Your new favorite chewy, soft chocolate chip cookies. Under-bake them slightly so they come out with crispy edges and soft centers. Plus all the info you need to freeze cookie dough for later.
I think something as timeless and nostalgic as a proper chocolate chip cookie should come together with minimal effort.
That's why I love this chocolate chip recipe: The cookies are soft and chewy and loaded with chocolate. They also come together quickly and are out of the oven fast. That's what we all want from our chocolate chip cookies, right?
Chocolate Chip Cookies ingredients:
Here is what's in my favorite chocolate chip cookie.
- All-purpose flour. If you must have a cloud-like, tender cookie, use cake flour, which is lower in protein.
- Granulated sugar.
- Brown sugar. A little brown sugar gives cookies chewiness.
- Butter. Softened, at room temperature.
- Baking soda. Gives cookies a little lift and structure, and helps them brown.
- Baking powder. Makes a light, lofty cookie.
- Eggs. I always use size large.
- Vanilla extract. You can make your own vanilla if you want to.
- Chocolate chips, chunks, or nuts. Whatever you want, because it's your cookie.
How to make Chocolate Chip Cookies:
- The best chocolate chip cookie dough starts with softened butter. Using a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, or a handheld mixer, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy.
- Then add both the sugars, and keep beating until the mixture is well combined and smooth. How smooth, you ask? Turn the machine off and dip the tip of a finger into the butter/sugar mixture. If you can't feel the grit of the sugar between your fingers, you're ready to go on to the next step. If it feels gritty, keep beating.
- Once the butter/sugar is ready, turn the speed down to medium and add the egg and the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if you need to.
- Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together into a separate bowl. On low speed, add the dry ingredients to the bowl, one cup at a time until just blended.
- As soon as the last of the flour is added, stir in the chips and chunks and mix until just combined.
- To portion the dough into cookies, scoop out rounded tablespoons of dough and roll into 1 1/2" balls. I like to stud the outside of the cookies with extra chocolate chips, too.OPTIONAL: I like to chill the cookie dough for 20 minutes or so before baking. If it's cold in your house, you might be able to skip this step. But if your cookie dough is too warm, the cookies will spread.
- Space the cookies out at least 2" apart on the baking sheets, usually about 12 cookies per tray.
Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies:
- Chocolate Chip Cookies bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. You can bake two sheets of cookies at a time by adjusting the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions.
- Once you get to 10 minutes, though, you take the cookies out of the oven and slam them on the counter. This releases and removes extra air bubbles so your cookies are extra chewy.
- Then pop them back in the oven for another 2 minutes or so.
Tips and tricks for making your best cookie ever:
- How to soften butter in a hurry. Cold butter usually softens up in about 30 minutes when left out at room temperature (much longer if frozen). But when you need cookies STAT, here's a foolproof way to soften butter in the microwave. Cut each stick of butter in half, unwrap, and place on a microwave safe plate.
- Then cook the butter at 10% power (that's ten percent!) for 1 minute. Afterwards, gently press on the butter with your finger. If still too firm, cook for another 40 seconds at 10% power.
- Add eggs one at a time. If making multiple batches of cookies, only add the next egg once the previous egg is mixed in.
- Preheat the oven. Make sure your oven is preheated to the correct temperature before baking. This is true with almost everything, but especially cookies.
- Quality baking sheets. If freshly baked cookies is your love language, then it's time to invest in some quality gear. A heavy gauge aluminum rimmed sheet pan or two might be in your future.
- No parchment paper? Use foil. Parchment paper is a baker's dream come true, but in case you're all out, don't resort to greasing or buttering a baking sheet. Aluminum foil is a much better substitute for parchment paper.
- Making thick, lofty cookies. Once you roll the dough into balls, arrange them in a single layer on a tray that you can slide into the freezer. Once frozen, bake them straight from the freezer. You'll need to bake them a bit longer (12 to 17 minutes) but they should hold their shape and flatten less than room temperature dough.
- Making thin, crisp cookies. Try making the dough with all granulated sugar, and no brown sugar. And use a greased baking sheet.
