So this is awkward. I feel like I’ve just bumped into a friend whose calls I’ve been dodging for 4 months. Four. Months.
I swear, I totally haven’t been dodging your calls. I’ve just been busy and boring and my brain and iPhone have both been too full for blogging.
But after the marathon baking weekend I just had, I’m forced to make time for it and start anew! So here it goes…
I’ve always said I was determined to find the quintessential chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’m not talking New York Times, multiple-types-of-flour, 23-step chocolate chip cookies… I’m talking down-home, easy peezy, go-to-in-a-pinch chocolate chip cookies that I can make my signature treat.
So I decided to host a bake-off… against myself… to find the best one.
My limits were pushed, my flour stock was emptied, and by hour 8 of dough-ball rolling, my will was broken. But at the end of the night, we had sugar-stuffed friends and family and a new go-to cookie (sort of).
I’ll start from the beginning, in case any of my fellow masochists want to attempt a Cookie Party of their own one day. If you just want the winning recipe, jump to the bottom.
First, I scoured the Internet (hello, Pinterest) for recipes claiming to be the “best chocolate chip cookie.” Some that used oil, some that used cornstarch, some that used cream cheese, all with varying amounts and consistencies of flour, eggs, and brown and white sugar. Here are the six I ended up comparing:
- Two Twenty One’s “Chocolate Chip Cookies”
- Just a Taste’s “Secret Ingredient” Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Savory Sweet Life’s “Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER”
- Sally’s Baking Addiction’s “Chewy Chocolate Chunk” Cookies
- Averie Cooks’ “Chocolate Chip and Chunk” Cookies
- The Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie
I emailed myself this numbered, linked list, so I would have each recipe and its corresponding number handy. This is important.
Then, I wrote down all of the ingredients for each recipe, and added up the amounts of all the staples, so I could make sure I’d have enough of each (and failed, somehow–the hubby had to run out and pick up more brown sugar and chocolate chips at the last minute… whoops), and picked up all my supplies at the grocery store.
The day before the party, I made up all my dough, for two reasons: (1) To save me from waking up at 5 a.m. the day of the party to mix and bake all six batches of dough, and (2) almost all cookie recipes recommend chilling overnight to let the ingredients blend.
Thankfully, my angel of a mom was in town, and was able to zip around me cleaning periodically, otherwise the house would’ve been an absolute disaster. Thank God for mothers.
Each batch of dough went into a bowl that had a piece of tape with that batch’s number on it, and into the fridge, until my fridge looked like this:
If you thought this part was hard, you should quit now and have a salmonella party instead, because you won’t make it through this last part. You’ve been warned.
Predictably, the whole day of the party was spent rolling dough into consistently sized and shaped balls. Like, the *whole* day. The party started at 7:30, and the last batch came out of the oven at 7:20. Now, I only have two baking sheets, and I’m a smidge OCD, so I’m sure this could’ve been done faster if you had more pans and didn’t have to let them cool for 15 – 20 minutes in between each batch, or if you didn’t care if your dough balls weren’t exactly the same size and shape. But alas, these are the cards I was dealt.
As each batch came out of the oven, they went to a cooling rack, and the next batch went onto the cookie sheets and into the oven. When the next batch came out of the oven, the previous batch went from the cooling rack to its pre-numbered serving tray and was covered with foil. And repeat.
Mix in some appetizer-making, party-decorating, and house-cleaning, and this process was a full-on beat down. By the time our first guests arrived, all I wanted was a nap.
I made some voting cards so our friends could pick their favorite and leave comments:
So when all the votes were tallied (mine included), the winner was…
So my solution is to combine the two recipes. Most people seemed to like that #5 was packed with chocolate chips, but the flavor and texture of #4 seemed to win over its voters. SO, here’s my own, personal winning recipe. I’ll update with more photos when I make this version (when we finally finish off the leftovers from the party, in approximately six years, that is).
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
Mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until no lumps remain.
Add in the egg, then the egg yolk.
Finally, add the vanilla.
Slowly mix in the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt, until combined. The dough will be very soft, yet thick.
Fold in the chocolate chips. Get them as evenly distributed throughout the dough as you can. Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. With this particular dough, you really can’t skip this step.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.
Roll the dough into 1.5″ balls. The dough will be crumbly, but the warmth of your hands will hold them together. Roll your dough balls to be taller rather than wide, to ensure the cookies will bake up to be thick. Space your cookies about 2″ apart. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes.* The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.