They’ve won blue ribbons and been gushed over by cute guys and moms alike. My chocolate chip cookies have always been my go-to “secret weapon”. Whether I was looking to impress a new guy as a teenager, or a new moms group now, I always turn to my perfect, fluffy, ooey-gooey bundles of joy! Throughout the years I’ve been approached and asked if I’d share the “secret recipe” to my Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies — which always makes me laugh, and you’ll understand why in a minute!
However once I got to thinking about it I came up with 5 Secrets that I use to make sure my cookies turn out so awesomely delicious each time I bake them. I decided the perfect chocolate chip cookie is too great a gift to be kept from the world, so here, once and for all I give you:
5 Secrets to Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
1. Use The Nestle Toll House Recipe
See? I told you that you’d laugh! Did you ever seen the Friends episode where one of the girls Grandmas had just died and left just one batch of her famous “secret recipe” chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer? It went something like this, if memory serves correctly: the girls spend the entire episode trying to recreate the “family secret” recipe by taste testing to fail miserably. By the end of the episode they realize that Grandma got the recipe from “Monsieur Nest Lee Tollhouse” Yepp–they baked the recipe on the back of the package and there were the secret recipe cookies. Well, let’s just say it’s famous for a reason! 😉
2. Use the High Altitude Version – No Matter What
Now here’s where the secrets come in! Growing up in Wyoming I always cooked using the high altitude variations. When I moved to Washington DC as a newly-wed I decided to switch over to the “normal people” instructions, and everything kept failing miserably. As soon as I switched back to my regular instructions from high altitude, my cookies turned out perfectly once more. Yes folks–even at the dead of sea level on the beach in North Carolina, I used the high altitude recipe and it works a million times better–just trust me on this one! Also very important--follow it *except for* the part where it says to add the water in, don’t do that! Don’t ask me why not–I think I never added it out of laziness something, but trust me it works!
Tips #3 and #4 go hand in hand with each other and in my mind are the two most important secrets to perfect, fluffy cookies, so I made you a quick tutorial video to go along with the written tips! It’s super duper short so go ahead and watch it!
3. Make Sure the Dough is the Right Temperature
Having your cookie dough be the right temperature is critical to whether you’ll end up with perfect, fluffy cookies or flat, runny, crispy cookies. If (like me) you’re always forgetting to set the butter out to become room temperature and you soften it in the microwave there’s a good chance your dough is going to be way too hot when you first mix it up. If you find that your cookies are sticking to your hand when you try to roll them out (super important step! See #4 for more information why) it’s an easy indicator that you need to stick them in the fridge to chill. I usually try it for 8-10 increments until I can roll the cookies and find that nothing is sticking to my hand (as I roll them into balls). If the dough gets too cold you’ll end up with the funky lumpy cookies where the sides run out and there’s a big ball in the middle–so you don’t want that either. If you find they’re too cold just let them sit out at room temperature for a bit–but as I mentioned, this shouldn’t be a problem after 8-10 minutes!
4. Use Your Hand to Form Perfect Little Balls from the Cookie Dough
This is most critical because it’s super hard to tell if the dough is the right temperature if you are using a cookie dough scoop or a spoon. However it’s also important because the way I get my puffy cookie look is by forming these perfect little guys! Take your palms facing each other and roll the dough until it forms! Remember–no sticking allowed! And yes–please wash your hands thoroughly before and after each batch!
No you’re ready to plop these little guys onto a cookie sheet and into the oven they go!
This isn’t a secret but don’t forget to pull them out when the center no longer looks “wet”. You want them a little dough-y and not too brown as they’ll continue to bake a little as they cool off. The bottoms should just slightly be turning brown.
5. Adjust Your Heat
Say you’ve followed all the tips above, and your cookies are still turning out far from perfect-what then?! One important thing to consider is how your oven “cooks”. Does it cook hot, just right, or cold? What I mean is, when you bake things do you usually burn them and have to decrease the time, do they turn out just right, or do you find yourself adding extra time on?
I fought with my baking my cookies in my moms new oven when I went home for visits until I figured out that it actually “cooks cold”. By adjusting the temperature up 20 degrees I ended up with perfectly puffy cookies once more! The oven here is “just right” so I get perfect cookies at 375 and 9 minutes. Each oven really is different, so play around until you find your “sweet spot”.
There you go–you are now well on your way to creating Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies! Let me know if you have any secrets I missed, or if you have any questions!