This is a classic chewy chocolate chip cookie that is the basis for all other cookies on this site. It's got a mild nuttiness from brown butter paired with a sweet brown sugar butterscotch flavor. Texture-wise, this one has a chewy interior to contrast with a nice crispy edge. You can customize the chocolate type but I prefer a mix of semi-sweet chips with chopped dark chocolate.
You’ll want to make these if you prefer a chocolate chip cookie that:
I have a few chocolate chip cookies on this site. To choose, concentrate on the texture and flavor of your ideal cookie. Try not to think about the chocolate chips or other add-ins (toffee, etc.) as we can customize this for any of my recipes. Generally, my cookies have an average ratio of chocolate (or add-ins) where you will get a nice amount of cookie dough with a bit of chocolate in every bite.
Unsalted butter is the primary source of fat in this recipe. In this recipe, we’ll brown the butter, which melts the butterfat, evaporates the water, and toasts the milk solids. This toasting is done via the Maillard reaction, which releases flavorful compounds into the butterfat from browning the milk proteins. I also tend to use unsalted butter in most baking applications because salted butter varies in salt concentration and when used in large quantities.
Brown sugar is the primary type of sugar, which contains a small fraction of molasses, giving it that brown color and richer toasty flavor. The ratio and types of sugars are important in chocolate chip cookie recipes because they will dictate the spread of the cookie as well as the final texture. Generally, a higher amount of brown sugar to white, causes a cookie to have a chewier texture, such as this cookie. This recipe is written for dark brown sugar, but you can sub light brown sugar too. It will have a lighter molasses flavor and a lighter final color when baked.
White sugar is the second type of sugar. It provides sweetness, a bit of spread, and also a bit of structure.
Water is added to replace the water lost during the browning process. Without adding this small amount into the cookie dough, the final cookie ends up being a little too dry.
Vanilla extract and salt are the flavoring ingredients.
Baking soda is an alkaline powder, which does a couple of things. It reacts with acidic ingredients in recipes (in this case, brown sugar) to create carbon dioxide gas, which expands tiny air bubbles and gives a slightly aerated texture. It has a greater effect, however, on the browned exterior of the cookie. Baking soda increases the rate of the Maillard reaction, which is the browning and toasting of proteins when exposed to sugar and heat.
An egg is added to the cookie dough for structure and moisture.
All-purpose (or plain) flour is the starch in this recipe and gives the cookie structure. You can use either bleached or unbleached flour, but I tend to use unbleached in all my recipes as I prefer the flavor.
Chocolate chips and chunks add bulk and structure to the finished cookie. This recipe uses half chocolate chips and half chocolate chunks from a solid bar.
Chocolate chips come in many varieties, but for the most part, these chocolates are manufactured with a special formulation of fats (instead of just pure cocoa butter) that helps the chips retain a classic “drop” shape even after high baking temperatures. This also makes them slightly cheaper than real chocolate products. I like to use semi-sweet chips from Costco in my cookies.
For chocolate chunks, you’ll need a bar that will be chopped into ¼-inch chunks. Because of its cocoa butter content, this type of chocolate melts more easily at baking temperatures. This melts into irregular globs within the cookie dough, but upon cooling, these globs will solidify, creating delicious creamy pockets of chocolatey goodness. The type of chocolate is purely your preference, but I usually do a combination of milk and dark chocolates. My favorite type of chocolate bar comes from Trader Joe’s.
Please note that if you use all chips in this cookie, you will get a more compact, smaller, and taller cookie than mine. Remember, this is because the chocolate chips aren’t going to spread at all, so you can smash the dough balls slightly before baking, or just bake as is. They are still delicious.
Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C and line a baking sheet with parchment (1a).
Chop your chocolate bar into chunks (1b).
Grab your (heatproof) mixing bowl for either your stand or hand mixer and set that aside for now. Add the butter to a light-colored pan and melt on medium-low heat (2a). Once the butter has melted, and started foaming, and use a heat-proof spatula and stir and scrape the sides and bottom of the pan (2b).
Once you start to see the milk proteins turn light brown, turn off the heat and continue to stir until the proteins turn medium brown (2c). Immediately pour the melted butter, scraping the milk solids from the pan and into the bowl (2d).
Add the brown (3a) and white sugar (3b) to the melted butter. Stir with a spatula for about 20 seconds (3c). Adding the sugars directly to the hot butter brings the temperature down so it doesn’t cook the egg in the next step.
