Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies (Chewy Soft Bake)
Chocolate chip cookies were my first baking obsession. Thanks to a penchant for Pepperidge Farm Montauk cookies (discovered during a trip to Miami), they were the one thing I really wanted to get to grips with when I first became seriously interested in baking. I don’t mean the crunchy, Maryland packet-type cookies. I mean the big, soft-baked monsters sold in paper bags at bakery counters. Studded with chunks of chocolate and sometimes nuts – you know the kind. I’ve been making various versions for years, but I have long since settled on the version below. The beauty of it lies in the fact that substituting cocoa powder for some of the flour effortlessly transforms these into double chocolate chip cookies, without affecting the outcome of the cookie. For a long time, I added melted dark chocolate as well as cocoa powder, but this naturally altered the structure of the cookie; it became drier, quite puffy and crumbly. Very nice, and effective for certain chunky bakes (such as my Bounty Cookies). Personally however, I like my standard classic cookies to be big, fairly flat and chewy. Not to mention a total breeze to make. If you do, too, then look no further.
Makes 10 large cookies. They taste brilliant with a scoop of ice-cream or a glass of milk!
You will need one or two large baking sheets, lined with baking paper.
150g unsalted buter, softened
75g soft light brown sugar
100g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
200g plain flour (or for double chocolate cookies, use 160g and 40g cocoa powder)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
200g chocolate chips or chopped chocolate – dark/milk/white – your preference; or use half chocolate, half nuts. (Reserve 50g for studding the cookies before they go in the oven)
Preheat the oven to 190c/375f/gas mark 5. First, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt (plus cocoa powder, if you’re making double chocolate cookies) and set aside.
In your mixing bowl, beat together the butter and two sugars. When it looks quite pale and creamy, add the egg and vanilla and beat just until it is well mixed.
On the lowest speed, slowly add the flour, bicarb, salt and cocoa powder (if using). Beat for a few seconds between scoops.
Once all the flour has been incorporated, you can add the chocolate chips (reserving 50g). It is best to mix the chips in with a wooden spoon, unless you trust your mixer not to fall apart. You can just about see above, I used milk chocolate chips for the regular cookies (left) and white chocolate chips in the double chocolate cookies (right).
The cookie dough must be chilled for a bit before going in the oven. I like to form the cookies by using my trusty ice-cream trigger scoop – fast, accurate and perfectly formed! It holds 60ml, so if you don’t have one, you can just use a 1/4 cup measurement instead; or just form 10 equally sized cookies with your hands. The tops should be only very gently patted down – don’t make any attempt to really flatten these, as they will spread naturally. Place them on a plate or whatever fits in your fridge; it doesn’t matter. Let them chill for 15 minutes, then carefully place on your baking sheet (I bake them in two batches), allowing plenty of room for spread. Gently stud the cookies with the remaining 50g of chocolate chips – sometimes the chocolate chips get lost in the cookie, this way ensures you can see some chocolate in the end result!
Bake in the centre of a preheated oven for just 11-12 minutes. The edges should look golden and a bit wrinkly. The middles will look quite underdone, that is perfect! They will firm up to a chewy stage as they cool. Don’t be tempted to overbake! Allow to cool for about 20 minutes on the baking sheet before sliding carefully on to a cooling rack. Cool thoroughly – at least 40 minutes – then store in an airtight container. They will keep nicely for a few days, but frankly are unlikely to last that long.