Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

reprinted from the Williams-Sonoma Taste Blog

makes 45 cookies

Music Pairing: Starting a New Life by Van Morrison

(do yourself a favor—close your eyes, listen to the music, and don’t watch the cheesy video)

I found it so interesting to read the comments on the original recipe posted on WS’ blog. They were pretty split with half the people saying they were indeed perfect, and the others saying the recipe was a fail. The complaints were about flat cookies, mainly, but some complained about too many chocolate chips, too. I was skeptical about the quality of chips—it’s a lot, and I don’t generally care for an overly chocolatey chocolate chip cookies (crazy, I know). And yet, I think the ratio is perfect! Obviously, if you want less, then use less. Since Virginia doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies, I sometimes leave them out all together, and it makes for an awesome chewy vanilla cookie. Also, I found mini chocolate chips to be better if using the smaller cookie scoop (see note below).

As for being flat, the cookies will look a little puffy when they come out of the oven, then settle down into about 1/8-inch thickness. That’s one of the qualities I loved most about this recipe—not too thick, not too thin. Without seeing photos of the “flat” complaints, it’s hard to know exactly why people had this problem. It could’ve been that their butter was too soft, or that the baking soda had gone bad. The latter usually has a long shelf-life, but if you’re unsure about your’s, mix a little with vinegar to test it out. If it fizzes, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, toss it and buy a fresh box.

Lastly, I modified the technique in the recipe. You can skip sift the dry ingredients separately. I just add them to the bowl as listed in the directions below. I’ve also made this recipe using my hand mixer, and on other occasions simply using a fork to cream the butter and sugars and then a hand whisk to beat in the eggs and vanilla. Both methods yielded the same results.

1 1/4 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt

1 stick (112 g) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (105 g) firmly packed light brown sugar

6 tablespoons (90 g) granulated natural cane sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups (470 g) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper (if you only have two sheets, just re-use the sheet from the first batch you bake; no need to change the paper).

Add the butter and sugars to a deep bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat until well-blended. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix  just until incorporated, and there are no visible signs of flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough (see note below) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the dough mounds 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Bake, one sheet at a time (important for cookies to cook evenly!), until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned and the tops look set, 10-12 minutes (I opt for less time for a super chewy cookie). Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.