cookie recipes

How to Make Basic, Great Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted May 24, 2015 by Stephanie
chocolate chip cookies -

chocolate chip cookies -

I recently got a sunny yellow background for photos and I’ve been playing around with it – something about yellow makes me absurdly happy. Which is funny because Mike has a yellow car, but I’ve been after him to paint it white. People are always waving us down while we’re in it; they think we’re a taxi even though our car looks nothing like a taxi. But that’s not the real reason I want him to paint it. It’s because bugs are absurdly attracted to what appears to them to be a giant yellow flower. I have fear of insects. I always say I’ll get over it and be a real grown up, but so far, no dice.

chocolate chip cookies - chocolate chip cookies -

Yellow cars and bugs aside, here are some chocolate chip cookies. I, like everyone else on this planet, am obsessed with them. They’re one of the first things I ever made (and failed at) so I know how daunting it can be to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie. First off though, we have to agree on what the perfect chocolate chip cookie is. Is it thick and chewy? Thin and crispy? Does it have a warm brown sugar flavor or more of a vanilla scented white sugar? Butter or shortening? Chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, or straight up chopped up chocolate? There are so many, many chocolate cookie recipes out there that it’s hard to figure out which one you should go for.

chocolate chip cookies -

At the heart of it, chocolate chip cookies are just: butter, sugar(s), eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate. It’s funny how those simple ingredients can come together in so many different ways. These cookies, found in the lovely Tara O’Brady’s book, Seven Spoons, are lush and thick with plenty of chew. They come together very easily and bonus: you don’t need to wait for your butter to come to room temperature – instead it’s melted before mixing with the sugar.

chocolate chip cookies - chocolate chip cookies -

After the melted butter and sugars are mixed together, eggs are mixed in, one at a time. Vanilla is added and then you mix in the flour (which you would have previously whisked with the baking soda, powder, and salt). This is the point in which I think a lot of potential cookie mistakes happen. Instructions generally say to mix until just combined. Which is great if you’ve made a ton of batches of cookies in your life. But if you haven’t, it’s kind of hard to surmise what “just combined” means. Personally, I like to mix until most of the flour clumps are gone, but the dough is still dusty looking, a la the picture on the left. At that point, I add in the chocolate and mix some more until everything has just lost the dusty sheen. Over-mixing makes cookies tough and no one likes a tough cookie. I wish you only soft and chewy cookies…unless you like the crispy ones. In that case, I wish you crispy cookies…really, I just want cookie happiness for everyone!

chocolate chip cookies -

Basic, Great Chocolate Chip Cookies via Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady
makes about 28 cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chopped
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons medium-grain kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • flaky sea salt to finish

Preheat the oven to 360°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over the lowest heat possible, stirring occasionally.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and whisk in the sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until just combined. Stir in the vanilla. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir in the dry ingredients until barely blended. Stir in the chocolate.

Refrigerate for 5 minutes then roll into 3 tablespoon balls and arrange on the prepared pans, leaving 3 inches between each cookie. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake until the tops are cracked and lightly golden, 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes, the move to a wire rack to cool completely.

chocolate chip cookies -

chocolate chip cookies -


  1. Hannah says:

    Bless you for saving the Internet from all-white photo backgrounds!

  2. A few years ago, I went through a phase where I baked so many different versions of chocolate chip cookies that my freezer was jam packed with at least 6 different varieties at one point. I wish I had this recipe to try out as well – softening butter and trying to “cream” it with sugar when you don’t have a mixer is makes for a lot of guesswork. I love the idea of melted butter as it seems to work pretty well with brownies! I may have to try these out this weekend for my sister’s wedding shower. :)

  3. Love the background! More importantly, love these cookies–they look soooo good right now :)

  4. That yellow background is beautiful! I love that you chose to photograph the happiest topic in the world of food, chocolate chip cookies, with it!

  5. I am loving the bright yellow background! I might have to invest in some bright colors here soon too. Also, these cookies look amazing!

  6. I love yellow too! And the colour makes your photos so summery! Also, these cookies are fat and fabulous…I need to make this recipe!

