Updated: Jul 25
When the craving for cookies strikes, look no further than this recipe. Crafted in a humble kitchen and tasted for perfection, this recipe has been in the works for over two years. On my birthday, I have the pleasure of sharing it with the world.
Taking something simple and complicating it is seen as a mistake. Whether it’s cooking, writing, landscaping (the few hobbies I have explored), to add unnecessary steps and intrusions is the activity of a masochist. This year, I have not only become heavily invested in nutrition, but in cooking and baking as well. I am relatively strict in my eating habits and am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to macronutrients. So, when the time comes for a sweet treat cheat, I do not mess around.
In the early days of my life, I would basically eat whatever came my way. My father is a seasoned chef of the Bacon Lettuce (no tomato, ever), and the classic diner-style chocolate malt. My other was the all-around cook as well as a baker, and they together crafted my culinary palette. My mother can bake pretty much anything, and she does it well. Among her staples includes chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and banana bread. She has given me a great deal of inspiration to begin my baking journey, and so has my sister. Seeing my mother craft delicious food from scratch is unmistakably inspiring. I feel as though I have been inspired by her for years in this regard— only now have I been able to reap hold of this subconscious influence. I have gone about making all three— brownies, banana bread, cookies— multiple times myself. I haven’t quite mastered brownies yet, and banana bread is difficult to mess up. Chocolate chip cookies are easy to make, but difficult to master, I would argue. After years of trial and error, I believe I have crafted the ultimate recipe for chocolate chip cookies.
Such a bold and brash statement surely has been said before across numerous cooking blogs and TikTok descriptions, but I don’t have TikTok, and this isn’t a cooking blog. The proof is in the dough— I bring my cookies everywhere and force everyone to try one. The responses are both ubiquitous and unanimous in their positivity. Some have said they’re the best cookie they have ever tasted. I will not sleep at night until my chocolate chip cookie is the best on the planet. *
*This recipe is subject to modification.
The Basics: Dry
The basic dry ingredients of a solid chocolate chip cookie are basic and simple, and they should remain that way.
My go-to for flour has always been just Gold Medal All Purpose. It gets the job done every single time without fault. I would argue to take a look at oat flour or almond flour as a healthier alternative, which they definitely both are. But, in the order of Pepperidge farm, if you’re going to have a cookie, have a cookie, and have one that’s genuine in its ingredients. I’d rather not sacrifice taste and texture in a baked good where that good’s only purpose is to be delicious.
Salt: Ever since I largely quit sugar and lowered my carbohydrates significantly, my sweet tooth has almost disappeared. Sweet treats I enjoyed beforehand I now think taste gross, quite frankly. Cupcakes from the grocery store used to slap, and so did pop tarts. Nowadays, both are terribly disgusting. They’re just too sweet! I can smell the fiat radiating from them when I’m near these devilish creations. As hypocritical as I sound, I still enjoy cookies very much. This is where the salt comes in. A significant portion of cookies themselves are brown and white sugar— to combat such a sweet bite, I’m always sure to add in just a sprinkle, or up to half a teaspoon of salt in my cookies. Simply put, salt just tastes good. Regarding the ‘balance’ when it comes to sweet and savory flavors, adding some salt to the mix is only the beginning.
Baking soda: Baking soda gets the job done with my cookies, allowing them to rise to their full glory in the oven. My cookies do have an additional acidic element, as well will see later, meaning that I could simply substitute both this and the acidic element for baking powder. I continue to use soda as it helps my cookies develop that browned, crispy crust.
Corn starch: This right here is my acidic element, and is the latest modification I have added to my cookies. I wanted to retain the crisp my cookies had, but I couldn’t help but feel that they were missing something. A great cookie is crispy on the outside, but good and chewy towards the center. My cookies looked like discus and didn’t retain much of a rise. Adding a teaspoon of cornstarch per batch makes the center more fluffy, giving my cookies that chewy center while retaining a crispy, browned edge.
Cinnamon: I have always had an affinity towards everything cinnamon. Being one of my favorite spices, I wondered if adding some to my cookies would help enhance the flavor. It definitely does, adding a subtle richness to the final taste. Some can taste the cinnamon outright, while others fail to even notice it. It greatly complements the wet ingredients. A teaspoon of cinnamon provides an enhanced, deepened flavor profile without turning the cookies into snickerdoodles (but who would complain if that happened?).
White sugar: White sugar is a staple, and shouldn’t be alternated in any significant way. It provides a good balance with the brown sugar and doesn’t make the cookies too fudge-like in texture.
Brown sugar: White sugar with molasses is simply the best, and is directly associated with a great cookie. I prefer my cookies to have a majority of brown sugar for an extra chewy texture. A half cup of white sugar and one cup of packed brown sugar is my go-to balance.
