The Secret to the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Photo credit: Serena Park

The perfect chocolate chip cookies.

Serena Park, Copy Editor

The chocolate chip cookie is the quintessential baked good. With ooey gooey pieces of perfectly melted chocolate, a crisp exterior and soft, yet somehow chewy interior, the chocolate chip cookie never disappoints. As an avid baker myself, I have been on the hunt for the secret to the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

While it’s certainly easy enough to go out to your nearest grocery store and pick up a tub of Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie dough, baking these classic cookies from scratch creates a deliciously rewarding result. With a few commonplace ingredients and simple instructions, a batch of these cookies can be scooped and in the oven in no time.

But what is the secret behind the perfect chocolate chip cookie?

Every chocolate chip cookie recipe contains the same basic ingredients: flour, sugar, egg, an oil, a leavening agent, salt, and chocolate. But even the slightest variation of just one of these key ingredients can make all the difference in the texture, shape, or flavor.

Let’s break it down.

First ingredient: flour. Flour is the base of the cookie, and most recipes call for all purpose flour. This usually only varies for different dietary restrictions or health concerns, and is most commonly substituted with almond flour as a gluten free alternative.

Next up: sugar. The two most common sugars in chocolate chip cookies are white sugar and brown sugar. For a classic chocolate chip cookie, recipes typically use a 50/50 ratio for these two sugars. The amount of each sugar, of course, tweaks the level of sweetness of the cookie, but playing around with the ratio also yields difference in texture. Brown sugar, with its molasses content, can create a chewier cookie.

Moving on: oil. Butter is the most common form of oil in chocolate chip cookies. But even with this one ingredient the slightest variation can yield very different results. Softened butter creates cakier cookies, while melted butter yields denser cookies. Browned butter (butter that is gently cooked on the stove until a light golden color), however, adds a wonderful, nutty toffee flavor to the cookie.

Lastly: leavening agent. The two typical leavening agents in chocolate chip cookies are baking powder and baking soda. But what’s the difference? Baking powder creates a lighter cookie than baking soda, as baking soda produces a chewier cookie.

But what does the perfect chocolate chip cookie have?

Troy High School senior Kathy Yang says “[her] ideal chocolate chip cookie has crispy edges and a chewy center. There is no better way!”

However, Rosary senior Elleene Kim ’21 insists, “The perfect chocolate chip cookie is soft and cakey, but not dense.”

My search to discover the secret to the perfect chocolate chip cookie has come to an end. There is no singular ingredient or method behind perfection of this cookie. Ultimately, the secret behind finding the perfect combination of ingredients to make the perfect chocolate chip recipe comes down to personal preference.