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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


  • 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


  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.


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.

33 comments on “Chocolate Chip Cookies”

  1. How cool!! I’d never have thought of that baking soda method!

  2. I love all of your trial and error methods :) Thanks for sharing those! I’m really glad that you shared with me the butter/margarine tip. My husband and I are both lactose intolerant, so I cook with margarine instead of butter. When necessary, we just take Lactaid pills, but I never found the use of butter to be essential and thought that margarine was a perfectly acceptable substitute. Now I know better! So, thank you for helping me to improve my baking skills and for sharing what you have learned!

  3. These look delish! Chocolate chip cookies are on of my fave desserts. I love making them homemade, but some times it’s hard to get them just right. I’m always looking for new methods and techniques for perfecting my recipe. I can totally see myself giving this recipe a go.

  4. Oh my gosh… now THESE look simply delish… with a cup of milk, too! :)
    Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. I have so many problems baking cookies. The spreading. The flattening. All of it. I’m definitely going to try heidi’s method! Thank you for sharing ashton!

  6. I am totally trying this with my favorite chocolate chip recipe to see if there’s a difference. This is my type of science experiment ;)

  7. Baking soda starts to “react” and do it’s thing as soon as it is added to a liquid and then it’s added to the dough and oven fairly quickly so it “works” at leavening the cookies. (rising and spreading) By dissolving it first, it isn’t as powerful by the time it gets to the oven, therefore the cookies won’t spread as much. It is more for texture and flavor at that point. Double acting baking powder works great at really fluffy, high cookies.

    • Exactly! I played around with using baking powder, and sometimes a combo of powder and soda, but I didn’t like it as much :P

  8. Ahhhh, there’s always something to learn! And we do have to start somewhere – thanks for sharing this awesome little secret!

  9. I’m always up for trying another Choc chip cookie recipe :)

  10. I use the original Toll House chocolate crunch cookie recipe (chocolate chip cookie), have for years now and Ruth Wakefield (toll house owner) always did the same thing to the baking soda..she invented the cookie in 1930, she ran out of chocolate so had to use Nestle’s semi-sweet pieces, she expected them to melt…surprise, they didn’t…she struck a deal with Nestle’s and the rest is history…but dissolving the baking soda makes a big difference..

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  12. Nesto! I love the science behind baking and cooking.

  13. I love trying out new chocolate chip cookie recipes. Each one is slightly different in texture, so it’s always exciting. These cookies are really light in color. I bet they taste fantastic. Can’t wait to try this one out.

  14. Ashton, these cookies look amazing. I love trying new chocolate chip cookie recipes and I know these must be SO good.

  15. I love CCC’s and usually just stick with the good ol Nestle recipe. I’m going to have to try this one!

  16. I’ve never heard of this trick…but I can’t wait to try it now! These look so yummy!

  17. Can’t wait to try this; great reasons to make chocolate chip cookies right!? ;) Thanks for sharing this great tip!

  18. Thank you SO much for the tip on the baking soda! I absolutely cannot wait to try this method! The spreading of my cookies has been the bane of my existence for years.

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  20. My cookies still spread more than yours. I live at 3500 ft altitude. Could that be the difference?

    • I don’t know for sure, but possibly! I definitely have had cookie issues when I’ve had to adjust from baking in NC, then to UT, then to VA. It seems like I have to play around with it everywhere I go, but this one has worked the best in all three places. If they’re spreading too much, try chilling them for 30 minutes first. Maybe your butter is getting too soft before you bake them?

  21. Yum! I just made these and they were great.
    I just shared the pictures I took of the cookies and linked to your blog. http://thesmoothielover.blogspot.dk/2013/08/chocolate-chip-cookies-summer-camp.html
    Thank’s for a great recipe!

  22. I am super excited to try out this recipe! It says to beat the butter and shortening together but the ingredients only say 1 cup of cold butter. How much shortening and how much butter should I use? Thanks!!!

    • So sorry! That was an accident on my part! There isn’t any shortening in this recipe, it’s just the butter. Should be fixed now :)

  23. The recipe says to mix the butter and shortening but there is not shortening listed in the ingredients?

    • So sorry, I just edited the ingredient list last night. There aren’t supposed to be shortening in these (although, if you used shortening, it would still taste fine :) ). Thank you for catching that for me, I’ll fix it now!

    • Thank you for clearing that up. I am anxious to make the red velvet brookies and didn’t want to mess anything up :-).

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