As has been previously mentioned in this blog, I was inducted into the ways of American-style, gloriously chewy cookies while I was working in the Caribbean, and my discovery of peanut butter cookies remains my true cookie love. I mean, the chunky delight of Kiwi-esque Afghan biscuits, or the delicate crumble of oh-so-British lemon shortbread are truly wonderful things, but sometimes one wants a cookie. And a cookie is a glory unto itself.
And the ultimate classic, the cookie’s cookie, as it were, has to be the chocolate chip. I mean, I may have grown up in NZ, but the idea of chocolate chip cookies with a glass of milk (somewhat inexplicably for someone who didn’t grow up drinking a lot of milk, but it was in books, so it had to be true) was still somehow firmly entrenched in my mind as being America’s national dish. And of course we had chocolate chip cookies in NZ, but they were small hard things that came in a packet and were infinitely inferior to pretty much any local ones. So my discovery of real chocolate chip cookies came as somewhat of a revelation. They were – and are – amazing.
Which means I’m somewhat surprised that I’ve never shared my favourite recipe for them before. I’ve shared my pistachio and cranberry Christmas variation, and countless other biscuit-y and cookie-ish recipes, but not the plain, delightful classic itself. So I best remedy that right now.
My original recipe came from the Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe book, which I bought while frantically teaching myself how to cook to yacht charter standard in my first year in the Caribbean. And while I’ve tried an absolutely enormous range of other cookie recipes in the years since (never let it be said I don’t do my research, in baking if in nothing else) I’ve honestly never deviated much from that recipe other than to put in my usual lazy shortcuts, because it’s that good. Gooey, chewy, delightfully tasty, and not that fussy, even though the best recipe cookbook went into all sorts of technical detail over why you should use particular techniques – not that I paid a lot of attention. You can get the original recipe here, but this is my near-enough version.
Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 200g / 14 Tbsp butter (I use salted, but you can use unsalted)
- 165g / ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 100g / ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 220g / 1 ¾ cups flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 225g / 1 ¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips (I like chopping up a bar of chocolate so you get a variety of big chunks and little crumbs. You could also toast some nuts and chuck them in too – the mix is pretty accommodating, so add what you want. Apologies to The New Best Recipe team, who I’m sure did not expect that, after putting so much effort into all the technical detail that makes a recipe great, certain readers would disregard it so flagrantly …)
Pre-heat oven to 180C / 350F. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Melt the butter – technically the recipe calls for browning half of it in a pan then adding the other half off the heat, but I never quite got the hang of the whole browning thing. Melting it in the microwave works just fine, and I never tasted much difference even when I did manage to brown it. Plus, faff.
Add sugars, salt, and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Make sure it isn’t too hot, then add the egg and egg yolk. Whisk for about 30 seconds, then let the mix stand for a few minutes before giving it another whisk. Repeat twice more.
Stir in flour, baking soda, and chocolate chips until just combined, then drop in heaping tablespoons onto the tray, leaving plenty of room for them to spread. It’s going to be a sticky mess of a dough, so no shaping needed. This is rough and ready stuff.
Bake for around 10 minutes, turning the trays halfway through cooking. I’ll often take them out a little early, so the middles are gooey, but basically you’re looking for some colour on the edges and a little on top. They’ll still be soft when you take them out, so let them cool on the tray for at least five minutes before moving them to a rack to cool. At that point you’ll know if you’ve gone too gooey, as they’ll just melt slowly through rack into a raw dough puddle beneath. Guess how I know …
Eat with or without the traditional glass of milk, and all hail the chocolate chip cookie!
Lovely people, do you have a favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe? Or other sort of cookie or biscuit? If so, share away below!
I’m also still looking for a good gluten-free and vegan version, so if you have one, I’d love to see it!
And otherwise – happy baking 😉