As a baker, the question I get asked most often is, "What's your favorite thing to bake?". Well, the answer is quite simple, really... my favorite thing to bake is my favorite thing to eat! I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to sweet treats, mostly because I'm really not that into sweet treats. (Yep, I said it.) Don't get me wrong, I like a good breakfast pastry every now and then, but when it comes to desserts and snacky things? I'm satisfied with a handful of fruit, or a few pieces of a chocolate bar. But, I also love a good cookie... they're simple, and quick to make, and I don't feel toooooo bad eating a handful of them. So a simple batter, with some pieces of chocolate scattered throughout - that's my favorite thing to bake!
While I was working on the new blog layout, I realized that my recipe for chocolate chip cookies is kind of outdated! I've tweaked it a bit since that was posted, and since it's a weekly staple in our house, I thought I should do you all a favor and give you the updated recipe. The old one is good too, but I think the new one is better. The major differences are - a higher baking temperature, a little bit more flour, and homemade brown sugar. Yeahhhhhhhh.
I was telling Shawn this morning that I make some kick-ass recipes, but I am not a food photographer. I really just shudder at the thought of staging food for the sake of photography - there's nothing at all wrong with food photography! I'm amazed by the photos other people take for their recipe posts, but the whole set up is just not my idea of a good time. And this has kept me from posting as many recipes as I would like to. I feel like every year I make a grand statement that I'm going to post more recipes, and every year I fall flat because my pictures just aren't good enough. You know what? I have to get over that. So, I'm not going to go out and buy a bunch of plates, napkins, and utensils to make my photos fancier, so what? I feel like there's kind of an appeal to just seeing a big pile of cookies on a plate, or dinner rolls still cooling on the pan they were baked on. My photos may not be anything special, but you can bet your ass the recipes that accompany them are well worth making!
Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup homemade* brown sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy and pale yellow in color.
Add the egg and vanilla extract, mix until fully combined.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, then mix those into the batter until just combined.
Mix in the chocolate chips.
Scoop dough into 2-tablespoon sized balls, flatten them slightly with your palm, and place them in rows about 2 inches apart on your prepared sheet pans. I usually fit 15 on each of my pans.
Bake for 12 minutes - well, that's the magic number with our current oven. Do a test batch, and adjust the time as needed if you want them more or less crispy. I judge by color, so I look for a pale golden brown and then I pull 'em. Let them cool on the sheet pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack... or straight into your mouth.
The cookies keep well over night when stored in an airtight container, though honestly, if you have any left over, you're really not living life correctly.
Wanna know a secret? The un-baked dough keeps really well in an airtight container stored in the fridge. When you're ready to bake 'em, just set up your sheet pans and let the dough come to room temperature while your oven preheats, then bake as directed. If you're like us, you'll just have a constant batch of cookie dough on hand for those days when you feel like baking a few off on a whim....
* You don't have to use homemade brown sugar... but it's so easy to make, so why wouldn't you?!
Here's how you do it: Combine 1 cup of white sugar with 2 tablespoons of molasses, and let your mixer/hand beaters/whatever beat the two together until next thing you know, you're looking at beautiful fluffy brown sugar. If you want darker brown sugar, add a touch more molasses. Lighter brown sugar? Well, you'll have to start over for that one ;) And that's it! You can even make a larger batch ahead of time; just store it in an airtight container and give it a shake before you use it. I don't buy brown sugar anymore unless I'm in a pinch, or need a ton of it!