I wouldn’t call myself an expert baker, but if I make a recipe often enough, I like to perfect it.
I can make perfect chocolate chip cookies.
And I want you to make them, too! That’s why I’m sharing my tried-and-true tips for yielding a batch of delicious, chewy cookies that will make you famous at bake sales and family gatherings. (After all, life is all about street cred.)
Tip #1: Find the perfect recipe. My go-to recipe is Chocolate Chip Cookies a la Anna Olson. Says Anna: “Tried, tested and true. My secret ingredient is cornstarch to make chewy-centred cookies! If you want crispy cookies, omit the cornstarch and replace the baking soda with baking powder.” If I’m honest, I’d like you to throw away all your chocolate chip cookie recipes and simply make these ones going forward. Yes, they’re THAT good.
Tip #2: Shape your cookies. I know it’s tempting to drop dough onto the cookie sheet by rounded teaspoonfuls, and that’s completely acceptable if you want a more rustic, handmade-looking cookie. However, the name of the game here is perfection, and the only way to get a perfectly rounded cookie is to use a cookie cutter. Round 2-inch cutters work well with this recipe; simply chill the dough slightly to make it easier to handle, and scoop out a 1-inch ball of dough. Flatten on a lightly floured surface with your palm or a rolling pin, and cut into a 2-inch circle.
Tip #3: Never use a warm (or hot) cookie sheet. Unless you simultaneously bake 3-4 cookie sheets at once, chances are you’ll have to use a sheet which just came out of the oven to bake your next batch. Wait. Let it cool completely. Grab it with oven mitts and dance around the kitchen if you have to, allowing it to air out and cool down. Because flat cookies are a direct result of butter melting before the rest of the ingredients can start baking. And melted butter yields pancake-like cookies. No bueno.
Tip #4: Use large chocolate chips or chocolate chunks. This is really just for aesthetics; large chips give more visual impact and peek out from the top with panache. Small chocolate chips are way too “Chips Ahoy” for my liking.
Tip #5: Don’t overbake. Most cookies will finish setting after you’ve removed them from the oven. The trick to soft, chewy cookies is to remove them before they’re done; they’ll firm up on your countertop, promise. The cookie below was baked for exactly 9 minutes; you can see it is browned perfectly around the edges and still soft in the center.
That’s all folks! Your 5-minute tutorial to the best chocolate chip cookies you’ll ever make. Oh, here’s one more tip – make sure you have friends and family who can help you enjoy this delicious treat, or you may find yourself eating them all! (Not that I’m speaking from experience, of course!)