Updated: Aug 16, 2020
Chocolate chip cookies are undoubtedly one of the most renowned baked goods. Almost everyone has made them, and every other person has their own recipe and tips and tricks. There are tons of variations, different types of chocolate, nuts, and other things added to the cookies, etcetera.
Chocolate chip cookies are so beloved that they have become a flavor of their own; look at chocolate chip cookie flavored ice cream or cheesecakes.
But nothing beats a classic chocolate chip cookie, with some good old gooey chocolate oozing out of a warm cookie straight out of the oven.
I know that there are millions recipes for chocolate chip cookies out there, and I have followed a few of them. Some, I loved, some, I absolutely found disgusting. Some were easy peasy lemon squeezy, and some were unnecessarily hard. Ever since I started baking almost eight years ago, I have been on the lookout for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I don't think my journey has ended yet, but I'm a step closer.
After a lot of mental math and some trial and error, I finally developed a recipe for some heavenly chocolate chip cookies.
These cookies are crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. They have an excellent texture; there is a beautiful flavor explosion in the mouth; moreover, I made them bite-sized, so you can devour a single cookie at once!
These cookies take less than 30 minutes to be made, from start to finish, we're talking making the dough and baking. Furthermore, these cookies are 100% eggless. So, all my non-egg eating readers can now enjoy an authentic tasting chocolate chip cookie.
This post houses not only a recipe but a comprehensive guide to chocolate chip cookies and how you can avoid making mistakes while baking them.
And, unlike my other guides and recipes, this post will have four parts:
What's in a chocolate chip cookie?
How to troubleshoot a chocolate chip cookie?
What equipment do you need?
What's the recipe for these chocolate chip cookies?
What's in a chocolate chip cookie?
Ruth used sweet chocolate chips in this cookie, which had never been done before. There are a few stories as to why she did that; some say she ran out of nuts, and some say that she ran out of baker's chocolate. Another tale even says that some chocolate chips fell into her mixer by accident while she was making cookies. I don't know for sure what happened, but now we have chocolate chip cookies, so thank you, Ruth.
So the primary ingredients in a chocolate chip cookie are chocolate chips, flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, salt, and chemical leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder. Combining these ingredients in different and correct ratios will yield beautiful chocolate chip cookies. For this particular recipe, I did not use eggs and made a few variations from what you could call a 'traditional chocolate chip cookie.'
Let us now understand how each ingredient affects the chocolate chip cookie.
Chocolate: I used chunks of dark chocolate despite the name of the cookie being chocolate chip cookies. The chocolate in this cookie is baker's dark chocolate, but you can feel free to use any dark chocolate bar that you get. I love using semi-sweet dark chocolate in chocolate chip cookies because it gives a gorgeous contrast in flavors without making the cookies overly sweet. Moreover, bars of chocolate melt much much better than chocolate chips do. Freshly chopped chocolate makes your cookies look more rustic and gorgeous, and when you bite into it, the chocolate oozes out. Whereas the chocolate chips pretty much stay intact throughout the baking and aren't as gooey or melty.
Eggs: Eggs are an essential part of cookies; they act as a binding agent and stabilize the dough and give the cookie a sound structure. Think of egg as the glue holding a cookie together. Now, I also replaced the eggs because I know so many people that keep looking for eggless variations of chocolate chip cookie recipes, and often they're either too complicated or yield disappointing looking cookies. I have recently started using ground flaxseed as a replacement for eggs in cookies. Not only does the flax egg do the same job as an egg would in a cookie, but it also adds a nutty flavor to it. You can also see pretty flecks of flaxseed in your cookie along with added texture.
Sugar: Aside from its obvious use, the sugar that's mixed into the dough will heat up in the oven allowing the cookies to spread out. The sugar caramelizes when it is heated up, therefore giving you the lovely golden brown color that everyone loves on a chocolate chip cookie. It also retains the moisture in a cookie and gains the upper hand in how chewy your cookie will end up being. I used a combination of granulated white sugar and light brown sugar for this cookie recipe. I used more quantity of brown sugar than white sugar.
How does that make a difference? White sugar is quite neutral in terms of flavor and does not hold moisture very well. It allows the cookie to spread widely and become thin and crisp, so if you love a crispy chocolate chip cookie, you can go ahead and increase the amount of white sugar and reduce the amount of brown. Or you can even omit the brown sugar entirely. Cookies made with only white sugar will also be lighter in color. Now, the amount of brown sugar in my cookie is higher because I love a chewy on the inside type of cookie. Brown sugar, unlike white sugar, retains moisture much better, therefore giving you a chewier cookie. Chocolate chip cookies with a more substantial amount of brown sugar will also be darker in color. Brown sugar is also a little acidic, and it reacts with the chemical leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder), resulting in a fluffier cookie. Ergo, to achieve a cookie which is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, you will need to use both sugars.