Add the water, vanilla, baking soda, and salt (3d). Mix (either stand or hand mixer) for 4-5 minutes on medium-high speed (3e). You should have an emuslified butter-sugar mixture with no fat separation that looks like this (3f).
Add the cold egg (3g) and mix on medium speed for another minute (3h). The mixture will be slightly lighter in color and just a bit thicker (3i). It will still be quite runny though.
Do this step by hand. Pour in the flour (4a) and use a spatula to stir in (4b). Stir in the chocolate chips/chunks (4c).
Scoop the dough into 2 tablespoon portions (also labeled #30 scoop) about 2 inches apart (5a). Bake for 9-13 minutes. (BTW that's an extra bowl of chocolate chips to decorate the tops before baking.
While they’re hot from the oven, you can use a small bowl or round cookie cutter to create a more circular cookie by sliding the cookie around inside the ring (5b). Allow to rest on the sheet for about 30 seconds, then move to a cooling rack (5c).
My cookie dough can be baked right after mixing.
Some chocolate chip cookie doughs require refrigeration prior to baking. This can be either because the dough is too soft to bake (and would otherwise melt in the oven) or to “allow the flavors to mature.”
I’ve tested this, and while this definitely works on some doughs, mine does not benefit much on the flavor front when rested overnight. It does, however, alter the texture just a little bit. The exterior bakes up more shortbread-like and the interior has a softer texture. This is in contrast to the cookie dough that is baked immediately after baking, which has a chewier internal texture. I go more into the science of this in my video below, if you’re interested.
If you would like to store these cookies for later, just mix everything together in the recipe outlined below and portion the dough into dough balls (I like 2 TB size), and place them on a tray until cold. When firm, add them to a zip-top storage bag for up to a month in the fridge or a few months in the freezer.
I don’t have much time to test equipment outside of recipe development, so I rely on either Wirecutter or America’s Test Kitchen to sort those things out for me.
I have two of their top pans for cookies. Vollrath Wear-Ever sheets are my favorite as I've had mine for about 15 years. They are unrimmed and have a super large surface area so that I can bake up to 10 of these 3 ½ cookies at once. The cookies come out perfectly baked with golden bottoms. This pan is super sturdy and does not warp. They are expensive, but if you are a serious baker that’s devoted to improving their cookie game, this cookie sheet is well worth the investment.
My second choice are the NordicWare pans. I use to bake my thin cakes in and they also are of excellent quality. These are considered jelly roll pans though, because they are rimmed. They do, however, come in different sizes, but for most American home ovens, a good size to get is the half sheet. You should be able to do about 6-8 cookies at a time, no problem.
I research and develop everything on this site using weights (in grams), so they are listed first in the recipe card. Measuring by weight is the best way to replicate my recipes. This is particularly important with fluffy ingredients such as flour, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar.
For measurements under 5 grams, I will typically only list the volumetric measurements (teaspoons, etc.) as most home scales are not precise enough under that weight.
I have converted grams to volumes (cups, teaspoons, etc.) for American bakers who prefer it. These are not as precise and may have awkward proportions (such as ½ cup + 1 tablespoon). However, they still work.
This is the OXO scale I use daily. I also purchased this budget version of a good scale, which I keep at my Mom’s house for baking. If you’re interested in other tools I use for my baking, I’ve compiled a list here.
The cookies are best enjoyed within 24 hours of baking. During this time, they will maintain their crispy exteriors and chewy interiors. You can also save these in an airtight container for a few days, but after the first day, any remaining moisture from the centers will migrate to the surface so that it will no longer have that crispy texture. Instead, you’ll have a chewy cookie, which is also delicious.
Additionally, you can scoop the cookie dough and fridge it in its raw state so that it can be baked at a later time. Or you can take it one step further and freeze little portioned-out dough balls and then place them in a zip-top bag in the freezer for at least a few months. You can bake the frozen dough balls, but allow the dough to come to room temperature before baking.
*If you choose to use all chocolate chips, no matter what flavor, your cookies will not spread as thin as mine in the pics above. The fats contained in chocolate chips are formulated to hold their shape during baking temperatures. Cookies with all chips are smaller in diameter and slightly thicker. It's still yummy, but watch your baking times as they will also change.