For such a little thing, sometimes cookies can be a little tricky to figure out sometimes. Here are some common issues, explained.
- Dough too soft? Firm it up. Hot days mean hot kitchens. Hot kitchens mean soft dough. All you have to do is pop the dough into the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to make it easier to work with.
- Uneven chip distribution. Perhaps the gravest of all the cookie problems! When you get to the bottom of the bowl, only to find one measly chip and two cookies worth of dough...don't panic! I like to prepare ahead and hold back a few chips, chunks, nuts, etc. to add to the dough when I need it. Pretty sneaky, huh?
- Cookies spread out too much. A few things can contribute to this. First, check that your dough isn't too warm. Next, make sure you're using foil or parchment paper; greased pans can cause a cookie to spread thin. And finally, if you're reusing baking sheets, allow them to cool before you use them again. You can rinse them in cold water to cool them off quickly.
- The cookies didn't spread out at all. Check your baking sheet. The dark colored, non-stick pans can prevent a cookie from spreading out. Also, make sure you preheated the oven enough. Finally, the dough could be too cold. Let it warm up a few minutes at room temperature.
- Hard and tough cookies. This often happens when you try to lower the amount of fat (butter) or sugar in the recipe. It can also happen when the dough is overworked. Try to keep the proportions of butter and sugar as-is in the recipe, and don't over mix the dough when you've added the flour.
- Unevenly baked cookies. If the cookies on the baking sheet appear unevenly browned, this may be your oven. Halfway through baking, rotate the baking sheets front to back, upper to lower. Also, make sure you're portioning out the cookie dough evenly.
- Burnt on the bottom cookies. Double check your oven temperature; some ovens run hot by as many as 25 degrees. Also, stay away from dark baking sheets, which can brown cookies faster and burn the bottoms. If your baking sheets are too close to the heating source, try baking one sheet at a time with the rack positioned in the center of the oven. Finally, check the cookies at the minimum baking time, and pull them off the sheet to cool on a rack immediately.
- Over-baked cookies. If you stepped away from the oven without setting a timer and the cookies needed to come out a few minutes ago, remove them from the tray right away with a thin-bladed spatula to keep them from cooking even more on the baking sheet. Then set the timer for the next batch!
Make chocolate chip cookie dough ahead:
Wrap the cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, portion the dough as usual and bake.
How to freeze cookie dough:
- Portion the dough into balls and freeze by arranging the balls in a single layer on a tray or plate that can fit into the freezer.
- Once frozen solid, transfer into a freezer-safe bag or container. Label with the kind of cookie dough, baking temperature and cooking time in the recipe, and the date you made the dough.
- Bake the frozen cookies straight from the freezer into a preheated oven, increasing the baking time, 12 to 17 minutes.
Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and/or chunks, plus more for studding the outside of dough balls
- Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- In a medium bowl or on to a piece of parchment paper, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In an electric mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or with an electric mixer on high speed, cream butter until pale and fluffy. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat until the mixture is smooth (not gritty when you rub between your thumb and finger).
- Add egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the flour mixture in batches (about 1 cup at a time) and mix on low speed until just blended. Add the chocolate chips and stir until just combined. (Optional: If it's hot in your kitchen, consider chilling the cookie dough for 20 minutes or so. If the dough is too soft, your cookies will spread too much. )
- Working with 1 heaping tablespoon of dough at a time, roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and lay on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. (I use the OXO medium cookie scoop, a size 40 portioner, and do 12 scoops of dough per baking sheet). If desired, press extra chocolate chips into the outside of each dough ball.
- Bake until the cookies are starting to brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove baking sheets from oven and carefully drop (more like slam) baking sheets on counter to remove air bubbles from cookies.
- Return to oven and bake 2 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
- Roll individual balls of cookie dough, then freeze on a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet (don't let them touch or they will stick together). Freeze until firm, about 2 to 3 hours.
- When the dough balls are solid, transfer to a freezer-safe zipper-top plastic bag and freeze up to 1 month.
- To bake, bake straight from the freezer and follow normal baking instructions, increasing bake time to 12 to 17 minutes.