How to make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. These are hands down the most perfect chocolate chip cookies! Tips for making the best homemade chewy chocolate chip cookies.
The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
This has been a recipe I have been tweaking for months and months! You know how seriously I take my cookie recipes. The cookie recipes I post need to be absolute perfection! If you have been following Modern Honey, you know how much I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. It has been my favorite thing to whip up in the kitchen since about 1979.
I am the biggest baking nerd you may ever meet. Since I was a little child, I wanted to study baking and understand the science behind it. I even asked for baking cookbooks for my birthdays! So I have studied and tested in my test kitchen everything there is to know about cookies!
Actually, the first recipe I ever posted was a famous chocolate chip cookie recipe that I worked for months to perfect. Years ago, I even won the Perfect Cookie Contest and filmed a show in Food Network Studios in New York City. I can't wait to share with you all of my top secrets to making the best chocolate chip cookies.
Since my Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies are the most popular cookie recipe on Modern Honey, I wanted to experiment with the recipe a little. Since Levain Bakery cookies are huge, I wanted to try making them smaller, reducing the baking temperature, adding vanilla, and reducing the flour amount. The result was the BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe EVER!
This chocolate chip cookie has a perfectly chewy center and crispy edges. You can make them in any size but I usually make them between 3-4 ounces.
I made the chocolate chip cookie dough and then experimented with different oven temperatures. I tried 385 degrees, 395 degrees, 400 degrees, 410 degrees, and even 425 degrees in a quest to find the ultimate baking temperature for these chocolate chip cookies. The winner was 400 degrees! It allowed the cookies to get those crispy edges while keeping the middle a perfect texture.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES:
Here are the tips and tricks for making the best homemade chocolate chip cookies!
1. CREAM BUTTER and SUGAR until light and fluffy.
When you cream the butter and sugar together, the sugar makes lots of air pockets that help to create a light and fluffy mixture. Softened butter is the perfect consistency to incorporate air when it is creamed with sugars. The formed air pockets result in a fluffy cookies with the perfect rise.
It will transform from a yellow, sandy mixture to an ivory, fluffy mixture. It helps to create a tender texture.
2. DON’T OVER MIX DRY INGREDIENTS.
You want to carefully fold in the dry ingredients to ensure you don’t overmix the cookie dough. This can lead to too much gluten formation and will create a tough texture.
3. CHECK OVEN TEMPERATURE.
Use an oven thermometer to check to see if the actual temperature inside the oven matches the reading on the outside. In a study, it showed that oven temperatures can vary up to 50 degrees from the baking temperature shown on the outside of the oven. You can have it checked by a professional and recalibrated.
Become familiar with potential hot spots in your oven. For example, if the back of the oven runs hotter than the front of the oven, the cookies in the back may become browner faster than the ones in the front. Oven temperatures may vary up to ten degrees in different parts of the oven. I suggest rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking time to ensure even baking.
Make sure to preheat the oven before baking cookies. It usually takes about 8-10 minutes to preheat an oven so plan accordingly. Also, make sure to rotate your baking pan halfway through baking time to ensure even baking and to avoid hot spots in the oven for too long.
4. MEASURE INGREDIENTS CORRECTLY.
Use the Dip and Sweep method for measuring the flour in a recipe. Do not tap the measuring cup filled with flour on the counter or press the flour into the cup as it settles the flour and you risk adding too much to the recipe.
The dip and sweep method is done by dipping your measuring cup into the flour and lightly taking a knife and running it along the measuring cup to make it even. The most important tip is to NOT press down or compress the flour. This will result in too much flour. If you have a kitchen scale, it is the most accurate way to measure flour. Scroll down below to find a conversion table of cups to grams.
5. Use Thick, Light-Colored Baking Sheets.
I suggest using a heavy-gauge aluminum pan. If you use a dark-colored baking sheet, the heat from the oven is attracted to the dark color and the bottoms of the cookies will cook faster and may become too brown and burn before the center of the cookie is baked through.