Fats: Some chocolate chip cookie recipes call for margarine or shortening and some call for good old butter. The fats mainly make the cookies tender and control how much they spread. Cookies created with butter will be thinner and crispier because of butter's low melting point. Apart from that, there won't be much of a difference in a chocolate chip cookie made with butter, margarine, or shortening. I used margarine in this cookie recipe, but you can use butter. Try to use unsalted butter so that you can control the salinity of the cookie.
Flour: I entirely used all-purpose flour for this particular cookie as many other bakers out there do. Of all the ingredients in this recipe, the amount of flour is the highest. The amount of flour can really affect the cookie, how chewy it is, how crumbly it is, or how crisp it is. The more the flour, the more the cookie will hold up its shape.
Now, why use all-purpose flour and not whole wheat flour? You can use whole wheat flour; there's nothing wrong with that. You will get a nuttier and healthier chocolate chip cookie. Although, it will be drier than a regular chocolate chip cookie, and it will have a gritty texture. Whole wheat flour doesn't absorb moisture that well as compared to all-purpose, hence the dryness. If you still wish to use whole wheat flour, try to combine both flours, you will get a really nice chocolate chip cookie.
Chemical leaveners: For my cookie, I used both baking soda and baking powder. Baking powder is a two-in-one leavener, a combination of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and cream of tartar (tartaric acid). Baking soda needs an acid to be activated, whereas baking powder already has an acid, so it will be activated when it meets a liquid. Together, these chemical leavening agents produce carbon dioxide in the cookie, allowing it to grow and become soft and airy on the inside. Without a leavening agent, your cookies will be flat and dense.
Vanilla and Salt: I am clubbing these two together because a) the post is already too long, b) they're both flavor enhancers. Vanilla is a gorgeous base flavor that you must add to any sweet baked goods. It elevates the overall taste, and it also makes the chocolate chip cookie smell delicious. As for salt, I always add it to a baked dessert. Not only does salt cut through the monotonous sweetness, but it also adds a complex flavor to an otherwise simple chocolate chip cookie. Moreover, use the best type of sea salt or rock salt you find to sprinkle on top of the cookie. It adds that extra pizzazz that everyone's going to love.
Now, let us move on to how you can troubleshoot what's wrong with your cookies and fix your mistakes.
How to troubleshoot a chocolate chip cookie?
Chocolate chip cookies are pretty straightforward, yet we all somehow manage to screw them up sometimes. I have had my share of shitty chocolate chip cookies too, and there is no promise that I will make perfect chocolate chip cookies all my life.
But, you should understand what went wrong and how you can avoid repeating the same mistake.
Let us go through some of the main mistakes that occur while making chocolate chip cookies.
The cookies are too tough.
You can get tough chocolate chip cookies for several reasons. One common reason being overmixing. I know that mixing cookie dough is very fun, but there is a certain amount of time that you should incorporate your ingredients for; otherwise, you will end up with tough, rock-like cookies. For a majority of baking recipes, you will be asked to mix the wet ingredients first and then add in the dry ingredients. The wet ingredients are your sugars, fats, eggs/egg replacers, and vanilla. My recipe calls for creaming of margarine/butter and sugar. Creaming the margarine/butter and sugar requires you to whisk the two ingredients until they are fluffy and light in color, no more than that. Then, you add in the egg/egg replacer and vanilla and mix only until they are incorporated. After that, you sift in the dry ingredients, flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Now, here is where it gets crucial. You are strictly supposed to mix until all of the flour has disappeared into the wet ingredients. If you mix any further, you will end up with hard cookies since the gluten will have developed. Folding in the chocolate should also be done extremely gently.
Another reason why your chocolate chip cookies could be tough is the scant presence of leavening agents. As I mentioned above, chemical leaveners aerate the cookie. So if you missed adding baking soda and baking powder, you could end up with a flat, hard cookie. Over-baking can also yield in hard, tough cookies.
The cookies have spread too much/are greasy.
This problem can be fixed before baking if you're attentive enough. Chocolate chip cookies will spread way too much if the amount of flour is too little or the amount of fats and sugars is higher. You just need to balance the cookie dough out. Add more flour, one tablespoon at a time until you have soft yet stable cookie dough.
The cookies haven't spread at all/are lumpy.
The chocolate chip cookies not spreading is the opposite of what our last problem was. There is too much flour in the cookie dough, which can cause the result to look pale, and like a lump of dough that is most likely a little raw on the inside. This could also happen due to under-baking. Try to reduce the oven temperature and turn up the baking time. Again, you can try incorporating more fats and sugar before baking but you must do it carefully in order to avoid over-mixing.
The cookies are burnt.
