There’s something comforting about homemade chocolate chip cookies. They are some of the easiest things to bake, yet so reminiscent of home, family and general good times. My mom always made the best ones, of course. I’m betting your mom did, too. That’s just the way it is. Every family, if you indeed like the things, has their own recipe that they love above all others.
So I of course had to set out to find the recipe that would be my immediate family’s reigning cookie supreme. I’ve tried making my mom’s recipe, which she got from her mother-in-law, a time or two, but – you guessed it – they’re never quite right. When I got my KitchenAid stand mixer, it came with a small cookbook and the first one I tried was the chocolate chip cookies. You know, they were OK. Nowhere near as good as my mom’s, though. We know baking can be a finicky thing, though, so I kept at it, never satisfied because sometimes the cookies would be chewy when first coming out of the oven, but quickly get harder as they cooled. Or they would be chewy for a little while, but, again, get harder less than a day old. I don’t much care for crispy cookies unless it’s a certain kind, and chocolate chip ain’t it.
After a couple of years of making these, and playing with the ingredients a little at a time, I found the right combination that made me feel as if, finally, I’d found my family’s comfort cookie. This has convinced me that chocolate chip cookie recipes are merely guides as opposed to stone-set, and hopefully if you haven’t found your family’s comfort recipe yet, this one might help get you started on your road to experimentation.
Ahh, say hello to the stars of today’s show. Aren’t they purty? The milk ones are so light compared to the semi-sweet that they almost look like butterscotch. I started using this combo because semi-sweet chips only began tasting a little bland, while milk only tasted way too sweet. Together, they’re just right.
The basic building blocks: Sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla.
*whiiiiiiirrrrrrrrr!* This is what’s called “creaming” the above ingredients. Although it’s not so much creamy as it is grainy thanks to the white sugar. I dunno what to tell you there, but it gets better.
Now it’s time for some dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and salt, three things this cookie cannot live without.
After you’ve mixed the dry goods in, this is what you get. A very thick, wonderful cookie dough. At this point it’s getting hard for you to keep little hands out of the bowl.
Hands like these!
Once you’ve extracted the kid’s hands from the bowl, add in those gorgeous chocolate chips with their cutsie curly-q tops.
If you thought it was hard keeping little hands off this stuff before, buddy, you just didn’t know how hard it could be till now. Heck, it’s hard for me to resist it at this point. Yeah, we’re all a bit cookie-dough-monster around here.
One thing I like about my adjustments to this recipe – which were to add a little more salt, vanilla and a whole extra cup of flour, is that you can go ahead and make the balls and bake. Before, with the original recipe, I needed to chill the dough before it was firm enough to roll into balls. What can I say, I must roll them into balls as opposed to the messier drop method. Maybe one day I’ll really let my hair down and do the drop method.
Pretty soon, this is what you’ll be giving your very happy family. Chewy, salty sweet goodness that never gets old.
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from KitchenAid’s stand mixer cookbook (which came with my mixer)
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10-12 minutes Level: Easy Makes: About 60 cookies
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened (I’ve always used Land ‘o Lakes margarine)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces milk chocolate chips
I truly believe one of the reasons these cookies turn out so well is because the directions are tailored to KitchenAid’s stand mixers. I admit I haven’t tried this recipe by hand or with a hand mixer, but others have and I’m betting you can still get a good cookie by mixing this stuff by hand.
Stand Mixer Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 or 375 degrees.¹
Place sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla in mixer bowl. Attach flat beater to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape bowl with spatula. Turn to speed four and beat about 30 seconds more. Stop and scrape bowl with spatula.
Turn to Stir Speed. Gradually add in baking soda, salt and flour to sugar mixture and mix about 2 minutes. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds more. Stop mixer, scrape bowl again. Add in chocolate chips and mix on Stir Speed for 15 seconds.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets, or roll into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges of the cookie have just started to turn golden brown. Leave on baking sheet for about a minute after removing from oven, then put them on wire cooling racks.
Preheat oven to 350 or 375 degrees.¹
Mix together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla with a whisk or hand mixer until creamy. Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt, the gradually add them into the sugar mixture with a spoon or spatula, about a cup of flour mixture at a time, until it’s all incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips. Either drop rounded spoonfuls or roll dough into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets two inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges of the cookie have just started to turn golden brown. Leave on baking sheet for about a minute after removing from oven, then put them on wire cooling racks.
1. Ovens are another finicky part of baking, and they tend to vary on what temperatures work best. The original recipe called for 375 degrees, but after several cookie batches, I discovered that 350 degrees works better for my oven and cookie partnership. You will unfortunately, likely, have to experiment with your oven temperatures to find the right one.
Sometimes I don’t want a whole 12 ounces of chocolate chips, for whatever weird reason. Add less or more, to your taste. You can also add nuts if you’d like, such as pecans or walnuts.
ETA: Forgot to add (I knew I was forgetting something)! You don’t have to bake all the cookie dough right away. I usually make a dozen or so at a time as the family wants them and keep the rest of the dough in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. You can also, if you’re as enterprising as my mother was, roll individual balls of dough out, place on a cookie sheet and freeze them to save them as well. When finished freezing, just place them in a freezer-safe bag or container and bake whenever you need them. You might have to bake them slightly longer than 10-12 minutes. Just be sure to keep an eye on them. You do not need to thaw them prior to baking.
I store cookies we don’t finish in a regular zip-lock style plastic gallon storage bag. This has worked best for me over the years in keeping the cookies as chewy and fresh-tasting as possible, for up to a day after baking. Be sure to squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can before sealing it shut.