How to Make Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies Step-by-Step
Learn the process of how to make perfect chocolate chip cookies using The Creaming Method. By following this mixing method and these tips and tricks you can make perfect chocolate chip cookies every time!
Chocolate Chip Cookies Overview
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Techniques Used: The Creaming Method
Chocolate chip cookies can seem like a fairly easy and approachable thing to bake. But what I have found, is that a cookie recipe can go wrong in my different ways, especially if you don’t understand the technique.
The mixing method used for most standard chocolate chip cookies is called The Creaming Method. When this method is executed properly, you can achieve cookies that bake evenly and have the perfect texture.
What is the Creaming Method?
The Creaming Method for cookies is a mixing method that starts by creaming together butter and sugar. This process helps to leaven your cookies and creates a light texture to your cookie. As a bonus, properly creaming butter and sugar together increases the volume of your cookie dough which equals more cookies!
How to Make Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Most chocolate chip cookie recipes utilize the creaming method. This process and these tips can be applied to most any chocolate chip cookie recipe to make them perfect. The recipe below creates cookies that are fairly chewy in the middle and crispy on the edges.
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients & Equipment (Mise en Place)
Because we are using The Creaming Mixing Method for these cookies, it is important that your butter is at room temperature. Butter needs to be around 70 F (soft, but not melting texture) to properly cream with the sugar.
Set out your butter and eggs about 1 hour before making your cookies. Measure out all of your other ingredients and get out any equipment you might need.
You will need either a hand mixer or a stand mixer for making chocolate chip cookies. Also, preheat your oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Step 2: Cream Together the Butter & Sugar
To properly cream together butter and sugar for cookies, your butter must be at room temperature. If you are in a rush and need your butter to come to room temperature quickly, cut the butter into very small pieces and spread them out on a plate. I do not recommend trying to warm your butter up in the microwave because if it starts to melt it will not cream together properly.
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes. This process will force air to get trapped in a web of fat and sugar particles. This is essential to evenly baked cookies.
Step 3: Add Eggs in One at a Time
Next you want to add your eggs into your dough one at a time. Adding the eggs to quickly can break the creamed mixture that you just created. You also want to be sure your eggs are at room temperature so they absorb into your batter properly.
Step 4: Mix the Flour in Until Just Combined
Add your dry ingredients into the dough and mix until just combined. You do not want to over-mix your dough here. Mixing too much once the flour is added can overdevelop the gluten structure and lead to tough cookies.
Additional Tips for Making Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Now that you understand the mixing method for making perfect chocolate chip cookies, here are a few other tips that can help you take your cookies to the next level!
Tip #1: Find your Perfect Recipe
The recipe in this article is for a fairly standard chocolate chip cookie. It creates cookies that are chewy in the middle and slightly crispy on the edges. The cookies aren’t super thick or incredibly thin. They are middle of the road standard cookies.
But everyone has a definition of what makes their perfect chocolate chip cookie. Maybe you like really thin and crispy cookies, or thick and cakey cookies. Or maybe you just want an incredibly soft and chewy cookie. Whatever your definition of THE perfect chocolate chip cookie is, that is the recipe you should use.
Tip #2: Do Not Skip the Salt!
Baking with salt is just as important as cooking with salt. Don’t believe me? Try making some cookies without any salt at all, then make another batch with even just a small amount of salt. The cookies without the salt will taste flat and overly sweet, while the cookies with salt will have more depth and balance.
Salt rounds out the flavor of chocolate chip cookies and will create a cookie that just tastes better. All good cookie recipes should call for some amount of salt, and if it doesn’t, then I would seriously question the recipe!
Tip #3: Measure Your Flour Properly
One of the most common mistakes in cookie baking, or any baking really, is measuring the flour improperly. If you have a kitchen scale, measure your flour by weight. It is by far the most accurate way to measure.
