Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

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When I first came up with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge, it wasn’t because I had an awesome chocolate chip cookie (CCC) recipe I wanted to show off. In reality, I didn’t even have a go-to recipe. That just doesn’t seem right for such a classic dessert!

I challenged six other food bloggers to share their favorite CCC recipes with us. Once their posts started coming in, I  just wanted more, so I opened it up to the public and hoped that it would get people baking.

And then I realized…I should probably be sharing my favorite CCC recipe too! So the challenge did get at least one person baking – me! I did a lot of Googling and kept coming across the same recipe over and over. Have you heard of the New York Times’ chocolate chip cookie recipe? I’d read about how it was supposed to be the perfect CCC recipe and mentally added it to my to-bake list, but never got around to it.

Then I found it on all sorts of great blogs: Tidy MomRecipe GirlThe Little KitchenGood Life EatsTwo Peas and their Pod. They all said the cookies were excellent, even if some weren’t prepared to call them the best ever.

I am prepared to call them perfect chocolate chip cookies. What makes a perfect CCC? A thick, soft, cookie with a crispy edge and lots of chocolate chips. These have a sprinkle of sea salt on top which enhances the sweetness. I love how these come out really soft and almost like they’re slightly undercooked in the middle, but still have a nice crisp when you first bite into them.

The recipe has a few unique traits, one of which you need to know up front: it recommends you refrigerate the dough for 24-36 hours. I know, that is a long time to wait for cookies. As you can see in the photo below, there is a noticeable difference between baking immediately and waiting a bit. They spread less, making a thicker and softer cookie, and also brown more evenly. Letting the dough rest allows the dry ingredients to soak up the wet ones and gives a better consistency. Apparently even the original Toll House recipe chilled the dough overnight.

Here’s the thing: I didn’t taste a huge flavor difference. The cookies are supposed to have a “richer, more sophisticated taste, with stronger toffee hints and a definite brown sugar presence.” I didn’t get that, but I did like the overall result in texture and flavor. I think I’ll try refrigerating for just a few hours next time and see if that’s enough.

The recipe also calls for 3.5 ounces of dough – the size of a “generous golf ball.”  I tried using 3.15 ounces, which made huge 5 inch cookies that were a little big for me (above you can see one – on a dinner plate!). I ended up trying 2 ounces, which still had a crispy edge and a thick, soft middle, without being too much to eat in one sitting.

So you’ll need a few things for this recipe – a kitchen scale will certainly help you, but if you don’t have one, just try to make them all the same size (a bit smaller than a golf ball). I love my cookie scoop and it’s just about the right size for these.

These nonstick baking mats are great for any baking (although parchment paper works too). Finally, instead of all purpose flour, you’ll need bread flour and cake flour. Oh, and you’ll need patience, but unfortunately you can’t really buy that.

My final tip for you – when you add a sprinkle of sea salt, add some additional chocolate chips on top of the ball of dough (as seen above). I learned this from Recipe Girl and I’ll never make CCCs again without doing it. It makes them look picture perfect!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 18 huge cookies or 31 regular cookies

Adapted from the New York Times


  • 8 1/2 ounces (2 cups minus 2 tablespoons) cake flour
  • 8 1/2 ounces (1 2/3 cups) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (I used Kosher salt)
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) light brown sugar
  • 8 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces (1 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 10 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
  • Sea salt for sprinkling


  1. In a large bowl, combine both types of flour with baking soda, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and both types of sugar together on low/medium speed (I was on 4) for around 5 minutes (until mixture is very pale in color).
  3. Add 1 egg and mix on low until combined. Add second egg and repeat. Mix in vanilla. On the lowest speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined (5 to 10 seconds). (Note: I add to add the flour in a few smaller batches so it wouldn’t spill over while the mixer was on. You could also stir it by hand.)
  4. Add chocolate chips and stir with a large spoon until they are distributed throughout dough.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing it against the top of the dough. Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven 350°F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  7. Scoop dough onto a kitchen scale until you have 2 ounces. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with a dash of sea salt. Optional: Press several chocolate chips onto top for a picture-perfect cookie.
  8. Bake 15-18 minutes, until light golden brown. Place cookie sheet onto a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  9. Repeat baking steps with remaining dough or refrigerate and bake remaining batches later. Dough will keep for up to 72 hours from when it was prepared.

