Finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe took a lot longer than I expected. Sure, I got a new job and moved in the middle of all of this, but the bigger challenge was in narrowing down the pool. There are SO many chocolate chip cookie recipes out there! Some deviate very little from the original. Some vary the amount of sugar, the state of the butter (room temperature, melted, or browned), or the temperature of the dough. Some are thin and crisp. Some are thick and chewy. Almost all of them are delicious in their own way. Fear not, there finally is a sweet ending to my quest for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe.
I decided early on that I would hold two things constant. First, I would use Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips in all of my recipes so that the chocolate was the same. Many recipes call for semi-sweet chocolate chopped into bits. Though I plan to experiment more with chopped chocolate in my baking, I did not want to add that variable in this test. Second, I did not include nuts in any of my cookies. There are some recipes that benefit from nuts, but I do not believe that the chocolate chip cookie is one of them. In my journey I tested many more than the recipes included on MyUntangled Life. (You can see more of them on my Chocolate Chip Cookie Pinterest board.) The following six recipes were my favorites:
The original, Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie by Cook’s Illustrated
The Essential Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by King Arthur Flour
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie inspired by Serious Eats
Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies by Smitten Kitchen
Each one had something different to offer. It is hard to go too far wrong with a recipe classic like the original. The Neiman Marcus cookie had a slightly dense texture from the oats it used. Both the Essential Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie were wonderfully chewy. The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie and the Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies balanced the sweetness of the cookie with a sprinkling of sea salt.
Now Let’s Get to the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
As great as all of these were, the cookie I keep holding up as the ideal is the aptly named Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie.
So, what makes this the best chocolate chip cookie recipe? Well, I should have known right away that this was the winner when these were the first cookies I wanted to bake when we moved into our new home. To me they are the perfect balance of caramel and chocolate flavors. The texture is ideal–chewy with crisp edges. While the browned butter adds a bit of time to the baking process, it is well worth the effort for the flavor it imparts. What I also like is that this recipe does not require the resting and chilling time that I get impatient with, but so many recipes require. (If I am making cookie dough, I want cookies soon!) When I made my last batch of this recipe to give as gifts to my brother and dad (who have been eager testers when there have been cookies to share), I sprinkled some salt on the tops of the ones for my brother. I think they are great with or without, but the sea salt is the only change I would consider making to this perfect recipe. Thanks, Cooks Illustrated!
Despite my extensive search for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, I am still not tired of chocolate chip cookies. However, I am eager to share some new things with you soon. Happy baking!