For those of us Americans, who insist on measuring by volume instead of by weight, it is so easy to mess this up! The best way to measure flour by volume is to fluff up the flour with a spoon and then lightly spoon it into the measuring cup and level it off. Do NOT pack the flour down into the measuring cup. Making sure you don’t put way too much flour in your dough is imperative to your perfect chocolate chip cookies!
Tip #4: Don’t Over-Mix the Flour
Once you get to the point in a cookie recipe where you are adding the flour to the dough, you want to mix as little as possible. This is a crucial point in the cookie making process.
The more the dough is worked once the flour is added, the more the gluten structure will develop. A stronger gluten structure equals tough cookies. You want to minimize this as much as possible.
I suggest adding all of your flour into the bowl and mixing just until the flour is almost incorporated. Then add your chocolate chips and other mix-ins and stir those in to combine and finish mixing in the flour. This will help keep your cookie tender and help with the overall texture.
Tip #5: Use Good Quality Chocolate
As I’m sure you know, not all chocolate is created equal. If you decided to go through all of the lengthy steps to make my perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe but opted to use the basic Toll House chocolate chips then they just really aren’t going to be the best. They just aren’t!
I suggest looking for a high quality chocolate chip or even a chocolate bar to chop up! My favorite chocolate chips are either Guittard or Ghiradelli. I prefer the bittersweet or dark chocolate of either variety, but the semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips of both brands are good too for a sweeter chip.
Tip #6: Rest Your Cookie Dough!
Resting your cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 72 hours can greatly improve the flavor and texture of your cookies. This allows the flour to truly absorb all of the moisture in the cookie dough and the flavor keeps developing. If you are able to plan ahead, definitely give this a try!
Tip #7: Use a Cookie Scoop!
I have found that a cookie scoop is the best way to achieve cookies that not only bake evenly but also look beautiful! I always use a scoop that is on the larger side. My favorite scoop, you can find it here, is about 1/4 cup size. The cookies bake up beautifully. If you prefer to go for a smaller size, I like this scoop that is about a 2 tablespoon size. I wouldn’t go much smaller than that as the cookies won’t bake as evenly and can overcook easily.
Tip #8: Don’t Overcrowd the Pan
When baking large cookies, I suggest only baking about 6-8 per sheet pan for large cookies and 9-12 per pan for small cookies.
I also suggest only putting 1 sheet pan in the oven at a time. Leaving enough room on the sheet pan for the cookies to spread out is crucial. If you try to put too many cookies on the pan at once then the cookies will bake more slowly and less evenly.
Tip #9: Add more Chocolate Chips
You know when you see pictures of cookies online and they look almost too perfect to be real? Adding a few more chocolate chips to each mound of dough before baking is the secret! This ensures that you have ample pieces of gooey chocolate on top of each cookie! I’m telling you! Your cookies will almost be too beautiful to eat if you use this trick.
Tip #10: Sprinkle With Salt (optional)
Finishing the cookie dough mounds with salt before they are baked is an optional step, but can really elevate your chocolate chip cookie game. Right before baking, lightly sprinkle each cookie with a bit of flaky salt.
The contrast of salty and sweet will take even the most simple cookie recipe, even my simplest 5 ingredient chocolate chip cookies, to a whole new level and make them taste a whole lot more gourmet!
Tip #11: Remove from the Oven When Slightly Under-Cooked
I find that 9 times out of 10 people are looking for a chocolate chip cookie that is soft in the middle. So unless you are that 1 person who prefers really crispy chocolate chip cookies, you want to pull your cookies out of the oven when the middles still look slightly underdone.
Another fun idea is a cookie dough stuffed cookie! Basically you take a large mound of cookie dough and bake it at a really high temperature for a short period of time. The high temperature will create a crust around the cookie leaving the inside under-baked and doughy.
If the cookie looks completely baked through when you remove them from the oven then they will be overcooked once cooled. The cookies are still hot and are sitting on a hot pan, so they will continue cooking slightly even after they are no longer in the oven. The more you bake, the better you will get a feel for this.