Our recipe for chocolate chip cookies comes with a bit of history, a Cookie Monster / Tom Waits mashup, and our usual nerdy tips for the tastiest cookies.
Cookies! Who DOESN’T love them? The churlish people, that’s who, you know the ones I mean. Those sour, pinch-lipped joykills with hearts of black, black stone. People who, for whatever reason, just don’t have a sweet tooth. People whose doctors have advised them to maintain a cookie-free lifestyle. People with gluten intolerance. Er. Look, I’ll come in again.
Cookies! Who DOES love them?
While you’re enjoying that, have a little bit of history of chocolate chip cookies. No extra charge.
It’s not always possible to identify the exact time and place a recipe was invented, or with whom it originated, but with the chocolate chip cookie, we can. Not only do we know exactly who invented it, when, and where, but we also know that, somewhat bizarrely, it was invented before the chocolate chip.
In 1938 Ruth Wakefield, proprietor of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, MA, made a small change in the recipe for her butterscotch cookies, substituting a chopped-up chocolate bar. And that’s how chocolate chip cookies were born. It became so popular and renowned that Nestlé not only permanently added the name of her restaurant to their baking chocolate bars, but also began to sell packets of ready-made chips specifically to be added to this recipe.
Sadly, the inn burned down in 1985, and now the Toll House sign at the Inn’s original location only welcomes you to a Walgreen’s parking lot.
This recipe, as with any chocolate chip cookie recipe, is by definition an adaptation of the Toll House original, though it combines a few modern techniques developed by master cookie bakers David Lebovitz and Jacques Torres, (thus legally granting it the title of “Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie”, also acceptable is the term “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever OMG”).
Here are the two things that turn an ordinary (though delicious) cookie into an ultimate cookie.
1. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 24 – 36 hours before baking. I know it’s difficult, almost sacrilegious, to allow delicious cookie dough to sit, unbaked, in the refrigerator for that length of time but I promise you, you will be rewarded with a deep, rich, almost toffee-like flavor.
2. Sprinkle a little bit of flakey sea salt (preferably Maldon) on top, right when they come out of the oven. This sweet/salty combination truly takes this cookie to the next level.
- We made a double batch (half bittersweet, half white chocolate). To do this, just split the dough in half and add chips and nuts to each separately. Be careful of over mixing which can make your cookies tough.
- Once the dough is chilled and rested for 24-36 hours, you can either bake them right away or freeze the logs and bake them at your convenience.
- For chewy cookies, take them out of the oven when they are just barely brown. For crispier cookies, let them brown a bit longer. I like them right in the middle. Crisp born edges, soft, chewy middle.
- 2½ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup (8 ounces/225 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (215 g) packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups (about 225 g) pecans, toasted and chopped
- 16 ounces (450 g) bittersweet or white chocolate chips
- Maldon Salt for sprinkling on top
- In a bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt
- In a separate bowl beat together butter, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition until incorporated. Slowly mix in flour mixture until incorporated (do not over mix!). Finally, stir in chocolate and nuts.
- Divide the dough into quarters. Roll each dough into a log about 9" long and wrap in plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours.
- When ready to bake, adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- Slice the logs into ¾ inch disks and place them at least 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Transfer to oven and bake until golden brown around edges but still soft, 10-12 minutes, rotating pans back to front and top and bottom half way through baking.
- Remove baking sheets from oven. While cookies are still hot, sprinkle very lightly with Maldon salt and gently press down to embed. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Baked cookies will store in an airtight container for 4 days. Unbaked dough can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to a month.