A heavy, thick baking sheet will conduct heat differently than a thin baking sheet. If you don’t have a thick baking sheet, a tip would be to use two thin baking sheets together so you end up with a thicker baking sheet.
Space the cookies apart. The cookie dough should be placed at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. There are two main reasons for spreading out the cookie dough. The number one reason is to avoid spreading. The second reason is to allow the heat to circulate around the cookies to ensure those golden, crispy edges.
6. MAKE YOUR COOKIES LOOK GOURMET.
If you want to up your cookie game, I suggest a few things to make your cookies look extra bakery-worthy and gourmet. After you roll the cookies, press some extra chocolate chips or chunks on the top of the cookie so as it spreads there are chocolate chips right on the top. You can also add a few more just as soon as you take the cookies out of the oven.
Another cookie-baking tip is to take an aluminum metal spatula and as soon as you take the cookie sheet out of the oven, start to shape the cookies with the spatula by pressing in any irregular edges into the center of the cookie so it is completely circular. You can also use a cup to do this by circling the cup around the cookie so it creates a complete circle. Then your cookies will look absolutely perfect!
7. DON’T OVERBAKE COOKIES.
This is one of the most common issues in baking. The rule of thumb in baking is that it is better to underbake and cookie rather than overbake a cookie. An ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie is better than a burnt, hard as a rock cookie! The cookies will continue to bake on the hot cookie sheet once you remove the cookies from the oven.
Once you remove the cookies from the oven, let them firm up on the cookie sheet for at least five minutes. As soon as the cookies are firm enough to transfer, move them to a grid wire cooling rack. A cooling rack is important when baking cookies as it allows air to circulate and allows the cookies to keep a perfectly crisp exterior and chewy center.
8. CHILL YOUR COOKIE DOUGH.
Why is chilling your chocolate chip cookie dough so important? The flavors meld together, the dry ingredients absorb the butter and sugar, and the cookies become richer and more decadent. So if time is on your side, chill the dough for at least 24 hours!
Chilling the dough for at least 24 hours helps the ingredients to incorporate. The gluten which is developed by mixing the dough, is relaxed while the dough rests, which creates a more tender cookie. The moisture in the dough is absorbed by the dry ingredients, which helps to dissolve the sugar, and causes extra caramelization. The chocolate chip cookies become richer and more decadent. You end up with a chocolate chip cookie with rich toffee notes, a chewier texture in the center, and buttery, crispy edges.
If you've read my posts about chilling cookie dough, you will find that I believe it is a pretty important step. When you chill cookie dough, something pretty spectacular happens and it just gets better with time. The flavors meld together, the dry ingredients absorb the butter and sugar, and the cookies become richer and more decadent. So if time is on your side, chill the dough for at least 24 hours!
When cookie dough is chilled for 24 hours, it can dry out the cookie dough so I suggest letting the cookie dough come to room temperature to make it easier to scoop.
Ingredients to make Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Here is the science behind each baking ingredient.
Butter — most bakers will tell you to use unsalted butter only. It is preferable to use unsalted butter in baking because the butter is usually fresher, since salt is used as a preservative, and you can control the amount of salt in the cookies.
However, many bakers have salted butter on hand. If you use salted butter, I suggest reducing the salt to ¼ teaspoon.
Granulated White Sugar — most recipes will just call for your regular granulated sugar. If you want a creamier, silky smooth butter-sugar mixture, I suggest using superfine sugar. You can buy it online or you can make your own by pulsing regular granulated sugar in a food processor for 10 seconds.
Brown Sugar — I generally use light brown sugar in my chocolate chip cookie recipes, unless I specify in the recipe to use dark. Make sure to pack down the brown sugar in the measuring cup for accurate measurement.
Eggs — always use large eggs only. If you can, bring it to room temperature. I do this by holding them under a stream of warm/hot water for about 30 seconds.
Vanilla — I suggest using pure vanilla extract and not imitation vanilla flavoring. A good, high-quality vanilla can make a difference in the flavor of baked goods. My go-to vanilla is Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract, Mexican Vanilla, or Vanilla Bean Paste.
