chocolate chip cookies | the vanilla bean blog

I realized recently that I never posted about my very favorite chocolate chip cookies, and as they were needed for a get-together over the weekend, I found the perfect reasons to (a)make them and (b)take pictures of them. I’ve been trying out lots of other recipes over the years, but these are the cookies I always come back to.

I actually came up with this recipe for a coffeehouse I had worked at, and it is based on a cookie from this lovely cafe. The later cookie was (and still is) great; it’s thick center and scattered chocolate chips always left me feeling content. But I wanted something a little different, like a cookie with crisp brown edges, a chewy-gooey center, balanced chocolate, a bit more salt, and some cracks to grace the top. So I took out some flour and an egg, added vanilla and salt, and then somehow ended up with these lovelies. They are buttery (I won’t apologize!), crispy-gooey, and terribly delicious. So here it is, our House cookie, just in time for swimsuit season. Enjoy.
chocolate chip cookies | the vanilla bean blog
chocolate chip cookies | the vanilla bean blog

{My mother-in-law gave me this scale for Mother’s Day; I love it so and had to work it into a photo. I was highly inspired by Russell’s scale photo  – such a perfect shot.}

{p.p.s. – I don’t know if you’ve heard of Artisan Magazine, but if you have an ipad it’s free! and lovely! and I have a little piece in this issue. Check them out here.}

chocolate chip cookies | the vanilla bean blog

 Chocolate Chip Cookies

Depending on the size of your cookies, you can fit 6-8 cookies on a baking sheet. They will spread quite a bit, so make sure they are pretty far apart. You can cut the salt back a bit if you wish – 1/2 teaspoon will work, too. I prefer my cookies a bit underdone, and theses cookies are best that way. When you pull the pan from the oven, you want the edges to have set and be browning, but the center to still be under-baked and a bit puffy (there is a photo below). As the center falls it creates lovely cracks and lines on the top, and settles into a gooey, blissful bite.

1/2 lb [2 sticks] butter, soft
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar minus 1 tablespoon
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (see note)
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 ounces chopped chocolate (or 1 [heaping] cup chocolate chips)
1/4 cup cacao nibs (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 and place an oven rack in the middle-low position.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together, and set aside. In a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugars together. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well. Add flour mixture and mix batter until just combined. Add the chopped chocolate and mix just until the chocolate is incorporated. Use a scoop or spoons to form balls (I used a scale and made mine 1 1/2 ounces each).  Place on a baking sheet (see note) and bake the sheets one at a time. About 5 minutes into baking, rotate the pan. Bake a few more minutes, and when the sides begin to set, lift pan slightly in oven and let fall (this will help to create the lines on your cookies). Bake another 1-2 minutes, until the sides are set and golden brown, but the center is still under-baked, much like this photo:
chocolate chip cookies | the vanilla bean blog
Depending on your oven, cookies will bake a total of 9-11 minutes (I really don’t set a timer for these, just keep an eye on them. I’ve made thousands of them, and found looking for set, brown sides to be the best way to determine when they are done.) Remove baking pans from oven and bang lightly on counter to create more lines and set cookies. Let cookies cool on wire racks until cool.

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23 Responses to chocolate chip cookies

  1. Sarah says:

    I can’t decide what I love most about this; your photos, the cookies (which look perfect), or those adorable little hands in the picture.
    I will eat some cookies and think about this important decision.

  2. Reem says:

    There is something special about chocolate chip cookies, they never get old and always bring smile on every face.
    I am so so loving that scale.. it is really a beauty!
    Hope you are having a gorgeous weekend.

  3. Sophia says:

    I think everyone needs a good chocolate chip cookie recipe in their repertoire and these look as though they tick all the right boxes (a good pinch of salt, gooey in the middle and crisp edges, lots of chocolate etc). I am still looking for my perfect recipe – I tried a few (including the famous NYT recipe) but I have yet to find one that I am perfectly happy with – not that I mind, what better excuse could I have to continue baking chocolate chip cookies and turning test batches into ice cream sandwiches?

  4. Sarah these look amazing! Everyone needs a fall back favourite chocolate chip cookie – I have one too but once I’ve tried these I have a feeling they might replace it! :-)

  5. Just the way I like chocolate chip cookies.. So sweet, lovely and perfect. I too have a scale I love!

  6. These are such perfect sounding cookies. I really love your photos with the scale too!

  7. I’ve also tried several cookie recipes till now…many of them are good, but still hunting for my top fav one. Gotta try this soon , definitely looks and sounds like my-kinda-cookie..

