Chocolate Chip Cookies

November 4, 2010

As an American classic, the chocolate chip cookie is readily available, hugely popular and varies in price from inexpensive to too expensive.

We all have a benchmark for our favorite whether you make it yourself or buy it at a bakery. We compare every other cookie to it. In that regard, the perfect chocolate chip cookie is akin to the perfect hamburger. The mechanics of preparation are not complicated but there are a lot of mediocre chocolate chip cookies and hamburgers being served. In the hands of a good cook or with a great recipe each is taken to a whole new level and can’t be beat. Simple on the surface but in reality quite complex.

What makes a good chocolate chip cookie is personal. Do you like flat crisp ones or fat and chewy or even flat and chewy? Do you like big bittersweet chocolate chunks, thin pieces or morsels? The chocolate question is just the tip of the chocolate chip cookie iceberg. After that you have to consider whether you prefer brown or white sugar or both? Do you like them small so you can pop one in your mouth all at once or big where you can nibble at it and see how long it will last?

Well made, all these types have their merits. I have a couple of favorite recipes. One is made with all brown sugar, has big chocolate chunks and is fat and chewy. Another is more petit in size, has white sugar, thin pieces of chocolate and is flat and crispy. Both are recipes I make over and over but I am periodically tinkering to see if I can come up with a third variation that is as good but different. It’s not something that I am obsessed with on a daily basis but every six months or so I find myself experimenting. I don’t expect to ever be 100% satisfied but that’s fine. It’s the pursuit that is fun.

What got me on this recent chocolate chip cookie musings was Remi Hayashi-Girouard‘s “Goody Goodie chocolate chip cookie. It has more chocolate than you than you think could be humanly possible to cram into one cookie. In my book that’s a good thing. It’s not solid chocolate as there’s enough dough so it all holds together and you know you are eating a cookie not a truffle. They are available at her new café, Starstream (1830 Harrison at 14th St).

If you are in New York City, other chocolate chip cookies that rank high in my book can be found at Levain Bakery on West 74th Street and City Bakery on 18th Street.

While we may not all agree on what our favorite cookie is, there can be no argument that this humble cookie has morphed exponentially from its Toll House origins. Who makes your favorite chocolate chip cookie?


  1. I found a recipe called “World Peace” cookies. While I don’t think they are the symbol of peace, they do remain a good choc.chip cookie. The recipe was printed in the NYTs, and I thought to try it. I sprinkle alittle Fleur de sel on top just because. I prefer my cc cookie to be slightly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.
    I also plant World Peace tulip bulbs for our Spring garden. They are beautiful enough to make our neighbors stop and take note, however, once again not a deal breaker for world peace…maybe someday.
    Have a great weekend!

  2. I have made World Peace Cookies! I enjoyed them, especially the whimsy of the name itself, though I might not call them a favorite. One I really enjoy, when I’m not in the mood to keep it simple, is the Neiman-Marcus “urban legend” cookie. It really does make a yummy cookie! I enjoy oatmeal in cookies, especially combined with chocolate chips. I recommend halving or quartering the recipe unless you want an industrial amount of cookies from it, though.

    Here, the recipe with the amusing background and history of the legend: http://www.snopes.com/business/consumer/cookie.asp

    • How can I risest the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie? I’m making them today! Thank you!

  3. I’m willing to try them all but I prefer thick and chewy. Bittersweet chocolate may be the best but milk chocolate is great too. The one deal breaker is nuts. They don’t belong!

    One of the best cookies I ever had was peanut butter chocolate chip. Soft,chewy, and smooth, they were outrageous!!

    If you ever need a taste tester for your variations, sign me up…

  4. Emmy, Andrew is going on a retreat with school this week and each participant has been asked to bring a homemade treat to share. ATB has requested the chocolate chip cookies we tested for the upcoming book. Until your recipe he had always been an oatmeal raisin man. 😉

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