Chocolate Chip Cookies

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies are always a favorite! www.somethingswanky.com

It has taken me a really long time to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. And my guess is that my quest still isn’t over. I might think it is, but it seems like there’s always another one around the corner (and hey– no complaining here)!

I like to think of my journey to the perfect chocolate chip cookie as being symbolic of my journey as a cook and baker in general. You can see the progress I made in the kitchen overall by simply looking through the mistakes and improvements I made in the progression of my cookie recipes.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies are always a favorite! www.somethingswanky.com

I started out making chocolate chip cookies from a grocery store mix. That’s a painful admission to make, but we all start somewhere, right?!

And then came the margarine phase. I had no clue that margarine wasn’t the same thing as butter. I mean… they were in the same grocery section, side by side. The boxes looked nearly identical. And the price of margarine was about half of the price of butter! At the time, I thought it was a no brainer! “Buttery Spread” all the way!

Ugh. No.

So, those cookie weren’t so great. They spread out all over the place, and left sort of a weird film in your mouth. Not good.

Then came the margarine + shortening. Which was actually a little better, even though it sounds worse. These baked perfectly when I was in Utah, but when I moved to Virginia they were a mess. I don’t know if it had something to do with altitude or what, but they haven’t worked for me on the East Coast. Plus… they kind of left a film in your mouth too.

In Virginia, I discovered actual butter. The taste of the recipe drastically improved (shocker), but I was still having a problem with too much spreading, even using a combination of butter + shortening. So I worked out a sort of “routine” involving chilling and stacking the dough. Sometimes that would get them just right, and other times they wouldn’t spread enough or they’d spread too much.

Here’s the deal with me and chilling: I don’t like to do it. And not for the reason you might think. I don’t mind the waiting. But I find that it makes the dough unpredictable. Dough that has chilled an hour bakes differently than dough chilled overnight. And dough chilled overnight bakes differently than dough chilled overnight and then left on the counter for 10 minutes. And so on, and so on.

So, I don’t like to chill the dough in most cases. Which means, I needed a solution that didn’t involve chilling.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies are always a favorite! www.somethingswanky.com

It turns out that baking soda has everything to do with the spreading or not-spreading of cookies. I’d been experimenting with different baking soda measurements and methods for adding it when I came across this cookie recipe at Foodie Crush. I made her cookies, which turned out phenomenally. And, as she mentions in her post, the only notable difference between her recipe and lots of others is dissolving the baking soda before adding it to the dough.

So I gave it a whirl with the recipe I’d been developing for years, and what do you know? It worked! Perfectly! The chocolate chip cookies turned out exactly like I’ve always wanted them to! With no chilling, no weird film texture, a rich and buttery flavor, and the perfect amount of spreading. They are crispy, golden brown on the edges and chewy in the middle.

I have no idea what the chemistry is behind this method, but I can tell you that it WORKS. And it works every. single. time.

Thanks Heidi, for this stroke of genius. I’d be so sadly misguided without your recipe!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold butter*
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp hot water
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars until smooth and almost creamy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time and mixing in between additions (but don't over mix).
  4. Dissolve the baking soda in the tablespoon of water. Add both the baking soda and the vanilla to the mixer and mix well. Mix in the salt.
  5. Add the flour and mix until dough forms.
  6. Mix in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon or spatula.
  7. Scoop dough by heaping tablespoons onto a parchment lined or silicon lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Store in an airtight container once completely cooled. Makes approximately 48 cookies.

*You can beat cold butter easily in a stand mixer. But if you aren't using a stand mixer, you'll need to soften the butter before mixing. If you do this, just be sure to chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before baking.

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Ashton Swank

Ashton is the owner and author of Something Swanky. Although first and foremost a wife and mother, she considers herself an online entrepreneur, freelance writer and photographer, and brand ambassador. Her focus is in food styling, food photography and recipe development.