I find chocolate chip cookies inherently comforting, and you probably do too. I like them to have a softer, chewier center with a snappy, crisp edge. Obviously, there aren't enough chocolate chip cookie recipes in the world to choose from, so I’m throwing another one at you! But seriously, you should try this one.
Many wiser bakers than I have put a lot of research into the perfect chocolate chip cookie. The New York Times has a famous recipe that requires resting and chilling the dough for over 24 hours. I’ve rested mine, and to be honest, the only real result was that there was a lot more time for me to swipe spoonfuls of the raw dough. In the end, I had fewer baked cookies and a tiny bit of a stomachache.
I was convinced by a very wise colleague of mine to give the resting a shot again. She did some extensive testing (what a rough job cookie-testing is) and determined that resting your dough really does make a difference. But you can skip the 24-hour business: After 30 minutes, the differences in the baked cookies are negligible and you get a diminishing return. Plus you have to wait longer for warm cookies and we don’t want that!
So, why chill? PJ’s theory is two-fold (and you can read her excellent article here): Chilling solidifies the fats in the cookie dough, which helps prevent spreading while they bake. This makes sense, and lots of recipes will suggest popping your shaped cookies in the freezer for bit before baking. It’s a great trick to use if your dough ever seems sticky or soft.
Secondly, the dough will absorb liquid and dry out slightly as it sits. This controls spreading too, but it also concentrates the sugars and makes the cookies darker in color and chewier in texture. That’s what we want!
PJ points out that this applies to any cookie recipe. I don’t use it for things like snickerdoodles or molasses cookies, because I prefer those softer and lighter. But I’ve tried it out with sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, and all manner of drop cookie dough (white chocolate peppermint, walnut and cacao nib, and so on), with excellent results.
Try it yourself! Tell me what you think – I’d love to hear whether you preferred the chewier, more caramelized-tasting result.
Crisp-Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips (or chunks)
2 tablespoons flaky sea salt (optional, for topping)
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until very light and fluffy. Add the salt, vanilla, and baking soda and beat well to combine. Add the egg and beat well to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
Add the flour and mix well, then add the chocolate and mix. If you want to add other mix-ins, like chopped nuts or Grape-nuts or cacao nibs, now is the time!
Now that your dough is ready, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or an inverted plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If you have stuff to do, like laundry or class or taking a run and you really can't be bothered to rearrange your schedule for cookie dough, feel free to leave it in the fridge for up to 24 hours until you're ready to bake.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Scoop balls of dough out (I like to use a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop or large spoon to make them even) and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with flaky sea salt (optional) and smoosh them down very gently with the back of a spoon (also optional). Bake for 10-15 minutes: until golden brown on the edges and still soft-looking in the center. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.