The Art of the Chocolate Chip Cookie

May 27, 2010

Sometimes I wish all of the world's ills could be solved with a cookie. If patience could be as virtuously attained as it is gazing into the oven door for the perfectly puffed round of dough. If happiness were as guaranteed as a sprinkling of semi-sweet chips. If security was as sure as a treasured family recipe. If wealth meant having butter, sugar, flour, and eggs on hand at all times. If we could build a few lasting friendships by sharing bites of gooey, warm from the oven chocolate chip cookies, toasting to good health with an ice cold glass of milk.

Surely there's magic in a cookie. Old fashioned sugar, chewy chocolate chip, salty peanut butter, chunky oatmeal name it. Each with their own sugary nostalgia.

What I love about these decadent disks is their heritage. The tried and true quality of recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Not Toll House, not Pillsbury, not even Chips Ahoy. I'm referring to the recipes we use that mean something, the hand written ones with tattered edges, smudges of greasy fingerprints, the directions for your most beloved dozen.

What are the steps to creating the perfect cookie? It may vary with type and personal preference, but over the years I think I've learned a few secrets about my favorite of the cookie jar assortment: the chocolate chip cookie. And let's be honest, who doesn't love a rich, brown sugary, unfailingly chewy cookie studded with morsels of semisweet chocolate? Well... after much research, a few choice curse words, a sink full of dishes, and a few deliciously earned pounds on my thighs, I think I'm ready to share these secrets with you:

Tips for baking the perfect, the absolute chewiest chocolate chip cookie:

  1. Melting the butter makes the dough taste utterly deep and rich, almost like toffee, and ensures a chewy texture.
  2. Using mostly brown sugar. Since brown sugar has molasses added to it, it is already much moister than white sugar and will not only lend that wetness to a perfectly tender cookie, but it will impart a more caramelized flavor.
  3. Making large cookies. If you bake little, teeny-tiny mounds, the cookie will not have enough area to differentiate between the crisped edges and the soft, gooey center. You need at least a 2-3" diameter to fully delight in the texture of a truly chewy cookie.
  4. Baking at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. I've found that 325° allows the cookies to bake up slowly- making sure that they cook evenly and you don't end up with an overly crisped edge and underbaked interior.
  5. The final secret: Letting the dough rest in the fridge for up to 48 hours before baking the cookies. This, my friends, makes all the difference in the world. This takes a chewy cookie to the chewiest cookie. The difference between better and best.

What are your tips for the best chocolate chip cookie? Do you prefer chewy or crunchy?

-Andrea Mitchell, Foodista Intern and Blogger at



LKP's picture

Oh my God.. I am going home and making these. THESE. I must have them.

Donald Jonathan Winslow's picture

I am a frequent lurker but felt compelled to comment on this post. Your writing is among the best I have ever seen on a food blog. You describe things with such precision and flare, it is truly a joy to read. I will be sure to seek out your posts in the future.

Pad See Ew Just For You | Recipes for Everyone's picture

[...] The Art of the Chocolate Chip Cookie [...]

Michelle's picture

Is there a recipe to go with these amazing looking biscuits?

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday's picture

#6 Never use baking powder. Baking powder will make the batter rise and a cookie should never taste cakey.

Eating My Way Through Iceland | Recipes for Everyone's picture

[...] The Art of the Chocolate Chip Cookie [...]