  7. Hey girl– do you mean 1 3/4 cups flour, not 3/4 cups? My normal cc cookie recipe is about 3 cups flour to 1 cup butter. I started this making this recipe, and got a super soupy batter/dough, and realized it must be a typo??

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      NOOOOOO! i’m so sorry! it IS a typo! it’s 3 1/4 cups. thanks for letting me know – i fixed it. i hope the cookies turn out okay!

  8. I figured it out! Cookies are great! :).

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      whew! thank goodness!!!!

  9. Alana says:

    I will forever protect you from bugs! I’m only afraid of bees and wasps. The rest don’t scare me :D.
    LOVE LOVE LOVE this share. I’ve been dying to make a good batch of chocolate chip cookies. Making these asap!!

  10. Totally loving the yellow. I makes me happy! But the bugs = hmmm. That wouldn’t make me happy probably. These cookies look divine. I never melt the butter for cookies, but think I need to try that ASAP!

  11. Only you are talented and bold enough to pull this off!!

  12. These cookies look pretty darn perfect, if you ask me (and not just because I’m hungry). I wonder if you could make it all directly in the saucepan , like with brownies, since the first step is to melt the butter. I see many cookie experiments in my future ;)
    P.S. Love the yellow & hate insects

  13. Kyra says:

    These look delicious!

  14. Caitlin says:

    I prefer to bake by weight, so I did conversions to weight which is what I normally do. It was an absolute disaster! I have never made cookies that went so incredible wrong – one sheet of very thin mess. Next time will stick to recipes with weights!

  15. Wow I love the yellow backgroun! It’s so vivid! Plus what could possibly make me happier than a yellow background? Maybe a yellow car..

  16. Abby says:

    I ADORE this background, Stephanie! It’s so bright and cheerful.
    And OMG these cookies! I need! <3

  17. Summer says:

    Stephanie, you are bold as heck, the yellow is awesome! I would never have the balls to pull off something like that, haha. Also love these cookies and the flaky sea salt on top, they look so amazing and chewy and addictive. Can’t wait to see you next week at the saveur event!

  18. You are so right about yellow! I used to live in Costa Rica, and you do not, I repeat NOT wear a yellow shirt in the rain forest!

  19. Ok A of all, the whole Mike has a yellow car setup is comedic gold. Yellow makes you happy? People thinking you guys are a cab? Insects attracted to you? IT’S SO FUNNY. Lololol. B of all, I love a lush chewy cookie!! These sound absolutely perfect. Cannot wait to try.

  20. YOU KNOW I LOVE ME SOME CHOCO CHIP COOKIES! these look so perfect! the yellow car taxi cab waving down thing made me laugh out loud!! mike, come pick me up and take me to phomh penh!! haha… XO (love the yellow backdrop! i have some pink and blue i bought last fall too – i will give you some!)

  21. monica says:

    I love the yellow, but I’m curious about the pink! Is that one of those silicone spoon-spatulas? If so, what brand and where did you get it??? :) thanks!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      it is! i got it for a dollar at diaso, that japanese dollar store :)

  22. Karishma says:

    The yellow is great! I love how bold it is.

    A good chocolate chip cookie recipe is so handy to have!! My friends and I usually go with the one on the back of the tollhouse chocolate chip cookie bag, it’s definitely a classic + a keeper. But these look equally as scrumptious! I love how dark the cookie dough is.

  23. Gaby says:

    This looks like a great cookie recipe! Can’t wait to try it!

  24. kero says:

    1) These look delicious! and 2) The happy yellow background will definitely make this recipe standout on my Pinterest board. =D

  25. ~ Carmen ~ says:

    Love the yellow background, definitely happy-inducing. The cookies look AMAZING!! :]

  26. A says:

    As long has you have melted butter in a saucepan, why don’t you use brown butter? I’ve never met a cookie that wasn’t better with brown butter.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hey amelia,
      i like brown butter too! tara suggest lightly melting the butter because the cookies need the water content that’s burned off if you brown. with that said, i think someone has tried this recipe with brown butter and it worked!

  27. kaytothecity says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous photos! I look forward to browsing through your posts :)

  28. N8 says:

    These were fantastic, you can really undercook them and they set up great. (just how I like them)

  29. Elm says:

    After following i am a food blog for a few years, I was super excited to try this recipe. The cookies turned out so great!!

