The chocolate chip cookie recipe that everybody loves! Learn how to make Classic Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies from scratch.
Chocolate chip cookies (& their many varieties) are the most popular cookies in the United States. They all consist of a simple butter cookie with chocolate morsels or chunks mixed into the dough. Today, there are an infinite variety of flavors, textures, and sizes of chocolate chip cookies and the perfect chocolate chip cookie really depends on personal preference.
- Thin crispy cookies vs. chewy and thick cookies vs. soft cakey cookies
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips vs. chopped dark chocolate vs. milk chocolate
- Softened butter vs. melted butter
- Dark brown sugar vs. light brown sugar
- Nuts vs. no nuts
Origin of Chocolate Chip Cookies
In 1939, Ruth Wakefield gave Nestlé the rights to her cookie recipe and the Toll House name for reportedly $1 and a lifetime supply of free chocolate. Since then, every bag of Nestlé Chocolate Chips that is sold in North America has a variation of Ruth Wakefield’s original Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe printed on the back of it.
The Key Ingredients in Chocolate Chip Cookies
These ingredients are crucial to make the very best chocolate chip cookies.
- Butter: Before using, remove the butter from the refrigerator at least 1 hour ahead of time and let it come to room temperature.
- Sugar: Classic chocolate chip cookies should always be made with a combination of white sugar and brown sugar. Brown sugar gives the cookies their distinct “toffee” flavor and chewiness, while granulated sugar adds sweetness.
- All-purpose Flour: Use unbleached all-purpose flour. Make sure that you measure out your flour correctly. I recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh the flour for the most accurate measurement. The most common culprit for thick, dry cookies that did not spread properly is adding too much flour to the dough.
- Chocolate Chips: The original Toll House cookie was made using a chopped Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar but has since evolved to using semi-sweet chocolate chips or morsels. I like to use Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips.
What’s the Secret to Making the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies?
The secret to the best American-style chocolate chip cookies is to use a technique similar called the creaming method. Here, I’ll show you how to implement it when making chocolate chip cookies.
The amount of creaming affects the texture, leavening, and spread of the cookies. Unlike cakes, only a small amount of creaming is needed when making cookie dough. Over-creaming the butter may result in a cookie that spreads too much during the baking process.
- Measure out ingredients accurately and make sure all ingredients are room temperature before beginning.
- Place the butter and sugars in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or use a hand mixer. Cream the butter and sugars at low speed until the mixture resembles a smooth paste.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract and blend at low speed.
- Sift in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix or gluten will develop and the cookies will be tough.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Drop the cookies on a prepared baking sheet using a cookie scoop. Allow enough space between each cookie for spreading.
- Bake until the cookies are golden brown with firm edges and slightly soft centers.
Pro tip: Note the importance of Step 2. Creaming the butter and sugar at low speed will help the cookies retain their shape, not spread too much, and prevent a dry and crumbly texture.
Adding nuts: If you would like to incorporate nuts into the dough, slightly cut back on the amount of chocolate and replace it with your choice of chopped nuts. My favorites are walnuts or pecans.
Make ahead: The cookies can be shaped and frozen unbaked. Freeze on the baking sheet until solid, then store in a freezer bag. Bake directly from frozen adding 2-3 minutes to the total baking time.
Storage: Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Butter, especially unsalted butter, is the preferred fat for chocolate chip cookies because of its flavor and melt-in-the-mouth quality.
Too much spread can be caused by a few different reasons.
1. The baking temperature was too low
2. Not enough flour
3. Too much sugar
4. Over creaming the butter and sugar
5. Adding too much leavener (baking powder or baking soda)
6. Too much liquid in the dough
To prevent flat cookies, make sure that you measure all of the ingredients accurately and bake the cookies in a preheated oven.
The main reason chocolate chip cookies are hard is because there is too much flour in the dough. Another reason may be that the cookies are overbaked.
More Cookie Recipes You'll Love!
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Classic Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Kitchen scale
- Stand mixer
- Cookie coop
- Baking sheet
- ½ cup butter room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the softened butter and sugars in your mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, cream the ingredients at low speed. Cream the ingredients until the mixture resembles a smooth paste.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and blend at low speed until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.
- Finally, stir in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed throughout the cookie dough.
- Use a medium size cookie scoop to drop 2 tablespoon-sized dough balls onto parchment lined baking sheets. Place the cookie dough balls 2 inches apart (no more than 8 cookies per tray). Bake the cookies in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly underbaked.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Adding nuts: If you would like to incorporate nuts into the dough, slightly cut back on the amount of chocolate and replace it with your choice of chopped nuts. My favorites are walnuts or pecans.
- Make ahead: The cookies can be shaped and frozen unbaked. Freeze on the baking sheet until solid, then store in a freezer bag. Bake directly from frozen adding 2-3 minutes to the total baking time.f
- Storage: Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.