My Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies Overview
Today I am sharing with you my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I developed this recipe in 2010 when I couldn’t find a cookie recipe that fit my definition of the best chocolate chip cookie.
This is the recipe that also led me to starting an online cookie company that went viral. I couldn’t make these cookies fast enough to keep up! I guarded the recipe for many years, but decided to share it a few years ago because I have no desire to actually run a cookie company again.
I know a lot of you are probably skeptical at my claim that these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever. There are so many recipes out there making the same claim! But I will say, if you love a more grown up chocolate chip cookie that is rich in flavor, has lots of texture, and a good hit of saltiness, then this recipe is for you!
What Makes these my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies?
- Brown butter for incredible depth of flavor and toasty notes
- Ground oats for lots of chew and texture
- Dark brown sugar for more chew and caramel notes
- Lots of good vanilla
- Dark or bittersweet chocolate that stays soft and melty
- The cookies stay nice and thick
- A good hit of salt to balance the sweetness
They have everything you could want in a cookie. Just the right amount of crunchy bits on the outside and an incredibly chewy inside.
They also have an extreme depth of flavor. The perfect mix of sweet, salty and richness.
These cookies also feel a little bit fancy but not so much so that they lose that rustic homeyness that all chocolate chip cookies should have. In my opinion, they are just perfect. So let’s dive into my detailed tutorial for making these seriously incredible chocolate chip cookies!
How to make my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
I do need to preface this recipe and tutorial by saying that these are not the cookies you make when you have a spur of the moment craving for cookies. These are special occasion cookies. These are “I need to impress someone” cookies.
The reason these are not everyday chocolate chip cookies is that they are a little pricey to make and they also take some time commitment. But if you are dedicated to those two things, these are so worth it.
Step 1: Brown the Butter
The recipe starts with unsalted butter. It is a bit more butter than most recipes call for, but it helps with the richness of these cookies. The butter is browned at least several hours before making the cookies so that it has time to cool before being added to the dough. You can also brown the butter the night before.
There are a lot of food trends, and browned butter in baked goods is arguably one of the biggest. I discovered it in 2009 and have never looked back. Brown butter can elevate your basic chocolate chip cookies so much!
How to Brown the Butter
To brown butter, heat butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. The butter will melt and then slowly come to a boil. Once the butter starts boiling, start stirring continuously. The butter will become murky and then start to clear up as the water cooks off.
You will start to smell the butter when it is getting close to browning. It will smell nutty and then will start turning an amber color. You want it to be a fairly deep amber color, but watch it closely because it can burn quickly. This whole process takes about 15 minutes.
After the butter is brown, remove it from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. You don’t want to use hot or even warm butter in this recipe because you won’t be able to cream it with the sugar and it will result in really greasy cookies.
Step 2: Toast the Pecans (optional, but highly recommended)
Immediately after browning the butter, it is time to toast the pecans so that they can also cool before making the dough. The pecans are technically optional in this recipe, but I find them crucial.
Pecans add another contrast in texture, they contribute to the savory aspect, and by toasting them they create an additional depth of flavor. But if you are allergic or absolutely hate nuts in cookies, you can leave them out. The cookies will still be amazing!
I used to be totally against nuts in cookies, but when creating this recipe I couldn’t go back after I tried them with the pecans. I have also converted quite a few no-nut cookie purists with this recipe.
How to Toast the Pecans
To toast pecans, put them in a dry pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally, paying close attention so they don’t burn. The pecans will become very fragrant once they are toasted. Remove from heat and allow to cool before making the dough.
Step 3: Cream the Butter and Sugar Together
Once the butter has come to room temperature and is starting to become solid again, you can start making the cookie dough. The batter starts by creaming the butter and sugar. One of the things that makes these cookies so special is using all dark brown sugar in the dough.
Dark brown sugar has more molasses in it than light brown sugar. This creates so much depth of flavor, richness, and most importantly, chew in the cookies!
Beat together the sugar and butter for about 5 minutes until it is pale in color and fluffy. Creaming the butter and sugar together well is important for the texture and it also increases the volume of the dough. This means, more cookies!
Step 4: Add Egg and Good Vanilla!
Once the butter and sugar are creamed together well, its time to mix in the egg! Not much else to say about that!
Beat in the room temperature egg until completely incorporated.
Next up is the vanilla! The vanilla is an important element in what makes these cookies the best. I always use a really good quality vanilla like Nielsen-Massey vanilla.
Really, any vanilla will do. But we’re using a good amount of it in this recipe so if you can, get the good stuff!
Add the best quality vanilla you can afford into the batter and mix until combined.
Step 5: Mix in the Dry Ingredients
I always add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the batter before the flour. I find if you mix them in before adding the flour it will evenly distribute them without needing to dirty an extra bowl to mix dry ingredients together.
The combination of both baking soda and baking powder in this cookie gives it a little more tenderness and helps keep the cookie a bit taller.
