My baking tips, favorite recipes, baking tools for the best chocolate chip cookie, and essential chocolate chip cookie destinations.
Find your perfect recipe. I like a chewy, crispy, gooey-in-the-center cookie.
My CCC all use unsalted butter. Butter provides flavor and makes cookies crispy. Baking with butter calls for chilling the dough so the cookies do not spread too much on the pan as they bake. I use Plugrá, an unsalted European-style butter. The unsalted version allows me to control the salt content in a recipe by considering only the actual added salt. And regarding European-style butter, the dairy is cultured before churning (unlike in American-style butter), adding a certain depth of flavor. I use Myoko’s Vegan European Butter for a dairy-free CCC. It’s essential to use cold butter for dairy-free CCC.
My favorite CCC has a mix of brown and white sugar. Brown sugar makes cookies chewy, and white sugar makes them crispy. I also use coconut sugar for some recipes.
I use Cup4Cup or Auntie’s Gluten-Free Flour when making gluten-free CCC. If baking for friends or family, I use half of an unbleached flour like King Arthur and half of a lower protein pastry flour like White Lily—High-protein flour for shape, lower protein for tenderness. King Arthur shapes your cookie, and the White Lily tenderizes them.
I only use one egg. More than one egg, I think, makes cookies cake-like.
I weigh my ingredients for better results.
I use fine sea salt in the cookie and garnish the baked cookies with some French-flaked sea salt. I prefer Maldon.
I use both soda and baking powder. This creates a bigger bakery style of CCC.
I use Singing Dog Organic Vanilla Extract. Apart from the quality of chocolate, which lends your cookie’s most prominent flavor profile, the flavor of vanilla complementarily supports and adds depth to it.
My dream CCC has lots of chips. I use 2 cups; 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips with at least 60 percent cacao content from Valrhona or Callebaut and 1 cup of Valrhona or Callebaut milk chocolate chips. If you want a traditional cookie, stick with semisweet chips, but if you want a more intense chocolate flavor, opt for the Valrhona, Ghirardelli, or Guittard 60 percent cacao chips. I use this brand of Keto Chocolate chips for some recipes. These keto chips melt properly for baking and taste delicious.
I also make some variations of the traditional CCC. I like to add coarsely chopped pecans and walnuts, big enough so you can see them. They benefit from the oven’s heat and toast as the cookie bakes. I also like some oats and will add ¼ cup old-fashioned oats but cut back on some of the flour to make up for it.
The traditional baking temperature for CCC is 350 degrees, depending on your oven and how it bakes. I recommend using an oven thermometer. It also depends on your baking sheets. The darker the pan, the darker the cookie. You must bake a test pan first and adjust the temperature and time accordingly. Also, ensure your dough is cold when it goes into the oven for a uniform cookie shape.
I store the dough in the fridge overnight before baking the cookies. It lets the flour soak up the moisture and creates well-shaped cookies.
I like to use a two-inch cookie scooper to ensure they’re all the same size. Scoop the chilled cookie dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Sheet. Freeze the cookies on the baking sheet until solid for at least 6 hours or overnight. Once solid, you can put them into a large zipper bag and freeze them. Press out as much air as possible, label the bag, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
I often give two bags: one with about six cookies for now and a second bag with up to a dozen frozen scoops for later, with baking instructions written on the bag, “Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes.” It’s a simple, thoughtful touch that goes a long way!
Here’s a list of my favorite baking tools:
Challenger Baker’s Scale: It’s a decent scale for the price.
Oven Thermometer: An oven thermometer can help you test for hot spots and find the ideal place to place your food and baking sheets. It can also tell you if you must flip and move your food or rotate your pans mid-baking to ensure even cooking.
Ankarsrum Assistant: This mixer is on my wish list.
Oxo scales: I’m also a fan of Oxo scales, which are a little pricier, but come with a lifetime guarantee (if one ever breaks, call Oxo, and they will send you a free replacement, no questions asked.)
Made-In Baking Sheet: These are my favorite baking sheets.
Cookie Spatula: I always prefer a stainless steel cookie spatula. A thin metal spatula is always best when removing fragile cookies from the baking sheet.
SILPAT Non-Stick Baking Mat: It prevents cookies from sticking. It is a must-have item for a baker.
Rosalie Stainless Steel Whip: This attachment is ideal for blending ingredients and beating eggs.
Double Oven Mitt: These oven mitts protect both your hands and arms. I never forget to use them, either.
KitchenAid 11-Wire Whip: This mixer attachment is for lighter, fluffier whipped cream, egg whites, and cake batters.
Half sheet-sized parchment paper: Breadtopia; King Arthur: Do NOT use rolled parchment; it will drive you mad with curling. You can cut these sheets into squares or strips to line your Dutch oven loaves.
Measuring Cups: This set is too beautiful to keep in a drawer!
Mason Cash Mixing Bowl: This bowl is beautifully designed. Mrs. Patmore uses these bowls in her kitchen at Downton Abbey. The pattern on the outside helps cooks get a firm grip, and the bowls are just the right shape and depth for beating or kneading.
Mosser Glass Mixing Bowl Set: These beautiful bowls should be displayed on open shelves.
Gir Silicone Spatula: The best spatula for scraping bowls.
Hedley and Bennet Aprons: My favorite aprons designed by a chef. I have a polka-dot and denim design. These are the BEST aprons.
Cookie Box Wooden Carrier: This carrier will keep your precious cookies safe and intact.
The Baker’s Appendix by Jessica Reed: This handy reference guide makes converting recipes quick and easy. It features conversion charts, substitutions, standard ingredient weights in cups and grams, and more of those little details we are constantly scrambling to look up on our iPhones with floury, buttery fingers!
Here are a few of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes to get you started:
David Leite’s Chocolate Chip Cookie: It’s the perfect chewy cookie with a crispy exterior. It is essential to chill the dough for 24 hours. This is one of the most popular CCC recipes.
Valrhona Chocolate Chip Cookies: A mix of dark and milk chocolate chips.
BraveTart Chocolate Chip Cookies: It’s an old fashion version calling for a mix of dark, milk, or white chocolate morsels.
Sarah Keiffer’s Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies: The original pan-bangers yield a perfectly soft interior and crispy edges.
Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies: A foolproof, crowd-favorite classic.
Tara O’Brady’s Great Chocolate Chip Cookies: A mix of dark and milk CCC.
Claire Saffitz’s Chocolate Chip Cookies: A trusted classic with razor-precise technique.
Kate Davis’ Brown Butter and Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies: There’s no competition regarding the depth of flavor.
David Lebovitz Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies: These cookies are one of my favorite recipes using alternative flour.
Seelbach Hotel (Louisville, KY) Chocolate Chip Cookies: These cookies are provided to hotel guests and are very popular.
Jeffrey Larson’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: Jeffrey’s secret is clarified butter because it keeps cookies from spreading as they bake.
Heidi Swanson’s Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies: I love baking with Mesquite flour. It’s gluten-free, rich in specific nutrients, and low on the GI index. It adds a unique flavor to baked goods, imparting a fragrant, warming, soft-edged spiciness.
Essential Chocolate Chip Cookie Destinations:
Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie: Locations in NYC and D.C. I always recommend this bakery to friends visiting NYC or D.C.
Please and Thank You: Louisville, KY
Seelbach Hotel: Louisville, KY
Proof Bakery: Los Angeles, CA
Erewhon Market Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: Los Angeles multiple locations *GF
Breadblok Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: Los Angeles, CA *GF
Tartine Bakery: Los Angeles/San Francisco, CA
Jacques Torres: New York, NY
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