Food Stylist-Approved Chocolate Chip Cookies

published Dec 8, 2022
Food-Stylist Approved Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

These cookies are a labor of love, but believe us when we say that they taste as good as they look.

Makes24 (4-inch) cookies

Prep40 minutes

Cook1 hour

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Overhead photo of chocolate chip cookies on a cooling rack
Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

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In my career working in bakeries, fine-dining restaurants, and on set as a food stylist, I’ve made, eaten, and been enraptured by my fair share of cookies. And while I enjoy and appreciate a wide range of sweets, it’s hard to beat a well-made chocolate chip cookie.

After years of tweaking and tinkering, I’ve created what I consider to be the perfect chocolate chip cookie (bold claim, I know). They’re crispy along the perimeter, yet still soft and chewy in the center; they’re packed with chocolate; they have the ideal salty-sweet balance; and they taste as good as they look. Making baker-approved chocolate chip cookies does take a bit more time and attention to detail, but the payoff is well worth it. Here’s what you need to know before embarking on your chocolate chip cookie adventure.

Yes, You Should Rest Your Cookie Dough. Here’s Why.

I learned about aging cookie dough when I worked as a baker. I will never forget an employer getting upset about a batch of dough not having rested for two days. At the time I thought it was an overreaction, but I can now see why the concern was justified.

Resting the dough in the fridge for a couple of days helps hydrate the dry ingredients and makes sure the butter is firm. Why does this matter? Properly hydrated cookie dough will brown beautifully, which will give the cookies a rich, caramel-y flavor. A rest will also help create the different texture zones — that crispy ring around the edges and the soft, yielding center — that are one of the hallmarks of a next-level chocolate chip cookie. The firm butter that’s created after a thorough chill will help your cookies keep their shape as they bake.

Baby Your Butter

In this recipe I call for partially melting the butter in the microwave, which might feel a little persnickety, but has a purpose. In restaurants and bakeries, you often temper the butter, which means heating it slowly and carefully until it’s smooth but not fully melted. To make this recipe, you don’t need to use the microwave. Over a stovetop works, too. The bottom line? Don’t melt it all the way.

Two Flours Are Better than One

I call for two kinds of flour in this recipe: bread flour and all-purpose flour. The bread flour, which is higher in gluten than all-purpose flour, will also help give the cookie a nice chew. Combining it with all-purpose flour will make sure it’s also tender, but not too tender.

Adjust the Heat

These cookies are baked at 325°F for six minutes, then 350°F for six minutes. Why? Starting off with a lower temperature gives the cookie a chance to spread, and the higher temperature expedites the browning process.  

Two Chocolates Are Better than One

I don’t have any science behind the mix of chocolate I use in this recipe. Calling for the two different chocolates comes from a place of pure indulgence. If you’re going to dedicate a couple of days to chocolate chip cookies, I feel like you should go all out. I’m a big fan of Vahlrona dark chocolate feves (small chocolate disks) because they have a deep, rich flavor and melt like a dream. I add in some high-quality dark chocolate chips for a different look and texture. You can play around with the right chocolate mix for you. Try chocolate chips and a roughly chopped chocolate bar, for example.

After the dough is portioned, I press more chocolate into the top of each dough ball. Those bits will melt beautifully on the top of the cookies as they bake, creating the chocolate puddle look you see at many high-end cookie shops.

Give Your Pan a Rap

You might have heard about pan-banging cookies, a technique where you rap the cookie sheet on the counter midway through baking. It deflates the cookie slightly, which creates wrinkles on top of the treat. Those wrinkles look fun and also add an interesting textural variation and give the centers a pleasantly dense quality. (P.S.: This technique is also a great way to create super-fudgy brownies.)

Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

The Secret to Perfectly Round Cookies

Looks are important in bakery and restaurant cooking, but the visual stakes are even higher when you’re a food stylist. I’ve made tons of cookies for photos shoots, including some for Kitchn, and during that time I’ve picked up lots of tricks. One trick I use here is placing a large metal biscuit or cookie cutter over the cookies mid-bake and moving it in a circular motion. (This is a case when a picture is worth a thousand words, so see the photo above.) As the soft cookie gently rattles against the cookie cutter the edges smooth out, giving it a perfectly round, photo-shoot-worthy look. Add a sprinkling of flaky salt (another food stylist trick, that also happens to taste great, too) and these cookies are definitely ready for their close-up.

Food-Stylist Approved Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

These cookies are a labor of love, but believe us when we say that they taste as good as they look.

Prep time 40 minutes

Cook time 1 hour

Makes 24 (4-inch) cookies

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks

    plus 7 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 10 ounces

    dark chocolate feves, discs, or bars (about 2 cups), such as Valrhona 70%

  • 1 3/4 cups

    bread flour

  • 1 3/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1 1/2 cups

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 9 ounces

    bittersweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 cups), such as Ghirardelli 60%

  • Flaky salt, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place 2 sticks plus 7 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Place 2 large eggs on the counter. Let both sit at room temperature until the butter is softened.

  2. Leaving a few whole, break or chop 10 ounces chocolate feves or discs that are larger than 3/4-inch in half, or coarsely chop 10 ounces chocolate bars.

  3. Place 1 3/4 cups bread flour, 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon baking soda in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  4. Microwave the butter in 10-second increments until about half of it is melted, 10 to 30 seconds total. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Add 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar and 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes. Increase the speed slightly and beat until light and fluffy in texture, similar to frosting, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl.

  5. Add the eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl again. Add half of the flour mixture, drape a kitchen towel over the mixer to keep the dry ingredients from flying out, and beat on the lowest speed until mostly combined. Add the remaining flour mixture, cover again, and beat on the lowest speed, then medium speed, until just combined, about 30 seconds total.

  6. Add 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 cups) and 3/4 cup of the chopped chocolate. Fold in by hand until combined.

  7. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Use a 2-inch wide ice cream scoop (about 1/4 cup) to scoop the dough onto the baking sheet, doing your best to scoop so that there are pieces of chocolate at the top of each scoop. The dough balls can be close together on the baking sheet, just not touching. Top the cookies with the remaining chopped chocolate, gently pressing it into the dough.

  8. Completely wrap the baking sheet in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 days.

  9. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

  10. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time: Place 6 of the dough balls on the baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart (keep the remaining in the refrigerator). Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 6 minutes.

  11. Bake for 6 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet from front to back. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 6 minutes.

  12. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and give it a careful yet assertive tap against a heatproof surface, then place it on the surface. Working with one cookie at a time, fit a 4-inch round cutter over the cookie. Move the cutter in a circular motion to gently push the edges of the cookie toward the center to shape it into a more uniform round.

  13. Return the cookies to the oven and bake until the cookies are set and just barely starting to brown on top, 3 to 4 minutes more at 350ºF. Give the baking sheet another assertive tap or two against the work surface.

  14. Garnish the cookies with flaky salt. Let cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes. Using a flat, wide spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool for at least 5 minutes more before serving. Turn the oven temperature back down to 325ºF before baking each batch and use a cooled baking sheet.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The scooped cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the frozen cookie dough in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

Storage: Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.