Everyone can assess why this happened; it's three leading causes that can burn cookies: the oven's temperature, baking time, and the baking tray. The temperature of the oven also affects how the cookies turn out. The ideal temperature to bake chocolate chip cookies is 180° C, it's foolproof, and you should not end up with burnt cookies. Every oven has different wattage, so go by the physical signs on the cookie rather than the time written in the recipe. If the chocolate chip cookie is golden brown on the outside and a toothpick inserted comes out clean (except for the chocolate), your cookie is done. Moreover, if your baking tray is not greased, your cookies can easily burn.
Last, but a crucial variable that could atone for how your chocolate chip cookies turn out is the order in which you mix the ingredients. The gist of cookie making can be summarized into three steps: wet ingredients, dry ingredients, chocolate, and other add-ons. Please do not add all the ingredients at once, saying, "They all have to go in there anyway." No, that's not how baking works. I gave a detailed account of how to mix your dough above; therefore, I won't be repeating all of that. But you mustn't combine all the ingredients at once. You'll end up with a weird looking and weird tasting cookie with a horrible texture. Mixing everything at once prevents the ingredients from becoming familiar, creating chaos in your mixing bowl. The sugar won't dissolve properly, there will be pockets of flour, and there is no way you can troubleshoot if needed.
Henceforth, follow the 3 step method:
Wet ingredients (fats, sugar, eggs, and vanilla)
Dry ingredients (flour, salt, and chemical leaveners)
Chocolate and add-ons
Before we move on to the equipment section, take a look at this helpful chart from Delish about how you can tell what went wrong with your chocolate chip cookies:
The equipment for making this chocolate chip cookie is pretty basic. And you can actually do it by hand or use a machine; it's all up to you—no big deal.
But, do try and get parchment paper because greased parchment paper on a baking tray will get through a couple of cookie batches. But, a baking tray on its own will have to be greased after every batch of cookies.
It is advisable to let the cookies sit out on a cooling rack instead of a plate after you've baked them. This way, they get a chance to cool down from all sides.
So, here's a list of every tool and equipment you need to make this particular chocolate chip cookie:
A shallow baking tray
A medium-sized mixing bowl
A wire whisk
A rubber spatula
A food processor or blender
A mesh sieve
A cooling rack
A tablespoon measure or a melon corer
Finally, you have arrived at the part where I have written the actual recipe. Pat yourself on the back if you read all of this and are still here.
The Recipe For The 25-Minute Chocolate Chip Cookies
Time: 25 min
Yields: Approx. 40 cookies of 1.5-inch to 2-inch diameter
INGREDIENTS (Click For Grams To Cups Converter)
1 tablespoon powdered flaxseed
3 tablespoons room temperature water
140 grams (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) softened margarine/butter
60 grams (5 tablespoons) granulated white sugar
80 grams (6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250 grams (½ cup) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine table salt
160 grams (1 ½ cup) chopped dark chocolate chunks
½ teaspoon crushed sea salt (optional)
Grease a baking tray and line it with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Mix the powdered flaxseed and water, to make the flax egg, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Cream the butter/margarine and sugars in a mixing bowl using either a wire whisk or an electric mixer. Mix for about 2 minutes until it is light and fluffy.
Add the flax egg, vanilla extract, and continue mixing until everything is incorporated.
Sift in the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to mix the cookie dough once more. Mix until all of the flour is combined, do not overmix.
Gently, fold in the dark chocolate chunks.
Use a tablespoon measure and scoop out about 12 grams of cookie dough onto the prepared baking tray.
These cookies don't spread too much while baking, but leave about 1-1.5 inches gap between each cookie.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
At the 10 minute mark, take the cookies out and sprinkle some sea salt on them, and put them back into the oven to finish baking.
Regarding baking later: This chocolate chip cookie dough can be frozen and used at a later date. Either measure them out, place them on a greased plate or tray, cover it with plastic wrap, or form the dough into a log and wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap. The cookie dough can freeze for up to 6 months.
Regarding a crispier cookie: If you follow this recipe to the dot, you will get cookies that are on the softer side. If you like a crispier cookie, increase the amount of white sugar and reduce the amount of light brown sugar. Balance the sugar quantities according to how crispy or soft you like your chocolate chip cookies. Whatever you do, do not exceed the total amount (140 grams or ¾ cup) of both sugars together.
Regarding size: I wrote this recipe for bite-sized cookies, but you can make them bigger if you want to.
Regarding add-ons: Some people love adding nuts, candies, different types of chocolate and so on in their cookies. You can do that, but keep the total amount of add-ons 160 grams or 1 ½ cup. If you add too many add ons, the cookie dough won't have proper structure and the cookies will end up thin and overdone.
Regarding eggs: If you don't want to use a flax egg and are okay with using eggs, you can switch the powdered flaxseed and water for 1 large whole egg.
I hope that cleared everything you ever wanted to know about chocolate chip cookies. Happy baking!