3 Must-Try Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes

 

Baking is bliss for me.  A spatula gripped in my hand does not feel foreign but familiar, like it belongs there.  And nothing – nothing – feels or mixes more right with that spatula than a batch of chocolate chip cookies, my culinary opus and answer to a long week’s worth of work.    

 

I dished out my flours, butter, and snobbish assortment of chocolate chips (the greatest and most vital ingredient, of course) this weekend for pure pleasure.  More than 95% of the time, I make cookies on a whim.  Well, that and a desire to sneak dough from the batter even though I’m the only one home.  I turn on my Frankie Valli Pandora station and pretend I’m Jennifer Grey as I fold and shake my ingredients to perfection.  It’s my bliss.  

 

My standard is the Toll House recipe, the golden ratio, the delicious dividend, and my first from-scratch chocolate chip cookie attempt.  It’s practically muscle momentum now, but the routine doesn’t feel right unless I consult the guidelines.   

 

What I love about the Toll House recipe is its flexibility and adaptability for next level-up mutation.  No matter the recipe’s difficulty, I still hum and dance a little.  In an effort (and on a whim) to build up my game, I branched off from Toll House and tried two different variations of the chocolate chip concoction during my time at home last month.  One was writer David Leite’s recipe, published seven years ago in the New York Times Cooking section and requiring both cake and bread flour for the dough.  My second experiment was a mini-chip batch slightly less complicated and more accessible to the Toll House method.

 

Both batches were delicious in dough and “done” form.  I promptly added them to my chocolate chip library/shrine next to my worn Toll House cookbook (or as I call it, my “bakebook”) upon my return to Savannah.  I’ve included all three recipes here to cover you the next time you need an excuse to dance, mix, and bake your bliss.           

 

David Leite’s New York Times Recipe

 

Ingredients

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour

1 ⅔ cups bread flour

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt

2 ½ sticks unsalted butter

1 ¼ cups light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate disks, at least 60 percent cacao content

A sprinkling of sea salt.

 

Preparation

Put on some music, something not too complicated.  Sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  Set the bowl aside.  Do a little dance.

 

Cream together the butter and sugars using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for about 5 minutes.  until very light, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the vanilla.  Change the song.   

 

Reduce the speed to low, add the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.  Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them (I prefer stirring them in with my spatula).  Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.  The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.  Taste some before you put it away for temporary hibernation.  

 

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.  Scoop the dough to about the size of a golf ball and place onto the baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up.  Sprinkle lightly with the sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes (keep an eye on them just in case).  Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip the cookies onto another rack to cool a smidgen longer.  Repeat with the remaining dough, or save it in the refrigerator for another day you need to dance.  

 

The Mini-Chip Method

 

Ingredients

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar

1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 eggs

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoons salt

1 bag mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)*

*Don’t hesitate to add more chocolate; Remember, they are mini.

 

Directions

Use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Slowly add in the vanilla extract and eggs.  Whip until combined, and in the meantime, play another song.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.  Stir with the butter mixture. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.  Eat a couple chips, then try some of the dough.  

 

Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls, flatten them slightly, and place them about 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Freeze them for 15 minutes, so they will hold their shape (I put the whole sheet in the freezer).  As your dough chills, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sing along to your music.  Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly golden on the edges.  Stand by with a glass of milk and a sturdy napkin for immediate savoriness.  

 

The Toll House Tradition

 

Ingredients

2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

3⁄4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (I typically reduce my heat to 350, but it’s a trial and error element).  Find another great song, then combine together the flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until nice and creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Sway some and gradually beat in the flour mixture.  Stir in morsels and nuts (If you’re not nuts about nuts, you do not have to include them).  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake the sweetness for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely (If you want warm and chewy, ignore the “cool completely” part.). Play your victory song. Be your own taste tester.