I am on the hunt for the best chocolate chip cookie, and that means im currently on a diet solely consisting of cookies and milk. Is it even possible to find the one perfect recipe? Well i'm about to find out, I've partnered with Guittard Chocolate to go on a cookie adventure. This is the first in a six part series where I am putting some of the internets most popular recipes to the test to see if I can find the best one out there. Since we are talking the best, I thought it smart to start with the original, the cookie from which all other cookies sprang, the Toll House Cookie. Surprisingly I have never made this recipe despite its enduring popularity, but I put that down mainly to location. In the UK our knowledge of the recipe might stop at the episode of friends where Phoebe claims her grandmother invented the cookie (and yes the episode is definitely worth a rewatch), I'm not even sure I had a homemade chocolate chip cookie until I was in my late teenage years.
So what makes this recipe special? Why is it so popular? Well, to start with its been around a long time. The story goes that Ruth Wakefield invented the recipe in the 1930's when she owned the Toll House Inn, supposedly she wanted to make a chocolate cookie and chopped up a bar of dark chocolate and mixed it into her cookie dough. She was surprised to find that upon taking the finished cookies from the oven the chocolate had stayed in pieces. She loved the recipe, named them Chocolate Crunch Cookies and from their the recipe spread through the local community and then through the media and over the years it became what is surely the most popular chocolate chip cookie recipe out there. The interesting thing to note is that the cookie follows a lot of principles we use for cookies today and the resulting recipe is pretty similar to a lot of other cookie recipes out there, it definitely feels like the kicking off place for a lot of different chefs.
The ingredients are fairly standard, using plain/AP flour, baking soda, butter, caster and light brown sugar, vanilla, eggs and of course chocolate chips. The suggested size of the cookies is much smaller than average and due to the high ratio of white sugar (compared to most cookie recipes that use more light brown than caster) we can expect these cookies to be on the crisper side, which as anyone who loves cookies knows is a topic of controversy. Crisp or Chewy is the eternal cookie question after all. I will say my preference is a little crisp around the edges with chewy and soft middles. The original recipe also includes the option of chopped nuts but personally I like my cookies unadulterated so its pure chocolate for me.
Toll House Cookie Recipe
2 1/4 cups 315g plain/all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks 225g unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup 150g granulated/caster sugar
3/4 cup, packed 165g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 oz 340g chocolate chips - I used Guittard 66% chips (see note below)
Preheat the oven to 375F 190C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugars until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat briefly to combine. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until fully combined before adding the second. Gently mix in the flour mixture, just until combined then briefly mix in the chocolate chips, until evenly distributed.
Form into tablespoon sized portions (I like to use spring loaded ice cream scoops for this, they come in all different sizes and make this job much easier and quicker) and place on the prepared baking trays, a couple inches apart.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the trays for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
First off, this recipe makes a whole lot of cookies, 60 of them! These are so much smaller than todays cookies but the batch of dough roughly the same that this recipe churns out a lot of cookies so it would be great for a party. The cookies have a real crisp base and sides, have that real classic cookie flavour and because its a simple flavour the flavour of the chocolate really shines through. For my tastes they fall a little too far on the thin and crispy style of cookies but I can absolutely see why these are so popular, theyre incredibly simple to make, have a lovely flavour and for a lot of people who grew up on them, that will add a huge nostalgia hit and with baking that can never be underestimated.
Note: When it comes to chocolate chips not all are born equal. When looking to buy a chip for these cookies you need to have a look at the ingredients list. There should be nothing but chocolate, no vegetable fats, no oils nothing but cacao beans (in the form of solids, butter), sugar, vanilla and soya or sunflower lecithin, anything else added means it shouldn't be considered a quality dark chocolate and the taste and melt will be affected.