Now I know there are as many opinions about what is the best chocolate chip cookie as there are chocolate chips out there. Many swear to the classic Nestle Toll House, others to shop bought Maryland cookies, and I for many years, swore to the version my mum makes. My mum’s chocolate chip cookies are still amongst my most frequent bakes- it’s a fool proof, infinitely adaptable basic chocolate cookie. Funnily, the first few times she made it, I never cared for it much. It was fine – but nothing to write home about. Then all of sudden, I loved them. The reason? She had been converted, by my food-tastic auntie, to butter. I grew up having butter on toast, but baking was normally done with margarine. The day my mum made those cookies with butter, was the turning point – margarine has never been bought again. The change in flavour, in texture and looks was amazing.
The cookies I am making here, are slightly different. They are the more mature older brother of my mum’s cookies. For once when baking, I followed a recipe to a T. And I would strongly recommend you do the same. At least the first time – then experiment if you want, the next time around. For me, these need no tinkering. They are chocolate chip cookie perfection – and no more fiddly than my mum’s. The recipe comes from a blog I have read for years – David Lebovitz’ – he’s a former pastry chef turned cook book author and also food / travel writer. His blog is well worth a visit; his writing about his life in Paris and all his travels is amazing. And of course, there’s the occasional star recipe there too.
Adapted, only slightly, from David Lebovitz’ recipe. Original recipe found here.
I used vanilla paste instead of extract – you can also use vanilla sugar, just remove the same amount of white sugar if you do.
I always use salted butter in my recipes. If you use unsalted, add a pinch more salt. The salt really adds another dimension the chewy sweetness of these.
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Set oven to 175 fan / 18o degrees C.
120g salted butter, soft (room temperature)
100g brown sugar
100g white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used paste)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
200g chopped dark chocolate
1 cup chopped toasted nuts (optional) (I used around 75 g)
Place the butter and sugars in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking soda. Stir into the wet until just combined, then add chopped chocolate and nuts. Stir until combined and the chocolate and nuts are evenly distributed.
IF YOU CAN: I strongly recommend chilling the dough for at least 4 hours. The flavours meld together and develop into something different. I like to rest mine overnight – the dough is easy to whip up in the evening, then you can bake the next day.
They can also be baked straight – but rest it for around 10 minutes in the fridge stiffen the dough slightly. To bake, prepare your baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats. Form balls around 2 cm diameter, and place evenly on the baking trays.
Bake for around 10 minutes (depending on your oven – keep an eye on the first tray). Rotate the tray halfway to ensure an even bake. When they look set, remove from oven and tap each cookie with a spatula. Sounds weird I know – but it really helps give you that chewy centre!
Return to oven and bake for about 2 minutes until golden brown around the edges.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Try not to eat all of them in one go.
The cookies keep for about 1 week in an airtight container in room temperature (although I doubt this will be a problem).
The dough also freezes beautifully for up to 2 months so you can make the full amount of dough and only bake the amount you need.