Flour — most cookie recipes use all-purpose flour, unless specified. In some recipes such as, my Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies, I use a mixture of all-purpose and cake flours. Scroll down to find out the different flours and their gluten content, which influences the texture and crumb.
Baking Soda — a leavening agent that provides lift to baked goods. When baking soda is mixed with an acidic ingredient (such as brown sugar, buttermilk, sour cream, etc), oxygen and carbon combine to form carbon dioxide, These tiny bubbles are what lift the dough and gives baked goods the loft we are looking for. It also promotes browning.
Baking Powder — double-acting baking powder contains baking soda and two acid ingredients, which are activated by liquid and heat.
You will see baking powder used in many recipes that don’t call for brown sugar because the recipe doesn’t have the acid to help form the carbon dioxide.
Cornstarch — this is also known as “corn flour” in the UK. I love to use cornstarch in cookies to give them a soft texture and it helps to keep them staying fresh longer. It thickens the cookies without giving them a cakey texture.
Salt - is an integral ingredient in cookies. It gives the cookies flavor and balances out the sweetness. It makes a huge difference in chocolate chip cookies.
Chocolate Chips - most recipes call for semi-sweet chocolate chips but you can do a mix of milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
What Chocolate should go in Chocolate Chip Cookies?
Choosing the type of chocolate for your chocolate chip cookies will come down to personal preference.
The most popular type of chocolate used in chocolate chip cookies is semi-sweet chocolate. The second most popular type of chocolate would be milk chocolate.
My personal favorite brands of chocolate to use in my chocolate chip cookies are Guittard, Ghirardelli, and Trader Joe’s.
I prefer the Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips for their rich, creamy flavor and the Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. Trader Joe’s chocolate chips are slightly larger in size and have a decadent chocolate flavor. You can use their Pound Plus Chocolate Bars to cut into chocolate chunks for the cookies.
How to make Chocolate Chip Cookies step by step:
- Start by preheating your oven. I would suggest checking your oven temperature with an oven temperature to ensure even baking.
- Cream together softened butter, brown sugar, and sugar for about 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. This is an important step as the butter wraps around the sugar crystals and helps to create a smooth cookie texture. It also creates air in the cookie dough which gives the cookies the perfect rise.
- Add eggs and pure vanilla extract and mix for 1 minute longer, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through mixing.
- Fold in flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. You don't want to overmix once you add the dry ingredients, as it will create too much gluten in the cookie dough. Too much gluten will create tough cookies.
- Fold in chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. Chocolate chips are made to hold their shape while baking. If you want to have some melted chocolate in your chocolate chip cookies, I suggest using chopped chocolate bars.
- Scoop the cookie dough onto parchment paper-lined light-colored baking sheets. Bake at high heat until the cookies look barely done. The biggest tip would be to NOT OVERBAKE your cookies! The cookies will continue to bake on the cookie sheet once they are removed from the oven.
- Let set up on a baking sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
COOKIE BAKING Q & A:
My cookies are coming out too flat and run together. What am I doing wrong?
There can be a few areas to troubleshoot to figure out why your cookies are coming out flat.
- There may not be enough flour in the cookie dough. Make sure to measure the flour correctly. Use the dip and sweet method. The dip and sweep method is done by dipping your measuring cup into the flour and lightly taking a knife and running it along the measuring cup to make it even. The most important tip is to NOT press down or compress the flour. This will result in too much flour. If you have a kitchen scale, it is the most accurate way to measure flour. If your ratios fo butter, sugar, and flour are off, the cookies may spread too quickly.
- The butter may be too soft. Many cookie recipes call for "softened" butter, which can be a confusing term. How soft? The butter should be left out at room temperature for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Sometimes we don't have time to wait! I suggest placing the butter in the microwave for about 7-8 seconds. You should be able to leave a slight indent in the butter with your finger.
