Food Highlight

Harness the history of the Chocolate chip cookie

By Elliot Kantor

In 1938, Ruth Graves Wakefield was working in the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts, serving home-cooked meals. She invented the chocolate chip cookie, and it was an instant success. She traded her recipe to Nestle for a lifetime supply of chocolate. Fast forward to today, there are 109 million results on Google for chocolate chip cookies. The point is, every single recipe came from that original recipe (and there’s a lot of controversy over which version was the original). When learning a new recipe, it’s usually a good idea to start with the basics. That’s why I suggest by starting with the recipe on the back of a pack of chocolate chips (or my own recipe by clicking here). There are two ways to influence the outcome of the cookies: the technique and the ingredients. Surprisingly, the technique matters just about as much as the ingredients themselves. In fact, I tested three chocolate chip cookie recipes against each other, in blind taste tests, and the results were completely inconclusive. Using the data from ChefSteps’ Ultimate Average Cookie spreadsheet, I tested everything from broiling cookies to melting the butter. The following is my chosen recipe for cookies, based on ease of cooking and flavor.

When learning a new recipe, it’s usually a good idea to start with the basics. That’s why I suggest by starting with the recipe on the back of a pack of chocolate chips

Melt one stick of butter (and don’t let it explode). Add one cup of sugar and a bit of molasses (or almost all brown sugar). Add ½ tsp baking soda and ¾ tsp table salt and whisk to combine. Let it sit for a minute and whisk again until it’s thickened. Add an egg and whisk, then add one and a half cups of flour and a cup of chocolate chips. Refrigerate, then bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes or until cooked.

That’s about the easiest version I know. As long as you refrigerate the dough, melting the butter should not make the cookies flat and gross (I know from experience). You can add a tablespoon of cornstarch to make thicker, slightly cakey cookies. Add a splash of milk to make thin and crisp cookies or use less butter for thick, bakery-style cookies. And if you do all that and it still just doesn’t taste like the store-bought stuff, try refrigerating the dough at least overnight for the flavors to blend together. Finally, never forget a light sprinkle of flakey (not table) salt right after the cookies come out of the oven!

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