Food

Here's How To Make The World's Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies

Real talk: These cookies are what dreams are made of.

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I've had a lifelong obsession with chocolate chip cookies, but I've never settled on one recipe that I thought was the absolute BEST.

Here's what I love: crispy edges, a chewy interior, ample chocolate, and flaky sea salt on top. I also want there to be a butterscotch-like, toffee flavor throughout.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

BUT. I also know that what ~I~ think makes the best chocolate chip cookie isn't necessarily true for everyone else. So, to figure out where most people stood on the Cookie Debate, I baked 10 different batches of cookie classics — from the New York Times' top pick to the nostalgic Nestlé Toll House version — and held a blind taste test for 40 of my co-workers.

Here's what I learned: Of those 40 people, many agreed with what I like in an ideal cookie: crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. But there were others who preferred other kinds of cookies.

Those included a bakery-style cookie that is soft throughout; a crispy cookie that doesn't have any chew; and a cakey cookie that has a domed shape and a cake-like crumb.

With all that in mind, I took away some key lessons from the cookie taste test about cookie-making and set about creating my own four ideal cookie recipes.

It took a ton of testing and retesting to get them exactly right — all told I made 38 batches (that's over 900 cookies!) over three months — but I came away with ~four original recipes~ that cover every cookie category:

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Not sure which one you'd like best? Take this chocolate chip cookie quiz to help you pick your favorite.

I also delved into the science behind the ingredients in chocolate chip cookies — or: what makes them taste SO DAMN GOOD and why.

First up? My personal favorite — the crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside ~ultimate~ version:

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Find the full recipes for this cookie and the three others — cakey, crispy, or bakery-style — at the bottom of this post.

Here's what you'll need to make them.

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

I recommend measuring everything out in advance so that you don't need to stop and scramble to get something together in the midst of making your cookies.

These are the tools you'll need to make the cookies. A cookie scoop is optional (you can always eyeball the dough), but it does make portioning easier.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Note that you don't even need an electric mixer. That's because — game changer! — you'll be using melted butter, so all you need is a whisk.

And BTW, If you have a flexible silicone spatula, this is a good time to use it. You want one with curved edges so you can scrape every last bit in the bowl. I love these two.

2. Next, melt the butter.

You'll want it to be at room temperature, so either let it sit for a while, or microwave 1 1/2 of the sticks and then stir in the remaining 1/2 stick. This should cool it to the right temperature pretty quickly.

3. Then, stir both sugars together in a large bowl. Use your whisk to break up any clumps.

If there are any stubborn clumps, use your fingers to get them out. The melted butter will also dissolve some of the little hard bits.

4. Add the melted butter to the sugars, and then whisk vigorously for about 1 minute. The mixture will form one mass and start to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Don't forget to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything's fully incorporated.

5. Add one of the eggs to the sugar-butter mixture and whisk until it's mixed in.

Don't forget to *scrape the sides of the bowl* before you add the second egg.

8. Use your spatula to get to the bottom of the bowl in case there are any pockets of flour. Once it's all stirred in, use your spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl.

10. Then, let the dough chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up a bit.

This way it's easier to scoop and it lets the flavors meld so you get that bangin' toffee taste.

11. Now, scoop the dough.

I love using a 2-ounce cookie scoop because it makes each cookie evenly sized and shaped, but you can also use a ¼-cup measure, or you can just eyeball it. You can fit about 5 or 6 scoops on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

12. At this point, you can prescoop all the dough and let them chill out in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Scoop them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and wrap the whole thing tightly with plastic wrap.

Lindsay Hunt / BuzzFeed

The longer you let the dough sit, the more intense the flavors. Also, the cookies bake more evenly, and have a deeper golden-brown color.

13. Before baking, sprinkle the cookies with some flaky sea salt.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Flaky sea salt, also called finishing salt, are big flakes of salt that remain in their original pyramid-shape. The large flakes give you an intense hit of salt when you bite into the otherwise sweet cookie.

14. Bake the cookies at 375º F for 10 to 14 minutes. They're done when the edges are set and the cookie is beginning to turn golden brown throughout. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

There's no need to rotate the pan, since the cookies are in the oven for such a short amount of time. (That is, unless you know your oven has some really intense hot spots, in which case, rotate at about 8 minutes.)

Oven temperatures vary wildly, so if you don't have an oven thermometer already, I recommend buying one. (This one works well.) The most important step in baking cookies is keeping an eye on them and checking to make sure they don't burn. If your oven runs really hot, they could be done in close to 10 minutes.

DON'T FORGET! If this type of cookie isn't your jam and you prefer a cakey, bakery-style, or crispy cookie, you can get the recipes for those, too.

Here are the recipes for these three versions:

Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soft, Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you're still not sure which one to make, take this quiz to find out your signature style.

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Makes about 24 cookies

Recipe by Lindsay Hunt

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature (8 oz/226g)

1¼ cups packed light brown sugar (9 oz/250g)

¾ cup granulated sugar (6 oz/175g)

2½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled *(see note below)* (10.5 oz/300g)

1½ tsp kosher salt or ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

12-ounce bag (2 cups) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Flaky sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Whisk both sugars in a large bowl and make sure to break up any large chunks. If there are any stubborn lumps, break them up with your fingertips. Add the melted butter and whisk vigorously for about 1 minute, until the mixture forms one mass and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula.

3. Whisk in one egg to the sugar-butter mixture, stirring until it's fully mixed in. Scrape the sides of the bowl with your spatula. Whisk in the second egg and the vanilla and scrape the sides of bowl again.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with the spatula to fully combine. Make sure you've scraped the bottom of the bowl and there are no streaks of dry ingredients left. Stir in the chocolate chips.

To bake right away: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Refrigerate the dough for at least 10 minutes while the oven preheats, then scoop the dough in 2-ounce portions with a cookie scoop (or you can measure out ¼ cup/4 tablespoon scoops with your hands) and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake the cookies 3 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet (about 6 cookies per baking sheet) for 10 to 14 minutes, until the edges are set and the cookie is beginning to turn golden brown throughout. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To bake after the dough rests (recommended): Scoop the dough into 2-ounce portions with a cookie scoop (or you can measure out ¼ cup/4 tablespoon scoops with your hands) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Wrap the baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 3 days. You can also freeze the chilled balls of dough in an airtight zip-top bag for up to 1 month.

Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Sprinkle the dough with flaky sea salt and bake 3 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 12 to 16 minutes, until the edges are set and the cookie is beginning to turn golden brown throughout. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

One note about measuring flour:

When you're making these cookies, make sure to use the spoon-and-level method of measuring flour.

This means that you stir the flour with a spoon to aerate it, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Level it off with the flat side of a knife before pouring into your mixing bowl. (You can also check out this King Arthur Flour post for a helpful step-by-step video.)

Of course, if you have a digital scale, that is the best way to bake accurately. (And you don't even need to get out your measuring cups!) There are both ounce and gram measurements in the recipe below.

If you're making a batch, show off your cookies on Instagram with the hashtag #buzzfeedcookiebakeoff!

Instagram: @lindsaymaitland