- You are baking on hot baking sheets. It is important to not bake cookies on hot baking sheets or it will make the butter melt, which will result in the dough spreading too much when baked. If you are baking multiple batches, wash your baking sheet in cool water or place ice on the baking sheet to cool it down.
- The dough temperature may be too hot. If the kitchen is too warm, the dough may in turn become too warm and spread too easily. A tip would be to chill the dough ahead of time which will help with spreading.
- Cookies may be placed too close together. Space the cookies at least two-inches apart as it allows the air to properly circulate around the cookies and evenly bake the cookies. If your cookies run together after baking, take a small spatula to separate them and shape each one into a circle.
Why are my cookies burning or becoming too brown? What can I do?
- You may be baking your cookies for too long. The rule of thumb in baking is that it is better to underbake and cookie rather than overbake a cookie. The cookies will continue to bake on the hot cookie sheet once you remove the cookies from the oven. It is better to pull the cookies out of the oven before they look completely baked.
- Make sure you are using a heavy, light-colored baking sheet. The thin, dark baking sheets will attract too much heat and the cookies will burn on the bottom before they are fully baked in the center. I suggest using light-colored baking sheets for even baking.
- Check your oven temperature (read more details above about the importance of checking your oven temperature in baking). Your oven may be running too hot which is burning your cookies. Also, make sure to rotate your baking pan halfway through baking time to ensure even baking and to avoid hot spots in the oven for too long.
Why are my cookies too hard?
There could be several reasons your cookies are turning out hard. I would suggest using an oven thermometer to check the temperature inside the oven and see if it matches the temperature reading on the outside. You can have it checked by a professional and have your oven recalibrated.
Cookies could be coming out hard because you are overbaking them. I also veer on the side of underbaking cookies rather than overbaking cookies!
Hard cookies could be a result of using a dark-colored baking sheet which is attracting too much heat to the bottoms of the cookies.
How do I know when a baked good is done baking?
Since oven temperatures can vary, the baking time listed in a recipe is only a guide. Check the cookies 2-3 minutes before the listed baking time, to check for doneness.
Why is it important to transfer cookies to a cooling rack?
As soon as the cookies are firm enough to transfer, transfer them to a grid wire cooling rack. This allows air to circulate and allows the cookies to keep a perfectly crisp exterior and chewy center and keeps the cookies from turning soggy.
How to make soft chocolate chip cookies:
The best tip for making soft chocolate chip cookies is to make sure to not overbake your cookies. If you want soft cookies, I suggest setting the timer for 1-2 minutes less than the suggested baking time so you can check the cookies.
If you want extra soft cookies, check the ratio of sugars in your chocolate chip cookie recipe. If you use more brown sugar than granulated sugar, it creates a chewier cookie.
Cornstarch helps to create soft cookies. Why does cornstarch create softer cookies? Cornstarch binds with the butter and eggs in your cookie dough, so this makes your cookies spread less. It will also helps to create a tender texture. Cornstarch will also help prevent the cookies from spreading too much, making them thick yet keeping the center soft and chewy. Also, cornstarch helps to keep the cookies softer for a longer time.
Baking cookies quickly in a hot oven as opposed to a lower temperature will make for soft chocolate chip cookie results. The cookies will bake fast instead of drying out in the oven.
What makes a cookie moist and chewy?
To make a chewy chocolate chip cookie, you have to have the correct ratio of butter, brown sugar, sugar, and flour. Brown sugar has molasses in it and helps to create a chewy texture. If you want a chewier cookie, I suggest using more brown sugar than sugar.
If you put too much flour in your cookie dough, you may end up with a cakey cookie.
How to store chocolate chip cookies:
Keep the cookies in an airtight container to keep fresh. The cornstarch in the cookies will help to keep them softer for a longer time. These cookies can be frozen and placed in freezer bags until ready to eat.
The Best Baking Tools:
Light-Colored Baking Sheets — light-colored, heavy-gauge aluminum half-sheet pan measuring 18 x 13 inches. I suggest USA Pans or Nordicware.
