Chocolate Chip Cookies

Season: All | Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 12 to 48 hours for chilling the dough | Difficulty: 2 (Easy)

A chocolate chip cookie recipe is fascinating to develop because every single ingredient has a distinct impact on the outcome of the recipe, so you change one thing and you change the final cookie. It’s all about achieving the right proportions. This is the recipe I’ve tweaked over several years to get everything I want in a chocolate chip cookie: crisp-chewy edges, a soft chocolaty center, and lots of butterscotchy notes enhanced by a healthy amount of salt. This particular cookie requires a few steps along the way—browning some of the butter, using both milk and dark chocolate disks (not chips), and resting the dough in the refrigerator to improve both flavor and texture—but it’s still eminently makeable (no mixer required!). The hardest part is letting the dough chill before baking.

Makes about 18 large cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter (8 oz / 227g), cut into tablespoons

2 tablespoons heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk (1 oz / 28g)

2 cups all-purpose flour (9.2 oz / 260g) ①

2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (0.22 oz / 6g)

1 teaspoon baking soda (0.21 oz / 6g)

¾ cup packed dark brown sugar (5.3 oz / 150g)

¾ cup granulated sugar (5.3 oz / 150g)

2 large eggs (3.5 oz / 100g), cold from the refrigerator

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

5 ounces (142g) bittersweet chocolate disks, half coarsely chopped

5 ounces (142g) milk chocolate disks, half coarsely chopped ②

Brown the butter: Measure out 4 ounces (113g) of the butter and set aside in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, cook the remaining 4 ounces (113g) butter over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter comes to a boil. Continue to cook, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the butter sputters, foams, and eventually you see browned bits floating about, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the browned butter to the bowl with the other butter, making sure you scrape in all the browned bits, then add the heavy cream (no need to stir). Set aside to cool. ③

Mix the dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda to combine. Set it aside.

Mix the batter: To the bowl with the browned butter mixture (it can be slightly warm, just make sure it’s not hot), add the brown and granulated sugars and whisk vigorously until the mixture is very smooth and thick, about 45 seconds (since we’re not going for a light and cakey cookie texture, you don’t need a mixture that’s light and fluffy).

Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until the mixture is satiny, about 45 seconds. Add the flour mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth and well combined. It will look a little loose—this is normal. Switch to a flexible spatula to scrape down the bowl, folding to make sure everything is well incorporated. Add both the chocolates (whole disks and chopped) and mix to combine. ④ Set the batter aside for 5 minutes to firm up slightly.

Scoop and chill the dough: Using a 2-ounce scoop or ¼-cup measure, scoop level portions of dough and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet as close together as possible (you’ll space them out before baking). Cover the sheet tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 48 (if you’re pressed for time, a couple of hours in the refrigerator will do—just note the baked cookies won’t be as chewy or wrinkly-looking). ⑤

Preheat the oven and prepare the pans: When you’re ready to bake, arrange two oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Bake the first batch of cookies: Place 6 pieces of chilled cookie dough on each of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them so they’re at least 3 inches apart. ⑥ Bake the cookies on the upper and lower racks until they are dark golden brown around the edges, 18 to 22 minutes, switching racks and rotating the sheets front to back after 12 minutes. Allow the cookies to rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Bake the remaining cookies: Carefully move one of the oven racks to the center position, place the remaining dough on one of the baking sheets (it’s okay if it’s still warm), and bake on the center rack (this last sheet might bake a bit faster than the first two).

The cookies, stored airtight at room temperature, will keep up to 5 days or can be frozen up to 1 month. The cookie dough can be portioned and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead or frozen up to 2 months. If freezing, allow the portioned dough to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before transferring the entire sheet to the freezer. Once the balls are frozen solid, pack the pieces into a resealable plastic freezer bag and store. Bake the cookies directly from the freezer without thawing first, but keep in mind you may need to add a minute or two to the bake time.

① If you like, substitute whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour. This will make the cookies a bit nuttier and more savory in flavor, but also slightly less chewy.

② You can add only one variety of chocolate rather than the mix of milk and dark, just note that doing so will change the balance of sweetness (all dark chocolate making it less sweet, all milk chocolate making it more). Seek out chocolate disks or féves, like the ones by Guittard or Valrhona, since they melt into wonderful gooey puddles inside the cookies. If you can’t find disks, opt for a block or bar of chocolate and coarsely chop all of it yourself. If possible, avoid chips, since they typically contain emulsifiers that prevent them from melting.

③ If you’re pressed for time, you can skip browning the butter, although I highly recommend this step for the deep butterscotchy flavor it adds. If skipping, omit the heavy cream entirely and gently melt both sticks of butter together in a saucepan. Let it cool before proceeding with the recipe as written.

④ You can also add 1 cup chopped toasted nuts (4.2 oz / 120g), such as walnuts, almonds, or pecans, to the batter along with the chocolate.

⑤ Always scoop the dough before chilling it, as a single mass of cold dough will be very firm and therefore difficult to portion. If you can’t avoid chilling the dough all together, wait for it to come to room temperature before scooping.

⑥ Sprinkle some flaky salt on top of the cookies prior to baking if you’re a salty dessert person. Even though the dough contains a whopping 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, it’s mainly there to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients; the baked cookies don’t taste noticeably salty.

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