43 Comments on Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Traci D. Haley
    August 14, 2012 at 10:28 am (10 years ago)

    Almost all my drop cookies get dished out, then stuck in the freezer for about five minutes before baking. You might try that and see if you get the same result — it’s usually the only way my cookies don’t spread out too thinly.

    • Stephanie
      August 14, 2012 at 10:40 am (10 years ago)

      @Traci – that’s a great idea! Thanks for the tip.

  2. Ellen
    August 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm (10 years ago)

    These look sooooo goooood! I had heard about this recipe and the concept of refrigeration. Not being a huge fan of semi-sweet chips, I now opt for bittersweet in my triple C’s. I love this “stacking” of the dough ball. Plus, the addition of sea salt, well, that’s simply beautiful! When I switched to kosher salt in my triple C’s, I never went back. Great challenge–I learned a lot! 🙂
    Ellen recently posted Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Wine

    • Stephanie
      August 15, 2012 at 8:11 am (10 years ago)

      @Ellen – I love bittersweet chocolate in them too. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I learned a lot from this challenge too!

  3. the wicked noodle
    August 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm (10 years ago)

    Wow, Steph, you really did a stellar job with this post! I almost didn’t read it because I thought it was “just another chocolate chip cookie post”, but you’ve got some great information here! Thanks – never thought I’d pick up new chocolate chip cookie tips!
    the wicked noodle recently posted fresh cherry tarts

    • Stephanie
      August 15, 2012 at 8:11 am (10 years ago)

      @the wicked noodle – thank you, Kristy! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I learned a ton from this challenge!

  4. Emily @ Life on Food
    August 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm (10 years ago)

    Frozen cookies dough normally helps. I make dough balls and then freeze. Not only do I only bake off a few at a time, they are always enjoyed fresh and warm, but they seem to bake much better.
    Emily @ Life on Food recently posted Zucchini and Tomato Gratin

    • Stephanie
      August 15, 2012 at 8:16 am (10 years ago)

      @Emily – I’ll have to try that. Do you de-frost them or put them straight into the oven from the freezer? I have some extra dough from this recipe in my freezer and I can’t wait to bake some more cookies!

  5. Hannah
    August 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm (10 years ago)

    Wow! Chilling the dough and arranging chocolate chips on top – I’d never have thought to do either of those. Your cookies are beautiful, the epitome of the CCC. Thanks for the tips and the challenge as well – I agree that it’s been a great learning experience!

    • Stephanie
      August 17, 2012 at 8:55 am (10 years ago)

      @Hannah – thank you! I love those 2 tips. They transform okay cookies into fantastic CCCs! So glad you enjoyed the challenge 🙂

  6. Jill
    August 25, 2012 at 6:21 am (10 years ago)

    I made these cookies in June, and they were SO good! Worth the effort I think!
    Jill recently posted Hanky Panky Cupcakes

    • Stephanie
      August 25, 2012 at 9:30 am (10 years ago)

      @Jill – I agree! They’re worth the time and wait. I think next time I’ll freeze half the dough so I can have them ready anytime without all the waiting.

  7. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
    September 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm (10 years ago)

    They certainly do look picture perfect! I will have to try this recipe after your review of it. I have had it on my list, but kind of on the back burner. After paging through this and all the pictures though, I have a serious craving for cookies!

  8. Alexandra
    September 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm (10 years ago)

    Thank you so much for such great tips! I love the idea of adding sea salt and chocolate chips on top of the cookies!
    Alexandra recently posted Acadia Always: Day 1

    • Stephanie
      September 6, 2012 at 8:06 pm (10 years ago)

      @Alexandra – they definitely add that extra special something. I’ll never make CCCs without putting the extra chips on top again!

    • Stephanie
      September 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm (10 years ago)

      @Laura – it’s the little things that really make the difference!

