Recipe Reveal: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies?
Home bakers have to have a great Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in their arsenal. It’s an American classic and the ultimate comfort food. Ask people what their favorite cookie is, and most times they’ll say chocolate chip.
Comb the internet and you’ll find a gazillion variations on the good old Toll House Cookie recipe found on the back of a bag of Nestle’s chocolate chips. When I was growing up, that was the recipe everyone used. And truth be told, that recipe is quite good (Nestle’s chocolate chips though are not so good, they’re sadly bland).
Since I love to experiment, I’ve tried a number of Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe variations — Alton Brown’s version with bread flour, another baker’s version with whole eggs AND egg yolks, another that uses chopped bittersweet chocolate instead of chips, and one wild version that contains cornstarch and cream cheese. None of these seemed quite right.
Now, I have my own variation. My secret, if you want to call it that, is simple. In addition to regular white sugar, I also add freshly-made brown sugar, which is a combination of white sugar with a healthy wallop of molasses.
That’s the key. Freshly-made brown sugar adds more depth and richness to the taste of the cookie. The added moisture from the molasses also provides the cookie with a great chewy texture. These are GOOD cookies.
I’ve been making brown sugar for years now. I got sick and tired of the stuff in the package turning rock hard and having to microwave it to soften it.
Brown sugar is easy to make. For light brown sugar, combine one cup of white sugar with one tablespoon of molasses. For dark brown, add another tablespoon of molasses. That’s it. In addition to always being fresh and fluffy, you can control the amount of molasses and make the brown sugar as light or as dark as you want it.
For this cookie recipe, I used very golden brown sugar — 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons of white sugar combined with 2-1/2 tablespoons of molasses.
The cookies are crisp on the edges, chewy on the inside, with a golden tone and smooth flavor. This recipe makes 3 dozen large cookies, more if you make them smaller. My chocolate chip brand of choice is Ghirardelli. I usually use semisweet chips, but for this go round I used a combination of milk chocolate and mini semisweet chips, just for fun.
PJ’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons white sugar PLUS 2-1/2 Tablespoons molasses
¾ cup white sugar (very scant)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ½ to 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or mixture of milk chocolate and semisweet)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar and the molasses with a fork. Use your fingertips if necessary to combine well.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with paddle attachment, combine the butter, ¾ cup white sugar, and the fresh-made brown sugar and beat just until smooth; do not overmix. Scrape bowl. Add water and vanilla and stir on low until just combined. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat on low until just combined. Scrape bowl.
5. Add the flour mixture (half at a time) and mix on low till almost, but not quite, combined. Remove from mixer and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula to finish combining. Fold in chocolate chips.
6. Spoon heaping tablespoons of dough onto parchment-lined baking pan, leaving 2 inches between them, as cookies will spread.
7. Bake for 10-13 minutes until brown on the edges and still palish/light brown in the center. Cookies will darken as they cool. (In my oven the cookies take about 10 ½ minutes to bake). Remove from oven and let cool on the pan for two minutes (so they are firm enough to remove) then lift off with a spatula and finish cooling on a rack. Yield 3 dozen largish cookies.