I did a lot of debating over which cookie should close out the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies. I thought maybe I should do something über decadent and overly-rich. My husband suggested I take the best elements out of the best cookies from the series and mash them into one cookie (ha!). But in the end, the classic, delicious, totally perfect chocolate chip cookie won the anchor leg.
I know there are about as many ways to make a chocolate chip cookie as there are people on this planet. And everyone has their own definition of a “perfect” chocolate chip cookie. Some like it flaky and cakey. Some like it crisp. Some like it gooey and chewy. Some like milk chocolate. Some like dark. Just so we’re on the same page, let me tell you about my perfect chocolate chip cookie.
It’s thin, but not too thin—you still have to have something to bite into. It’s got a tiny bit of crunch around the edges, but the inside is soft and chewy. So soft, that it’s a little hard to pick up because it wants to just fall apart in your hand. It’s a sweet cookie, but not overly so. It’s packed with dark chocolate morsels. Oh, and it’s salty. Just a little bit. A little to balance out the richness of the chocolate. Those, my friends, are the best ever chocolate chip cookies.
So with that in mind, let me introduce you to what I consider the best ever chocolate chip cookie. This recipe is a variation on the classic (and darn good) Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe. If you’re looking for a fool-proof chocolate chip cookie recipe, you really can’t go wrong with just using the one on the back of the bag of chocolate chips. But I’ve been tweaking that recipe for years now, and I think I’ve landed on the way to turn that recipe from good cookies into absolutely spectacular cookies.
There are four big changes I make to that recipe. I reduce the overall amount of sugar—I tend to find most cookie recipes are just a touch too sweet for my tastes. Instead of tasting like chocolate chips or peanut butter or whatever else they are supposed to taste like, I think they end up just tasting like pure sugar.
Secondly, I changed the ratio of sugars. The original version calls for equal amounts of granulated and brown sugars, but I’ve found that by tipping the scales in favor of brown sugar, you get a softer, chewier cookie—with just a touch of rich flavor that I really like.
Next up, salt. I really like a salty chocolate chip cookie. I’m not talking potato chip salty (although, a chocolate chip potato chip cookie sounds awesome—maybe next year), but there needs to be a heavy hand of salt to help balance out the sweetness and richness of the chocolate. So I up the salt just a touch.
And the last big change I made is my secret ingredient—I add almond extract. It doesn’t end up tasting like almond, but I think it adds a really nice rich, underlayer of flavor to the cookie.
Just like most of the other cookies I’ve been sharing with you, the key to the right texture of these cookies is to keep a close eye on them in the oven. Just a minute or two too long and you’ve got a crunchy cookie that requires glass of milk to enjoy (which is not bad, just not my definition of perfect). To me, for a chocolate chip cookie to be really good, it has to taste good both warm out of the oven and after it’s cooled down. I’ve seen recipes for cookies that say, “these are best served warm, because they get too tough once they’ve cooled.” You don’t have that issue with these cookies. They’re nice and tender even out of the fridge.
I’ve had so much fun sharing all of these cookie recipes with you guys over the past few weeks. I know it’s a little bit of a departure from my typical M.O. of healthy balance, but I have to be honest, this is one of the most fun projects I’ve done on this blog in a long time. I’ve so enjoyed making these cookies for you!
And tomorrow, I’ll be back with a salad recipe (no really, I will).
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, scraping the sides as necessary.
- Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, and almond and mix until just combined.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two additions, mixing until combined after each addition.
- Fold in the chocolate chips by hand. Spoon rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough onto an ungreased cooking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are just barely browned around the edges. Cool for 1-2 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.