Recipe Review: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Of all the goods to bake, my favorite has always been chocolate chip cookies. When I was in elementary school, my dad and I spent hours perfecting Alton Brown’s “The Chewy” recipe for a baking contest I had entered, so baking them always brings back fond memories. Also, who doesn’t like a chocolate chip cookie? They release endorphins in everybody’s brains. They’re a universal symbol for happiness on par with a smile. Every baker needs a consummate chocolate chip cookie recipe in their arsenal, and I’m looking for mine.

Alton Brown’s recipe was my go-to for years, but now I’m interested in trying other recipes and seeing how they measure up (pun intended). There might be a better recipe out there, but I won’t know unless I start baking new ones. So in an effort to find the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe, today I’m trying America’s Test Kitchen’s “Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie” recipe.

If you have extrapolated that I prefer a chewy chocolate chip cookie to a crispy chocolate chip cookie, congratulations on your superb inferencing skills! You are correct. I have no time for a crispy chocolate chip cookie. I want it to be soft and melt in my mouth, and I will not be including crispy cookie recipes in my search.

Along with my search, I will be reviewing and documenting my findings. Was the recipe easy? Are there parts I would change? How does it taste? Would I bake it again? I will answer all these questions and more in each review. So, without further ado, here is my recipe review:

The Recipe: This is an easy recipe to follow and execute, as all chocolate chip cookie recipes are. It uses standard ingredients and doesn’t take long, but there are some things I would change:

The recipe notes in the ingredient list that the butter needs to be melted and cooled, but it does not state in the instructions when to melt it. It would be helpful to include a step instructing the baker to melt the butter right after preheating the oven, just to be sure the butter has cooled before it’s to be used.

This recipe’s goal was to recreate the cookies found at boutique caf├ęs. Not just in taste and texture, but in aesthetic, too. In an effort to do so, it instructs the baker to separate the dough balls and rejoin them with the jagged sides facing out. It warns, however, to not press down on the jagged sides when combining back into a ball, as this will ruin the craggy look for which they’re aiming. I followed this step for the first batch, but it was awkward and morphed the dough balls into dilapidated lumps, so I skipped that step for the second batch. It made not a modicum of difference in appearance. This recipe has mostly dry ingredients, and little is binding the dough together, so the cookies are going to look craggy as is. This step is more work than it’s worth.

The Taste: The taste might be the best part of this recipe. The flavors are balanced and encompass all those of a classic chocolate chip cookie: sweet, rich, buttery, salty, and, most importantly, chocolatey. And, thanks to two tablespoons of its extract, a delightful hint of vanilla. All of these flavors whirl in my mouth as I chew, making the cookie thoroughly enjoyable to taste.

The Texture: These cookies are thick and chewy, just as the recipe’s name indicates. There’s a crisp on the edges that offers a nice contrast in texture without compromising the chewiness. However, they’re still not as soft as I’d like, and they’re a little dry. I’m after a perfect balance of chewiness, softness, and moisture.

Overall: Would I use this recipe again? Yes! Is it the best recipe out there? No, I don’t think so. There’s got to be a recipe in existence that yields a perfect soft-and-chewy, sweet-and-salty chocolate chip cookie.

That being said, what recipe should I try next? Do you have a favorite I should try? I’d love to hear your suggestions! Like I said, I absolutely love baking chocolate chip cookies.