Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies are exactly what the name says. Tried. And True. Chocolate Chip cookies that turn out a little crispy, gooey in the middle, perfect every time. The last recipe for classic chocolate chip cookies you will ever need!
Is there anything better after a long day at school than a melt-in-your-mouth Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookie? I’ve made lots of chocolate chip cookies in my life, and I’m here to tell you this is the one. That recipe you’ll be known for. The chocolate chip cookie recipe you’ll make over and over and over again.
If you’ve ever made chocolate chip cookies, you’ve probably had a baking failure. Am I right?
Today, we are going to solve that problem. Once and for all.
NO MORE CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKE COOKIES
Why Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies?
In 2009, after months of testing methods and ingredient combinations for baking chocolate chip cookies, I came up with a recipe that works. Every. Single. Time. Since then, I’ve continued to update, simplify and improve this recipe for Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies. I think it is finally in the perfected stage! This recipe is a one bowl, 20 minute (start to finish) success.
History of Tried and True Cookies
Back when my son Stephen was in high school, he and his friend Spence took cookies to friends each Sunday night. They would try to seek out friends who were sick, or needed a little lift at the time. Spencer’s mom, Erin was one of my closest friends. We took turns baking cookies for the boys to share each Sunday.
At the time, I felt like I was constantly on the search for a chocolate chip cookie that was “the one”. A chocolate chip cookie that I could make quickly, without refrigeration and that would turn out perfectly every single time! I was tired of baking cookies that turned out fluffy one time and flat as a pancake the next. I was determined. After too many batches to count, this recipe for Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookie was born.
A few helpful hints (also listed in recipe notes) explained…little things make a difference!
A few questions I’m asked over and over again about this recipe are about the butter, how long to mix, the scoop, why did my cookies turn out flat? Most of the questions are answered in the recipe notes, but I’ll address a few here as well!
Butter– I use unsalted butter. Straight out of the fridge. Meaning it is not room temperature. If you’d like to take it out before using, I’d give it about 30 minutes on a countertop. I take it straight out of my small fridge, which is kept at 35-36 degrees. The butter is very cold. I place it in the microwave and let it warm up for 18-22 seconds. When I add the butter to the bowl, I cut the butter into tablespoon size pieces so it breaks up more efficiently. This is a key part of the recipe success!
How long to mix the butter and sugars together? This is also key to success. Don’t ever turn the mixer to a high speed. The higher speeds will whip air into your batter and the cookie will be more cake like than chewy. Keep the speed on low to medium speed.
The scoop! I use a #16 scoop which measures about 2 1/4 inches across. It is 3.4 tablespoons. I love this size cookie because it is substantial, without being too large. When I make smaller cookies with this recipe, I always refrigerate the dough first. The smaller sizes don’t hold their shape quite as well, so refrigeration is key when shaping into a smaller cookie. Refrigeration of the dough is NOT needed when making a cookie using a #16 scoop.
The question I am no doubt asked most often is “Why did my cookies turn out flat?” A few of the most often made mistakes are:
- Butter that is too soft. If the butter is too soft to begin with, the batter will naturally spread. Also always make sure to use butter. Margarine won’t work. It will produce flat cookies that don’t set up properly.
- Beating the butter and sugars together until “Light and fluffy”. This is a practice that was used by our mother’s who made a lot of flat cookies back in the day! Beating until sugars and butter are fluffy works for cakes, but not cookies! Less air beat into the batter is better and will produce chewier cookies!
- Use cold eggs. I take the eggs straight out of the fridge. Unlike when making a cake, the eggs are added to this recipe COLD, instead of at room temperature. Another key to success!
- Sifting the flour. Don’t sift the flour! Sifting is great for cakes, but not for most cookie recipes. Also, good quality flour (cheap flours often have lower gluten or protein content) will pay off. Stick with name brands. I love Lehi Mills All Purpose Peacock Flour, Bob’s Red Mill, and King Arthur brands. You will see a difference in your baking. One last tip. Keep the flour stored in your home. Not a cold/hot garage. Also a game changer in baking success!
- Oven temperature. If you suspect your temperature is off, check your oven to make sure it is heating accurately! A simple oven thermometer will save lots of headaches and confirm if your oven temperature is accurate.
Remember, when you are making your first batch of Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies, look for a dough that is not too sticky. You should add 2 3/4 cup of flour total to the recipe. If the dough is still wet looking, it’s okay to add another tablespoon or two, but beyond that, the cookies will have a floury taste. Is that a word?? It is best to scoop and refrigerate the dough for 30-60 minutes and then bake as directed if the dough is still too sticky or wet looking.
I’ve made thousands of Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies over the years… We recently calculated I’ve made this recipe at least 1,000 times = about 20k Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies since it was first published in 2009/2010. Everyone from young neighbor kids to folks in nursing homes love them. I’m guessing they will become your new family favorite too!
Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies (2014)
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened *see notes
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs cold
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour* plus a tablespoon or two if needed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt I prefer coarse sea salt
- 2 cups or 1 12-oz. pkg. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375° F. If using convection, preheat to 375 as well.
For regular oven, place rack in middle of oven. When using a convection oven, you should be able to bake on all racks at one time.
Cut butter into pieces ( about 2 tablespoons each) and place in mixing bowl. I use a Kitchen Aid and power it on 2 (low).
After a few seconds, add granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until creamy (this takes just a few seconds). The butter and the sugars should be mixed enough so no chunks of butter are visible.
Add eggs, beating just until incorporated and smooth. Never turn the beaters on high.
Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and bottom of the bowl to insure all ingredients are incorporated.
Dump 2 cups of the flour, soda, salt and chocolate chips all together into bowl with butter mixture.
Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour to the top of this mixture. Slowly mix the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips together. I have had great success with simply PULSING the mixer at this point. Do not over mix. Turn the dough with a rubber spatula so the bottom of the dough is mixed into the top of the dough. This will insure the flour is mixed in properly and the chips are distributed evenly.
If the dough is sticky, add an additional 2-3 tablespoons of flour to the dough. Remove the bowl from the stand if using a stand mixer, and fold in the flour. This is only necessary if the dough is sticky.
Using a cookie scoop, drop onto un-greasedbaking sheets, or baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place 6-8 scoops of dough on each baking sheet.
Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
If using convection, bake for 7-10 minutes until golden brown.
If using regular (non convection) oven, bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.
Cookies should be slightly golden and the cookie should not be wet on top.
Cool on baking sheets completely.
Tips:(or my mini-epistle on cc cookie making and baking)
- Only use butter. No margarine. Unsalted butter is best. The butter should be more firm than room temperature butter. I take it straight out of the fridge, and microwave it for about 18-20 seconds. My microwave is not super powerful. Your microwave will probably differ from mine. Start with about 12 seconds and remove butter. You want the butter to be barely soft, as in, when you push your finger into the butter it should barely leave an indentation, but it should leave an indentation. If you have microwaved the butter and it is too soft, you can make the cooked dough and either add an additional 2 tablespoons of flour to the dough or refrigerate the dough for about 30-45 minutes before baking.
- *Our altitude is about 4,400 ft. I use about2 3/4 cups flour total. The original Toll House recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups.
- Don’t over beat the butter-sugar mixture, or the batter will become too soft, and your cookies will not be beautiful and puffy. They will resemble pancakes.
- Don’t sift the flour.
- Use eggs that are straight out of the refrigerator. Most bake recipes call for room temperature eggs. This recipe is designed for cold eggs. If you use room temperature eggs, the cookies are more likely to spread while baking.
- There is usually a notable difference between using a convection and a standard oven. If you bake at the same temperature, for the same amount of time, the convection cookie will be done, with a beautiful, golden, slightly crispy outer layer. Still soft on the inside. And it will be taller than the cookie baked in a standard oven. Not everyone has a convection oven- if you don’t, you can still bake a great cookie using a standard oven!
- I think two of the biggest mistakes made while baking cookies are: 1-Over mixing. This will cause the batter have too much air incorporated, producing a fluffy, instead of a chewy cookie. As stated in the updated recipe, I usually just pulse the mixer after the dry ingredients are added, which creates more of a folding action instead of mixing. 2-Over baking. Under baking is good! Not under baked to the point the cookie is wet and doughy, but just until the top sets, and the dough looks like it has a bit of a crust.
- Chocolate chips – For semi sweet, I use Nestle Semi Sweet chips. I have also had good luck with Trader Joe’s brand semi sweet chips or Hershey’s Chocolate Chips. Nestle is my favorite for day in day out semi sweet chips. For Milk Chocolate, we prefer Guittard . The chips are called Maxi Chips and are sold in a silver colored bag.
- If the cookie spreads too much, or the edges are not even, I take a small spatula and push the edges inward to create a cookie that is round. This has to be done immediately after removing from the oven, or remove the pans half way through baking and push the sides in to form a circle. Place pan back in oven and finish baking.
- High Altitude info: Not recommended-directions on Nestle Chocolate Chip package for high altitude- I have tried this variation, and DO NOT like the result. The cookies aren’t quite sweet enough, and have a crispy more cake like texture. Here are the directions on the package: (again I DO NOT recommend using this method, but have printed it here as an FYI) Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes. We are at 4500-4800 in elevation and the directions on this recipe work perfectly! The directions also work at sea level.
- Last tip. Mound the cookie into a ball. I make them about the size of a golf ball. I use a #16 cookie scoop. For years, I just used a spoon, and then shaped them by hand. Make sure to flatten the cookie just a little bit before baking. To yield 18 cookies use a 2 1/4 inch or #16 scoop