This is a journey that every baker must take. It is a noble search into the world of cooking and recipes: finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. The ideal cookie is simple and varies often by personal preference. However, there are six main components to any good chocolate-chip cookie: flour, sugar, eggs, fat, raising agent, and mix-ins. Below is a summary of your main options for each of these factors, as well as some variations.
1) Flour: There’s not much room for variation here. All-purpose flour works about as well as anything else; however, if you’re bored you can try using bread flour or cake flour, which will change the texture of the cookie.
2) Sugar: This is where you can start to personalize. There is, of course, white sugar, but for a more complex (and delicious) caramel-rich flavor, you can use light or dark brown sugar. By using these sugars to create your own mixture, you can personalize the taste of your cookies until they match your ultimate personal preferences.
3) Eggs: They help to bind your cookies together and are important to have in your cookie. If you can’t eat eggs, you can always use an egg substitute. This can be purchased or made from scratch in your kitchen.
4) Fat: Fats are essential in creating the perfect cookie. The two main options we have are butter and oil. Oil is often faster and can be considered easier, but it tends to leave a bit of an oily taste in your final cookies. Note, however, that the after taste will vary based on the type of oil used. Butter tends to taste best, and, if you have time, you can try browning some butter (cooking it until it turns brown to develop a deeper flavor).
5) Raising Agent: Baking powder or baking soda are the two most viable options. They both have the same active ingredient - bicarbonate soda. However, baking powder also has the cream of tartar which results in a fluffier, better-risen cookie. A raising agent isn’t entirely necessary for a good cookie, but it creates a texture that most people find preferable.
6) Mix-ins: Chocolate of some form is, of course, the first thing that comes to mind. The classic chocolate chip is an excellent option; however, chopped up chocolate would be even better. The variation in size is good for texture, and some of the chocolate melts into the cookie dough — which is never a bad thing. Keep in mind that cookies can be diversified beyond chocolate. Dried fruits and candy are great substitutes. In other words, be creative! The world of cookies is vast, and it’s yours to explore as you see fit.
Here’s a basic recipe that you can use with your newfound inspiration to create the ultimate cookie.
1 ¼ cup brown sugar, packed (265 g)
½ cup butter (115g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (155 g)
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ chocolate (220g)
Salt (for topping the cookies)
1) In a large bowl, melt the butter, and continue cooking until it begins to turn brown.
2) While the butter is cooking, chop up the chocolate.
3) Add the sugar to the browned butter and whisk until a paste forms with no lumps.
4) Whisk in the egg and vanilla, beating until light ribbons fall off the whisk and remain for a short while before falling back into the mixture.
5) Sift in the flour and baking powder, then gently fold the mixture with a spatula. Be careful not to overmix, which would cause the gluten in the flour to toughen resulting in cakier cookies.
6) Fold in the chocolate chunks, then refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes. The longer the dough rests, the more complex its flavor will be.
7) Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
8) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
9) Scoop the dough onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet with an ice-cream scoop, leaving at least 4 inches (10 cm) of space between cookies and 2 inches (5 cm) of space from the edges of the pan so that the cookies can spread evenly. Sprinkle each cookie with a little salt.
10) Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges have started to brown.
11) Cool completely before serving.