    I made a few substitutions due to not having ingredients/Celiac (I used about 1.4 cups of tapioca flour and 1.85 cups of brown rice flour, and 1 cup of light brown sugar with 1 cup of dark brown sugar) and browned the butter a bit more than the recipe called for. No issues with any of those things and I now have a plate of crispy, chewy cookies.

    10/10 would recommend. :) Thanks for posting this recipe!

  30. Tara says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of trouble with the recipe when converted to weight — just to let folks now, the recipe is in weight in the book, and I use 4.5 ounces of flour as 1 cup. I hope that helps, and many thanks to Stephanie.

  31. Nicole says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! Have you ever tried doubling it before?

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      i haven’t tried doubling it, but i did halve it once and it turned out great! hope that helps.

  32. Roy says:

    What does “Roll into 3 tablespoon balls” mean?

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      the cookies (before baking) are 3 tablespoons of dough each. measure out 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball before placing on the baking sheet and baking. hope that’s a little more clear!

  33. Sierra says:

    This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever made! I have been taste testing a lot of recipes and this one is by far the best. I used dark chocolate disks made for melting and ended up with only 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar (because I ran out). Thank you for posting!

  34. Hannah says:

    My cookies turned out so doughy and heavy. could you recommend what i did wrong?

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hi hannah,
      there are so many things that can happen with cookies – did you sift your flour before measuring? did you over mix? you want to stir in the flour until it’s barely combined, basically until the streaks of flour just mixed in. if you let me know more about what you did i can try to troubleshoot.

  35. Sien says:

    I’m in love with these cookies!! I already tried a lot of recipes to make those , they always taste different! I must try this one out to see which ones are the best.

  36. Sien says:

    I’m in love with these cookies! I already tried a lot of recipes to make those. They always taste different! I must try this one out to see which ones are the best.

  37. Annie says:

    I made these, the only thing I changed was using 2 tablespoons for one cookie instead of 3. (that would be one really big cookie) I ended up with 30 amazing, chocolatey, chewy cookies. The only thing I would change would be to add only one teaspoon of salt instead of 1.5, as because they were a bit too salty for my taste.
    Other then that, these were so good. Much better than the ones on the back of the Toll House chocolate chip bag!

  38. randy says:

    What kind of choc. chips are those? They look sort of like couverture chips.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hi randy, you’re right, they are!

  39. LOL people waving down MIke’s car … yay for going yellow!! You know how stuck I am in white. I’m inspired to try changing it up and stop being so lazy, haha… these cookies look amazing. I love how you experiment with style/backgrounds n stuff. xo

  40. Daphne says:

    Even though chocolate chip cookies are the most basic cookie recipes of all time, I somehow can never get it to be the PERFECT version for myself. I tried adjusting other people’s recipes but it never felt like it was my true chocolate chip cookie. After reading this post I thought I should give this one a try as well, mostly because of the cute yellow photo backgrounds :) I have to be honest, this recipe is the one I liked best so far. The texture is just right, I love it when the cookie is not too soft but still soft. My normal preference for cookies is hard and crispy, but chocolate chip cookies are an exception. I like them when they are soft and combine with the melted chocolate inside it. I usually use smaller pieces of chocolate chips, and for this one I used the same, but I added more to match the amount of chocolate. And for an extra amount of sweet fantasy, I dipped half of the cookie in melted chocolate and it turned out to be the food of my dreams. Thank you for sharing this recipe, it definitely made me want to read all of your blogs!

  41. elle says:

    Just wondering if the oven temperature is 350 or 360? Above it says 360?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi elle,
      it’s 360!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

$(function(){ var trigger = $('.hamburger'), overlay = $('.overlay'), isClosed = false; () { hamburger_cross(); }); function hamburger_cross() { if (isClosed == true) { overlay.hide(); trigger.removeClass('is-open'); trigger.addClass('is-closed'); isClosed = false; } else {; trigger.removeClass('is-closed'); trigger.addClass('is-open'); isClosed = true; } } $('[data-toggle="offcanvas"]').click(function () { $('#wrapper').toggleClass('toggled'); }); bindBehavior.subscribe(); });