Also, a note about salt: You want to use kosher salt or a medium coarse sea salt. These salts will hold their shape when mixed and baked and will not totally dissolve in the batter like table salt will. You don’t want the whole batter to be salty, you just want little flecks of salt mixed throughout to balance the flavors.
Mix in the baking soda, baking powder, kosher salt until combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix again.
The main structure for these cookies is a combination of both all-purpose flour and ground oats. You can technically use store bought oat flour for this recipe, but I prefer to pulse oats in my food processor because I like to keep a little more texture to the oats.
Ground oats or oat flour is going to add a really nice oaty flavor to the cookies and will also add some texture and chew without these becoming oatmeal cookies.
Add the flour and ground oats into the mixing bowl and mix until almost completely absorbed. This should only take about 15-20 seconds of mixing.
Step 6: Add the Mix-ins
The quality of chocolate is extremely important in my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies. My all time favorite chocolate chips are Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips. These chocolate chips don’t have the same stabilizers in them that other chocolate chips do. This means they stay soft and melty in the cookies for a really long time and never get really hard.
I think dark or bittersweet chocolate works best in these cookies. But if you like a sweeter chocolate, I suggest getting a good quality chocolate bar and chopping it up for the cookies. Most chocolate chips don’t really melt, but chocolate bars will and it makes a huge difference!
Add the chocolate chips or chunks and the chopped toasted pecans. Fold the mix-ins in to evenly distribute and to finish mixing in the flour.
Step 6: Scoop the Cookie Dough
I think the size of the cookie is also an important part of what makes the ultimate chocolate chip cookies. Scooping large mounds of dough allows the cookies to stay thick and have crispy edges and a chewy center.
I use a large cookie scoop that is 3 TBSP in size. It makes big, bakery style cookies. I also keep the mounds rounded so the cookies stay nice and thick.
If you do not have a scoop you can use a measuring cup and slightly flatten out the bottom of the cookie, keeping the top rounded, and place them on the cookie sheets.
Only place 8 cookies per sheet pan. Too many cookies will not allow them to bake evenly and will cause the cookies to spread out more when they are baking.
Step 7: Garnish the Cookies and Bake
Before the cookies go into the oven, I like to garnish them. We’re going for ultimate here right?
I sprinkle the cookies with a bit more kosher salt or flaky sea salt. I also like to add a few more chocolate chips on top so that the chocolate is really visible when they come out of the oven.
I readily admit that I have had a lot of really awesome cookies and I have tried all the big recipes out there that claim to be the best. And I may be a bit biased, but I have yet to find a recipe that tops this one according to my taste preferences.
Be prepared to be asked to make these all the time if you ever share them with family or friends. I have a few family members that I do not live near anymore that are probably jumping for joy right now knowing that they can now make these themselves.
I think they have the best of all cookie worlds. Slightly crunchy on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside, with all kinds of complexity in flavor. If you do try them please let me know what you think and if they are your ultimate cookie!
- 1 stick + 1 TBSP (9 TBSP, 126 gr) unsalted butter, browned and cooled
- 3/4 cup (70 gr) chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
- 3/4 cup (147 gr) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp (7ml) good vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (plus more for sprinkling)
- 1 cup (140 gr) good quality chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (I like the ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips or a chopped dark chocolate bar)
- 1 cup (120 gr) ground oats or oat flour (*see note)
- 1 cup (120 gr) all-purpose flour
Note: There are a lot of in depth details in the written post about how I make these cookies. I highly suggest reading through it if you have the time.
- Brown the Butter: At least several hours before baking the cookies, cut the butter up into small pieces and put it in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt and start boiling. Stir frequently until the butter turns golden brown and smells nutty. Pour the brown butter into a bowl and set aside to cool until solid.
- Toast the Pecans: Put the pecans in a dry pan and place over medium heat. Stir frequently for a few minutes until the nuts smell toasty. Remove from the heat to cool before making the dough.
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 ºF (180 C). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the cooled & solidified butter and dark brown sugar on medium/high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add Egg and Vanilla: Add the egg and the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- Add Dry Ingredients: Mix in the baking soda, baking powder, and salt until evenly distributed. Add the flour and ground oats or oat flour to the mixing bowl. Mix until just absorbed, only about 15-20 seconds. You don't want to over-mix the dough.
- Add Mix-Ins: Add the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and the chopped pecans. Fold in until evenly distributed. The dough will be very thick.
- Scoop rounded mounds of dough (about 3 TBSP each) and place on the prepared baking sheets.
- Garnish: Top each cookie with a few more chocolate chips or chocolate pieces and sprinkle with some coarse salt.
- Bake one sheet pan at a time for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are set and the centers look slightly under baked. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the sheet pans before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Store cooled cookies in an airtight container for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Prep Ahead: You can make the dough and scoop into cookies and freeze them. Store in a freezer ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Bake the frozen dough balls at 325 F (160 F) for 16-18 minutes.
*You can make homemade oat flour by putting rolled or quick oats in a food processor and pulsing until a coarse meal.
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Amount Per Serving:Calories: 486