    Luv,
    Manju (a fellow Minnesotan) ;-)

  8. carey says:

    That scale <333 — your mother-in-law is awesome! And I LOVE the oven shot. The in-oven UFO shape is totally the sign of perfect cookie happenings — crispy edges holding their ground, puffy middles that will sink down into chewy goodness. Aw yeah. (:

  9. THIS is exactly the kind of chocolate chip cookies am looking for! I think my search can end here. Oh and the scale… Aw…. I’m jealous.

  10. Your photographs are absolutely stunning! And I can practically taste how crispy and chocolate-y these cookies are!

  11. Kathryn says:

    Perfect, perfect cookies.

  12. Gemma says:

    Lovely, perfect and deliciously tempting cookies! =)
    I love your blog: the pictures, the recipes…everything is wonderful! Congrats!
    xo

  13. [...] one.  I recently read this tutorial about perfecting the chocolate chip.  Then soon after I saw this post on one of my favorite blogs, and I was inspired to find a recipe that we could confidently call [...]

  14. Kay says:

    These look really nice. Mine did not turn out like yours at all, however. :( I think I had too much flour.

  15. Kendall says:

    Your cookies look amazing, but mine also did not turn out as nicely. Did you create actual cookie balls, by rounding the dough with your palms? I measured out 1.5 oz then rounded them out. One tray I didn’t flatten and they stayed round. The other tray I pressed down slightly with my palm on each cookie, but they also didn’t flatten like yours.

    What’s your secret!? ;)

    • Sarah says:

      Kendall, I don’t know what happened! I do make my cookies into rounds first, and don’t press them down. I’m so sorry that they didn’t turn out – I’ve never had a problem with them not spreading nice. Did you use chopped chocolate or chocolate chips? If using chopped, maybe the pieces were too large? I’ll keep thinking of what could have happened.

  16. Ali says:

    How many cookies does the recipe make?
    I am looking to make these and don’t want to make too many. Please someone help me out!!! Thanks!! :)

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Ali! This recipe makes a little over 2 dozen cookies. You can cut it in half if you want – I’ve done it several times, still using just 1 egg. They turned out well. :)

  17. FromApt 85 says:

    what beautiful photos you have! mouth IS watering.

  18. ellenblaufox@optonline.net says:

    I love your website – your photos are so special and I can not wait to try your recepies -
    I am totally inspired –
    thank you
    Ellen

  19. Louisa says:

    What wonderful cookies! I have admire your blog for a long time, Sarah, and am so excited that I finally got to try one of your recipes! For a myriad of reasons, chocolate chip cookies have always failed me. Too cakey, too greasy, too crumbly, too doughy, not enough spread, no chew, etc. This time, however, they were wonderful! Success!

    I made no very significant changes, but I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I left out one tablespoon of butter because I deemed my butter to be too soft (TJ’s organic sweet cream butter), decreased my brown sugar and white sugar amounts slightly (a couple tablespoons each) because I prefer less sweetness in my sweets, and left out the 2 tbsp flour because I used white whole wheat, and I know that whole wheat flour is more absorbent and dense than white AP flour.

    Despite the fact that I had no vanilla extract :( and substituted some nice almond extract instead, it still tasted very nutty and aromatic with the wonderful balance of sweetness, salt, butter, and gooey chocolate chips. The exterior is slightly crisp, beautifully rustic, and almost gliterry upclose from the white sugar crystals. The center is soft, chewy, and aromatic, just a chocolate chip cookie should be, and just like in the blog photos. I baked my cookies on two unlined, greased and floured cookie sheets for about 11 minutes, pulling them out when the tops were puffy and soft, but bounced back a little. A heaping tablespoon of dough for each cookie was what I found to be the perfect size (1 inch balls spread into 3 to 3 1/2 inch cookies), set about two inches apart from the others.

    And before I depart from this very long comment, I should add, just in case it might help someone, that my butter always curdles when I add in my egg, probably due to the fact that I never wait long enough for the egg and butter to come to the same temperature (the butter I use is very soft even when cold, so it’s always ready for creaming before the egg has lost its chill). So when I start stirring the egg into my creamed butter and find it beginning to curdle, I let it sit on the counter for about 15 minutes before continuing. It helps, definitely, but the mixture will still look somewhat lumpy, like thick cottage cheese. Keep stirring, though, don’t lose faith! until it all comes together (but don’t overcream), and chill it in the fridge for 10 minutes before adding in flour and chocolate.

    Thank you so much for this recipe– its cookies have made my day! :) merci beaucoup!

  20. […] tweaking to make them gluten-free if needed and all is right in the world. I’ve made these classics from Sarah, walnut studded beauties from Joy, a honey laden version, and chewy, brown butter ones (already […]

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