Warm, soft, chewy-on-the-inside, crispy-around-the-edges homemade chocolate chip cookies fresh out the oven is a treat that cannot be beat! But too often, when they have cooled and sat at room temperature for a day or two, they tend to dry out and get crispy throughout. Having them STAY soft in the middle is not so easy. But I do believe I have figured it out. If you prefer your chocolate cookies to “snap” like a Chips Ahoy cookie, then this cookie is not for you. These Perfectly Chewy Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies are for the chewy cookie lover who craves that tender homemade texture (even two days later) AND the busy cook who LOVES a good Make-Ahead recipe!
Last year, I did some research in my quest to discover the perfect chocolate cookie and came across Tessa’s Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies and I fell in love with this food blogger. She does all these experiments (starting with control recipes – in this case, Tollhouse) and makes a bunch of changes (like trying different flours and more or less baking powder or baking soda and butter vs. margarine) and then notes all the results. You are supposed to analyze the results, compare that to how YOU like YOUR cookies and then make changes as needed (to the control recipe) to get the best cookie for you. She also does this with muffins, cakes, and other kinds of cookies … great stuff. Check out her out at Handle The Heat!
Later, my friend Chris from Joybilee Farm wrote an article called “10 Cookie Baking Secrets That Grandma Knew” and in it, I found numerous things that I did not know about baking the perfect cookie. This one is also a must read if you want to get your cookies just right. These tips apply to ALL cookie recipes, not just chocolate chip!
Anyway, using Tessa’s ultimate guide and Chris’ tips (and knowing how I like MY cookies), I adapted the old Tollhouse recipe (on the back of every bag of morsels) and came up with this. It took several tests of my own and I wanted to make sure the dough would freeze well for later baking (boy, does it!) so it took a while to perfect it, but here is how I think a chocolate chip cookie should be made.
Important Tips for Perfectly Chewy Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Use REAL butter … not margarine.
- Do NOT melt the butter! Soften it. Set it out the night before to get it to room temperature and then smush it real good before adding it to the bowl.
- You can use bread flour if that is all you have, but it will result in a crispier cookie. All purpose flour is best for the chewy cookie.
- Don’t grease the cookie sheets. The added oil can affect the texture of the bottom of the cookie and cause it to over bake while the tops are still not done. Instead, use parchment or baking paper.
- You CAN bake these off immediately if you want to, but they rise better and keep the chewy texture much longer if you freeze the dough for a few days before you bake them off. At the very least, freeze the dough for an hour or so.
- 2 1/4 C all purpose flour
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1 t salt
- 2 sticks (1 C) butter softened (do not use margarine & do not melt)
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1 C brown sugar (packed)
- 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 c chocolate chips (I prefer half milk chocolate & half semi-sweet, but that is up to you)
- Prepare cookie sheets with parchment or baking paper. Do not grease the cookie sheets!
- Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- Soften room temperature butter. I use a kraut pounder but a spoon will do.
- Whip butter, sugar, and brown sugar together well.
- Add eggs and vanilla and mix well until creamy & frothy and color begins to lighten a bit.
- Add the flour mixture (set aside earlier) a cup at a time and mix until well moistened & blended.
- Mix in the chocolate chips. Don't over mix.
- Scoop and drop 1 1/2" balls onto cookie sheets. Dip your fingers in water to prevent the dough from sticking to you.
- Place the cookie sheets in the freezer.
- After one hour, you can either bake now or bag up the dough balls for later baking.
- Preheat oven to 350*F.
- Remove dough balls from the freezer, return to the parchment covered cookie sheets (if necessary) about 2" apart. Place frozen dough immediately in the preheated oven.
- Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown around the edges and light brown in the middle. Do not over bake. Check at about 10 minutes and watch them closely. (See Chris's Tips above for details on how to know when a cookie is really done.)
- Let cool for a couple minutes then transfer to cooling racks.
- Stand guard with a wooden spoon handy to smack the hands of eager spouses and youngins.
- When completely cool, package in an airtight container or baggie.
Enjoy! Let me know how this worked for you!