  9. Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking
    October 25, 2012 at 11:05 am (10 years ago)

    I love a cookie that has LOTS of chocolate chips. That’s the best part!
    Thanks for sharing your version of the NEW York Times chocolate chip cookies, just linked to them in my 100 chocolate recipes round-up
    Roxana | Roxana’s Home Baking recently posted 100 Chocolate recipes

    • Stephanie
      October 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm (10 years ago)

      Roxana, thanks for including these in your round-up! I’m going to go check it out now – you can’t have enough chocolate recipes 🙂

  10. AJ
    November 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm (10 years ago)

    I used this recipe today and it ended up as a disaster. They tasted really delicious, but they ended up spreading out so thinly, and the edges were hard as rocks. I know I didn’t over cook them because after a minute in the oven they immediately flattened out. I really want to try this recipe again because it tasted so good, but I don’t want them to be so thin and rocklike. Any ideas on how to prevent this?

    • Stephanie Nuccitelli
      November 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm (10 years ago)

      AJ, was the dough at room temperature or chilled? How long did you refrigerate it for? The longer I left I my dough in the fridge, the less it spread. It was also cold when I baked it, which should prevent further spreading.

  11. AJ
    November 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm (10 years ago)

    Stephanie, the dough was chilled for almost 48 hours and I baked it when it was still cold. I’m going to try the recipe again though, maybe refrigerate it for longer

    • Stephanie Nuccitelli
      November 23, 2012 at 9:02 am (10 years ago)

      AJ, that should be more than enough time in the fridge. The problem might be one of your ingredients or how you put the dough together. Make sure everything (especially baking soda, powder, and flour) aren’t expired and that you’re creaming the butter as described. Second time’s the charm – hope it comes out better next time!

  12. Eugene
    January 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm (9 years ago)

    They look amazing. Am I supposed to use room temperature butter? When dropping dough onto baking sheet, how should the dough be? If I were to use an ice cream scoop, do I flatten the cookies, or leave them as is?

  13. Alise
    May 31, 2013 at 8:38 am (9 years ago)

    Why do you need to NOT use AP flour? I don’t have the other two types but I have a lot of the AP flour…

    • Stephanie Nuccitelli
      June 3, 2013 at 10:01 pm (9 years ago)

      Alise, that’s just what the NYT found to make the best chocolate chip cookies. You can use AP flour but it won’t have the same end result, as each kind of flour has different amounts of protein.

  14. Eliza
    June 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm (9 years ago)

    These were, in a word, AMAZING. They turned out fabulous and tasted even better. I’ve made them twice now and each time was a success. These are SO much better than any other CCC recipe I’ve used and it shocks me that something this yummy and amazing came out of my kitchen (apparently so were others since I got comments like, “you made these?!”). Thanks for making me look like Betty Crocker reincarnated!

  15. Eliza
    June 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh, by the way, I followed the recipe EXACTLY using my kitchen scale to get it correct to the ounce.

  16. Carolina
    March 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm (8 years ago)

    Could I recommend you replace the cake flour with whole wheat flour and the bread flour with all-purpose (cooking time would need to be 9-10minutes)? I’ve done your recipe itself (and it was amazing), but ran out of the proper flour the second time through. I had those two on hand, and that modification makes it my most popular recipe.

    • Stephanie Saunders
      March 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks for the recommendation, Carolina – I can’t wait to try it!

  17. Thepa
    July 18, 2014 at 5:35 am (8 years ago)

    Hi, i live in the uk. I’ve never heard of cake flour only plain flour and self raising flour. I really want to try this recipe. What can I do please help.

    • Stephanie Saunders
      July 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm (8 years ago)

      Hi Thepa, bread flour has a slightly higher protein content than all-purpose flour. If you can’t locate it, you can replace with plain all-purpose flour.

  18. Coco in the Kitchen
    August 18, 2015 at 12:18 pm (7 years ago)

    I have a real hard time waiting for the dough to “rest” in the fridge,
    but seeing these cookies has convinced me to practice patience.

    • Avi
      January 28, 2018 at 8:45 am (4 years ago)

      I think you can just put them in the freezer for 30 mins

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