Recipe Review

One Writer Tested 400 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes to Find the Perfect One. But Is It Actually Good?

updated Mar 11, 2021
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Credit: Meghan Splawn

The quest for a perfect chocolate chip cookie never seems to end. Here at Kitchn we’ve hunted down the best basic chocolate chipper as well as the very best high-effort version, and it’s safe to say that almost every staffer has their own favorite recipe. So when The Takeout writer Lillian Stone claimed to have unlocked the secrets to a “perfect chocolate chip cookie every time,” I had to try it out for myself.

Stone set out by making two variations of the same cookie dough — one with barely melted butter, inspired by this Dear Chrissy recipe, and one with browned butter, inspired by a Bon Appetit recipe — and then experimented with how each batch was affected by aging (how long the cookie batter was chilled before baking). She claims to have tested nearly 400 cookies in the pursuit of this “white whale.” By the end, she had created a hybrid recipe composed of her favorite techniques from all of her trials.

When I tried the cookies my results weren’t perfect, but Stone’s recipe might be for you if your heart (and appetite) are set on a particular cookie perfection.

How to Make The Takeout’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

What makes the perfect cookie? Stone is up front that her ideal chocolate chip cookie is crisp — almost toffee-like on the edges — but still chewy and a bit soft towards the center. Her two takeaways from her exhaustive research was that better chocolate chip cookies start with melted butter and only get better, in both texture and flavor, with an aging period of 1 hour to 24 hours.

Here’s how she makes the “perfect” cookie: Stone’s recipe starts by barely melting 2 sticks of butter in the microwave. As the butter cools, you’ll round up the usual suspects of flour, baking soda, and salt for a dry mixture. Then, both brown and granulated sugars are beaten with the cooled butter before adding eggs and most notably apple cider vinegar. In all the text that prefaces the recipe, she never addresses the reason for the vinegar, but, in baking theory, it should work with the baking soda to give the cookies a little bit more rise in the oven, which can make for fluffier, but not chewier or crisper cookies.

After the dry ingredients are added, we get to the chocolate chips. Stone’s recipe calls for both chips and bar chocolate cut into chunks. She doesn’t specify which type of bar chocolate, so I went with semi-sweet bars. After mixing, the dough is scooped and chilled for at least an hour but up to 24 hours before baking. Baking happens quickly at just 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

My Honest Review of The Takeout’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Here’s the thing: my ideal chocolate chip cookie is more soft baked than crispy, and while I do enjoy a chewy cookie, these cookies were just not perfect for me. My current favorite recipe happens to be a screenshot text from a friend that calls for much more flour and zero waiting. It bakes up with a crisp edge but with a thicker body that stays soft for days after baking. But these cookies do produce a thin cookie with a crispy, caramelized edge and a soft buttery interior, and they are packed with chocolate, so if that’s your thing, this is a perfect recipe to try. I did bake one-hour-aged cookies and 24-hour-aged cookies side by side and really couldn’t tell the difference, which is a very good thing if you can’t wait a whole day for chocolate chip cookies even if they meet your platonic ideal.

While I personally won’t be making Stone’s cookies again, there’s a lot to learn from her experiment. If you have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that gets you close to your craving, it’s best to experiment with tweaking one ingredient or technique at a time. Stone, for example, experimented with melting and browning the butter, finding the perfect cooled temperature to deliver her favorite variation on this classic cookie.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Two Tips for Making The Takeout’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The good news about this recipe is that it’s perfect for fans of thin, crispy chocolate chip cookies. Here’s are some tips to make your life easier when you decide to make them.

  • Melt half the butter. This is the part where I reveal my lack of patience, but if you melt half the butter and add the other half of the butter at room temperature, your butter will cool faster, which means you’ll be eating cookies sooner.
  • Chop the chocolate very finely. My chocolate chunks were too large, which resulted in a few cookies whose entire bottom was chocolate. While delightful, this made them harder to pick up and eat, given their thin shape.