Few things are more satisfying than a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie, fresh out of the oven. Loaded with morsels of melty chocolate, it’s no wonder that everyone on earth finds this classic treat irresistible. In fact, the Plated Test Kitchen holds such an admiration for the chocolate chip cookie that we decided to investigate one of life’s great questions: What is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever?
To solve this mystery, we consulted Chef Michelle, our resident dessert expert and self proclaimed “chocolate chip cookie traditionalist.” It all starts, she says, with the right ingredients: a mixture of both light brown and granulated white sugar, semisweet chocolate chips, plenty of unsalted butter, and, in the words of the wise Ina Garten, “good vanilla.”
“Although I do love a good milk chocolate, at the end of the day, I need semisweet chocolate chips in my cookie,” she says. “I also really like swapping in semisweet chocolate disks. Because they have a greater surface area than little chips, they create these beautiful wells of melty chocolate as they bake.”
To balance out the sweetness of the chocolate, though, she likes a sprinkle of coarse sea salt on top. Crucial to this is the use of unsalted butter, not salted—and don’t even talk to her about subbing in margarine. “Real, unsalted butter is important,” she says. “It allows you to control the level of salt in your cookie when you sprinkle it on top at the end, achieving that perfect sweet and salty balance.”
Another crucial cookie factor: texture. “I want my chocolate chip cookie to be very lightly crispy and golden on the edges, but soft and slightly doughy on the inside,” says Michelle. Her secret to getting this result? Chilling the dough before baking. Not only does this allow them to achieve that coveted gooey center and crisp outside, you can make the dough a few hours or days in advance. Form the dough into balls, place them on your baking sheet, and freeze; then, when the craving hits, simply bring the dough to room temperature and pop them in the oven. Freshly baked cookies, any time you want them? Yes, please.
At the end of the day, there’s is one recipe that checks all of Michelle’s boxes for cookie criteria, and we’re letting you in on the secret. The New York Times recipe checks all the boxes. Note that it uses a combination of cake flour and bread flour, which helps the cookies attain ideal chewiness. Chock full of mouthwatering chocolate disks and garnished with flaky sea salt, once you’ve tried this recipe, you won’t be able to bake anything else.
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