Salted browned butter: Amateur cooks everywhere on the internet claim that browned butter is a game changer when it comes to baking. They’re right— if anything takes these basic cookies into the stratosphere, it’s browned butter. It adds a deepened level of caramelization to the cookies and works extremely well with the additional teaspoon of cinnamon. Browned butter also adds more color to the crispy edge of your cookies. The key to great browned butter is to brown it over a steady medium to medium-low heat. The milk fats will separate from the cream— be sure to reincorporate those into your mixture. Another important step is to let that brown butter solidify in the fridge after browning. This allows the consistency of your cookies to be thicker and less runny. Using softened brown butter provides the best one-two punch in terms of flavor and perfect cookie texture.
Also, I always use salted butter. It’s what I grew up with in my mother’s recipes. Salted butter simply tastes better than unsalted, and there’s enough sugar and sweetness in the recipe to balance out the butter and added salt in the mixture. Alternatively, if you aren’t the biggest fan of salt, opt to leave the additional half teaspoon of salt out. But, I encourage you to use salted butter in your baking every single time. Salt is simply an underutilized tool in the sweet department.
Two large eggs, room temperature: In order to make my cookies even more thick and gooey in the center, I am considering changing this to one whole egg, and one egg yolk. I’ll implement this the next time I bake and provide an update to this article afterwards. For now, two large eggs work as the binder between the wet and dry ingredients, allowing them to seamlessly fold into each other upon baking. Having your eggs at room temperature is an extremely subtle addition to your cookies, but one that proves to mix in more effectively with the dough and rise more easily.
Vanilla extract: A classic staple in any cookie, brownie or banana bread recipe. A teaspoon of genuine extract is all you need, and none of that ‘vanilla flavor’ bull-hockey.
Additives, toppings and mix-ins:
Chocolate chips: no explanation needed. Opt for semisweet over milk chocolate, by the way.
Chopped dark chocolate: I prefer cookies with just chopped dark chocolate over just chips. Chopped chocolate melts, and there’s at least a little taste of dark chocolate in every bite using this method. As previously mentioned regarding my lack of sweet tooth, I always lean towards dark chocolate for my cookies. I find that anywhere from 72 percent all the way up to 85 percent works perfectly. Lindt or Ghirardelli are the best brands for this operation. If you have a local chocolatier, crafting dark chocolate by hand who you know is outdoing these larger companies, please send me their contact.
A mix of chopped chocolate and chips: Absolutely.
Butterscotch chips: I want to try this.
Walnuts, coconut, pecans, cashews: No. These are chocolate chip cookies. I’m not a cowboy by any means.
Flaky sea salt: as if there isn’t enough salt in my cookies already, adding some additional sea salt on top provides a fresh kick to the cookies and even a slight crunch. Be sure to add salt a few minutes after your cookies have come out of the oven. Adding salt right away will likely have it sink into the cookie; add it too late and it will fall right off.
Jimmies / sprinkles: Not my favorite.
Frosting: Not necessary.
Add your dry ingredient mix into your wet ingredient mix gradually, fully combining every time. This will allow all the flavors to truly coalesce into one doughy ball of goodness.
Roll into balls immediately after making, then refrigerate or freeze. Among everything that can positively distinguish these cookies from the rest, it’s the chilling phase. Freezing your dough will really allow the ingredients to come together to a greater extent. This allows the egg yolks to combine with the sugars and break the sugars down into glucose and fructose. When the sugar becomes fully integrated with the binder in the egg yolk, the cookie's flavor deepens, and the texture becomes thicker and chewier. I chill mine for up to 72 hours, but as little as 30 minutes makes a huge difference.
At the end of the day, reality can be whatever I want, and the same goes for you. Customize these cookies to your liking and let your creativity flow. Doing just that has resulted in me uploading something entirely unforeseen to my website filled with poems and articles about canceled rail lines and school architecture. It’s a fresh start, and I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let’s get to it.
Master Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour (2 1/4 if adding extra mix-ins)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 sticks of browned, then cooled butter
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additives / mix-ins:
2 seventy two - eighty five percent dark chocolate bars, finely chopped
Flaky sea salt
Makes around 35-40 cookies.
Melt butter on low-medium heat or until golden brown. Place butter into the fridge to cool, or freezer if in a hurry. Once butter has solidified into a softened state, mix with white and brown sugar until creamy.
Note: use unsalted butter if preferred. I prefer salted butter for just a bit more flavor.
Add your eggs, one by one, until fully combined into a wet mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine salt, baking soda, flour, and cinnamon, until dry mixture has a slightly darkened color. Proceed to add dry mixture into wet gradually, fully combining each time. Once the entirety of your dry and wet mixture is one, add in your chopped chocolate or chips.
Add in whatever other morsels you like, mixing with a rubber spatula. That way, your morsels and additions stay intact and the dough won’t break down. Roll dough into balls after just being mixed.
For best flavor, refrigerate or freeze your dough overnight, or for up to 72 hours. Refrigeration allows for the ingredients to really come together, enhancing the flavor of your cookies.
After thawing your dough for a few minutes, place onto lightly greased tray and bake at 375 degrees for 9-10 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack afterwards. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt 5-10 minutes after cooling, and serve.