My Go-To Chocolate Chip Cookies
This week on From My Kitchen Friday (check my Instagram stories and highlights!), we went back to basics with my formula for chocolate chip cookies that’s pretty much my Forever Recipe for this particular cookie. I may try other recipes from time to time, but if there’s a recipe that should be hashtagged #shaunacookies, this would be it, is what I’m saying.
If you’ve been around the blog for any number of years, you may recognize this gem—I’ve given it a refresh here and am reposting it, AND I love it so much that I’ve included it in my new book, Midwest Made. (Have you pre-ordered your copy yet?)
In addition to the usual suspects when it comes to ingredients in these cookies, in the video I mentioned swapping out the regular dark brown sugar for light muscovado and really bumping up the amount of vanilla you use. I also used two large eggs, which is standard. Sometimes, if I want a chewier/fudgier-textured cookie, I use one large egg, and two egg yolks. So I’m giving you that option here.
Another thing to try that I didn’t mention in the video (I’m hoping more brain cells return once my kids go back to school? MEH) is changing up your butter for spectacular results. Instead of using regular old unsalted butter, consider using a European-style butter with more butterfat, something like a Plugra or Kerrygold. It does make a noticeable difference in the depth of buttery flavor.
It’s a super easy upgrade that makes a world of difference in the crave-worthy factor of desserts, without throwing the recipe off. As we're hurtling towards high baking season, this tip is a good one to keep filed away in your brain folder. And I'd say this chocolate chip cookie recipe is a good place to start.
My Go-To Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Note that I beat the vanilla extract in at the beginning, with the butter and sugars--I find that beating the flavoring in with the fat in the recipe helps the vanilla to really permeate the batter, bloom while baking, and because the fat sort of helps to encapsulate the flavor, it tends to bake off less in the oven.
I usually make a full batch of dough, bake one or two sheets' worth, and then scoop out the rest of the dough onto a baking sheet, freeze the dough balls until firm and then throw them into a large ziptop bag. Bake the cookies from their frozen state just a couple minutes longer than usual.
If you're a crisp-edged cookie person, lean towards the longer baking time and an evenly golden look to the cookies. If you like a softer/chewier cookie, pull them earlier, when they're still very soft and somewhat pale towards the centers. However, I find that the European-style butter makes these cookies fabulously tender no matter what end of the baking time spectrum you aim for, so if you like crisp cookies, then just go for the regular butter. Also, European-style butter tends to leave these cookies just a touch pale (though not unappetizingly so--just something to keep in mind when you're checking for doneness).
3 cups/384 g unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup/226 g European-style or regular unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup/224 g firmly packed light muscovado or dark brown sugar
1 cup/200 g granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs OR 1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks, at room temperature (see note)
2 cups/340 g bittersweet chocolate chips, plus a little more (60% cacao is my preference)
Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, muscovado or brown and granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the whole eggs OR egg plus egg yolks, 1 at a time. On low speed, stir in the dry ingredients, then the chocolate chips.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, portion the dough into balls. Wrap the sheet tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days ahead.
Position oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 350°F/180°C. Line two 17 x 12-inch/43 x 30 cm baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place 8 to 12 dough balls on each sheet, evenly spaced. Bake until golden brown at the edges and slightly soft in the centers, 12 to 13 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets (just a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack if you like crisp edges, or let them cool completely on the sheets for softer/chewier cookies).
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.