Tips for the perfect chocolate chip cookies

(Did I write an entire post about chocolate chip cookies? Yes, I did. No shame. Read on.)

In the past few months, I’ve been determined to perfect my Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. Here’s my gripe: Don’t you feel like you follow the recipe, but get different results every time? Sometimes the cookies puff up and taste too floury, and other times, they go completely flat, which I consider embarrassing. (I won’t even give away a batch of lifeless cookies—THE HORROR. I would rather throw them away, eat the cost, and try again.)

Well Internet, I’m proud to say I have finally found the secret! The last three—count ’em, THREE—times I’ve made cookies, I’ve nailed the recipe. The cookies are just the right amount of fluff, combined with the right amount of gooeyness and crisp brown around the edge. They are everything Nestle Tollhouse ever intended the recipe create. Just look at these bad boys…

Now I will tell you my secret: It’s the butter. The recipe has EVERYTHING to do with the butter. None of the margarine/crisco/butter cream crap. You need the real deal. And, it has to be UNSALTED. No joke, salt will ruin your cookies.

If you have room temperature butter, great. Consider yourself one step ahead. If you’re like me and you don’t think ahead, put the butter sticks into the microwave with the seams up (weird, I know) for 15-17 seconds. No more. If the butter starts to melt in any way (as opposed to the intended softening), get new sticks of butter and start over. I swear that’s critical!

Also, when the recipe says cream the butter, sugar and vanilla, you should really cream them. No half-ass stirring—if you have a KitchenAid mixer (we’re lucky enough to have one, thanks to the Floms!), use that to its full extent. I find you should add the eggs one at a time, creaming well after each one. I never pre-mix the flour, baking soda and salt. I add the salt and baking soda first, and then add the flour one cup at a time.

Lastly, if you’re baking at high altitude, make sure to follow the high altitude steps… sugars decrease to 2/3 cup, and flour increases to 2.5 cups. It says add a tsp. of water, but I don’t do that.

By the time you finish with the batter and stir in the chocolate chips, the dough should barely stick to the sides. If you put the batter on the cookie sheet with your hands, it should just barely stick to your fingers. (Can you tell I make a lot of cookies?) Also, experiment with your cookie sheets. I find that I have one set of cookie sheets (the Wilton cookie sheets from Bed Bath & Beyond) that works GREAT for cookies, and the other ones we have don’t yield the same results. It’s crazy. After you’ve preheated the oven to 375 degrees, leave them in there for 9.5 minutes—that’s how long it takes my oven. I recommend setting the timer for 9 minutes, checking them after that, and letting them go however long they need until they’re done to your liking.

Follow these steps, and I’m pretty positive you’ll have the best batch of cookies ever. And couldn’t we all use a cookie every now and then?

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