatmeal ones? Both excellent, IMO.

    Also, you probably already know this, but cookie dough freezes remarkably well, so we often freeze half the batch in balls for whenever we want a cookie. Either that or we just make a million cookies and eat them all.

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  2. I'll have to try the chocolate chips mixed into the wet ingredients trick!

    And I think I mentioned in my post about these cookies that mine cooked waaaaay longer than hers too. But I think my perfect chocolate chip cookie is cooked maybe 30 seconds less than yours...I don't want it undercooked in the middle, and I want slightly crispy edges, but I want it super soft and melt in your mouth on the inside. Mmmm.

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    Replies
    1. It seems from your description that we're talking about identical cookies. But we'll clearly have to make them together sometime to be certain.

      Also, I feel like cooking time is SO individual to an oven/altitude.

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  3. I will have to try this, with Merrick's cook time. The woman in my ward growing up who was famous for her perfect chocolate chip cookies insisted that the secret ingredient was the shortening, but she also specified using butter flavored Crisco.

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  4. Janssen. I kid you not, this is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. To the letter. Although, mine cook for 8 minutes exactly because my oven runs hot, I think. Got the recipe from my college roommate and it never fails. :)

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  5. I am so glad that I can profit off your hard work and extensive testing. :)

    xox

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  6. Oh man, giving up things like chocolate chip cookies is one of the real sacrifices I've found difficult in our new eating adventure. If you run across a great cho-chip cookie recipe that has no fats or oils, no dairy, no sugar and uses whole grain, pass it along! (I won't hold my breath.)

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  7. I will be awaiting my dozen cookies! Oh wait, you weren't serious? ;-) These sound delicious and I love that you have figured out how to make them maintain their shape.

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  8. Yum! This is definitely going on my short list of recipes to try.

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  9. I just finished a batch of these...and thanks. I've been successful in so many of my baking adventures, but Chocolate Chip Cookies have been something that I've had a bit of a struggle with for many years. These turned out quite deliciously. Thanks a million!

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  10. Okay, I'm intrigued. Although I am fiercely loyal to Picky Palate's Brown Butter and Fleur de sel chocolate chip cookies, I will give this one a go. Also, my secret is that instead of sprinkling the dough with salt, I lightly salt the cookie sheet before dropping the dough onto it, this way the salt bakes nicely into the bottom. My husband thanks you for inspiring me to bake cookies tonight :)

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  11. I look forward to mixing chips w/wet ingredients. I think its neat that everyone has their own idea of what their perfect choc chip cookie. I prefer mine to be described as "lacy" on the edges. Less flour.

    You almost make me want to make some CCC but I am really on a cobbler kick right now like NOBODIES business.

    Oh, could you specify light or dark brown sugar? Do you think it matters?

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  12. I'm visiting from Good Life Eats, after putting all of your book suggestions on hold at the library. Here's hoping I'll find a few spare minutes to read this summer!

    And I totally get the chocolate chip cookie quest! I have done my own fair share of research on the subject, and I can't believe I've never read about adding the chips to the wet ingredients until now. Thank you for that nugget of wisdom! The NY Times recipe didn't do it for me, either. I'm excited to see that the recipe you've arrived upon is almost exactly like the one I'm currently using! (except I double or triple it, instead of cutting it in half because I have 6 kids--two of them teenage boys!) Also, being opposed to shortening myself, I have discovered that coconut oil works quite well as a replacement since it's a solid at room temperature (if your kitchen is below 75 degrees, which mine is not these days)! Plus it tastes great.

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  13. I too, am on a quest for the perfect cc cookie! Your recipe is in the oven right now... can't wait to try them!

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  14. wow. where did the reply option come from on comments? That is cool. Anyway, back to my comment. Thank you. I once told someone that chocolate chip cookies were my favorite dessert. That person then asked for my chocolate chip cookie recipe, as clearly I must have a good one. But no. I have nothing. Except for those cranberry chocolate sugar cookies that you and I like? But those are NOT chocolate chip cookies, are they. . . Now, I might just have the perfect cookie recipe without all the research work. At least when I get a working oven I will.

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  15. I kept forgetting to look at this recipe everytime you mentioned it, even though I pinned it. Well I just checked the one on Nat's blog with my recipe card and it is the exact recipe from my mom that I grew up with. (Minus the sea salt sprinkled on top.) It is the one and only thing I cook with shortening. I have never had another chocolate chip cookie that ever compared. And when you grow up with a cookie this good, nothing can live up. Every time I make it for a potluck or something, people rave about it.

    Thanks for scaling down the recipe! I've never done more than cut it in half (and my mom's recipe is actually double Natalie's so my "half" is the proportions in her recipe). Now I can make a treat without having dozens of cookies around to tempt me for days.

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  16. I've never bothered looking for another chocolate chip recipe since I love my own, but if you swear by it it must be true. I'll have to give this a try one day when MyFitnessPal is broken ;)

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  17. I'll be camped on my doorstep... (or in my kitchen trying out this recipe)

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  18. Yes, cookie nirvana? We're gonna need more than 12-15 at my house. Can I just double it exactly, or do you suggest any modifications for a larger batch. You know I'll be trying this right after our St. George reunion.

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  19. No shortening! No no no. I am so sad that the best chocolate chip cookie in the world depends on something so evil. I hope you're going to try to the coconut oil thing mentioned above?

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  20. We just made these! Delicious! Thanks for the great recipe!

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  21. My tweak to this recipe: use ALL butter, use ALL brown sugar. Makes for a slightly caramel-ly cookie!

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