Parchment Paper Sheets — prevents cookies from sticking to the pan and can be thrown away afterwards for easy clean up.
Kitchenaid Mixer — allows you to do other tasks while it creams and mixes the ingredients together. It combines the ingredients more thoroughly and evenly than by hand.
Rubber Spatulas -- a staple in the kitchen. This rubber spatula is perfect for scraping the sides of the bowl, especially when creaming the butter and sugars together, to ensure the ingredients are fully mixed.
Baking Bar Spatula — this is a smaller metal spatula, perfect for shaping cookies after being removed from the oven or removing cookies or dessert bars from the pan.
Measuring Cups and Spoons - you want to invent in a quality set of measuring cups and spoons.
Large Cookie Scoop — a cookie scoop is perfect to use to make uniform looking, rounded cookies.
Wire Cooling Rack — a gridded wire rack allows air to circulate around the cookies which keeps them from getting soggy.
Kitchen Scale — for accurate measurements in baking. Find the cups to grams conversion table down below.
If you love chocolate chip cookies, here are some of the most popular recipes:
- Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies
- MJ's Top Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Charmina's Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
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I hope you love these perfect homemade soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies! Thank you for following along!
How many cups are in a 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips?
One 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips equals two cups of chocolate chips.
6 ounces of chocolate chips equals 1 cup of chocolate chips.
Chocolate is made up of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, milk, sugar, vanilla, and sometimes lecithin.
The percentage listed on the chocolate gives you the proportion of cocoa solids that is in the chocolate, which will indicate the intensity of the chocolate flavor.
Milk Chocolate — about 35% cocoa solids
Semi-Sweet Chocolate — about 51-65%
Dark or Bittersweet Chocolate — about 68-72%
What is the white coating found on chocolate chips?
The whitish film that you sometimes find on chocolate chips is referred to as chocolate “bloom” and it results from the chocolate chips being stored at too high of a temperature. It can also show that the chocolate isn’t as fresh.
The chocolate bloom doesn’t affect the taste of the chocolate chips.
When baked, the chocolate chip color and flavor returns.
What type of flour should I use in cookies?
Here’s a rule of thumb: the more protein a flour has, the greater the ability to form gluten.
All-Purpose Flour — has a medium protein content. The gluten percentage can range from 9-12%. This is a universally popular one because it is in between cake flour and bread flour. It is the most versatile flour to use in baked goods. Check different brands to verify their protein content.
According to Cook’s Illustrated, Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour has a 10.5% protein and King Arthur has a 11.7%. The lowest protein content is the White Lily All-Purpose Flour which has a range of 7-8.5%.
Cake Flour — has a low protein content. The gluten percentage can range from 7-9% depending on the brand of cake flour used. A low protein content means it doesn’t have a lot of gluten. It is made from a soft wheat and is generally more finely milled than all-purpose flour. This means that it creates a finer, more delicate crumb and is best used in cakes, cookies, etc.
Bread Flour — this is the highest protein flour available with a protein content of 12-14%. It easily develops gluten which gives bread that coveted chewy texture.
How to make the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies:
- Start with cold butter, cut into cubes. If you want thicker cookies and less spreading, use cold cubed butter. You can also take the butter out of the refrigerator, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and put it in the microwave for about 5-8 seconds. It needs to be firm enough to cut into cubes but just soft enough to mix well with the sugars.
- Cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar for 4 minutes until light and fluffy. This helps to create a creamy texture and to wrap the butter around the sugar. It also whips air into the cookie dough which gives the cookies some extra rise.
- Add eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy.
- A secret leavening ingredient is to use BOTH cornstarch and baking soda. The cornstarch gives the cookies such a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. It's one of my favorite ingredients to add to cookies!
- Bring on the chocolate chips. I love to make my cookies extra chocolatey so I add some extra chocolate chips. Use your favorite type of chocolate chips -- semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or a mix of both. I also love to chop up a high-quality chocolate bar since it melts so beautifully. My favorite chocolate chips brands are Guittard and Ghirardelli.
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