The Definitive Chocolate Chip Cookie

A fat, mouthy, chewy-at-the-edges-soft-in-the-middle chocolate chip cookie. Made without refined sugar, of course.

I've been baking since I was four - poorly and mostly unchaperoned - but for whatever reason, my kitchen education never properly dissected the majestic variability of the "humble" chocolate chip cookie. Flat cookies, fat cookies, chewy cookies, crumbly cookies; I thought these characteristics were fascinating, but not harnessable, owing their quirks to abstract elements like oven temperature fluctuations, the direction of the wind, and general whimsies of the whisk. 

In short, I thought the shape and texture of a cookie was predestinedโ€“ which I now know is not entirely untrue, just a lot more predestined by the chef than by weather patterns. 

This post is not about the particular breed of magic behind each type of cookie, just one special cookie in particular: A fat, mouthy, chewy-at-the-edges-soft-in-the-middle chocolate chip cookie. Made without refined sugar, of course. This classic owes its glory to two utterly epic but basic kitchen tricks that are left out of most recipes (and therefore, many DIY repertoires): First, truly creaming the butter with the sugar (for God's sake, just do it), and secondly, letting the scooped dough rest in the refrigerator, which is the golden ticket to beautifully melded flavors and, more importantly, that thin layer of crispy cookie crust enveloping the soft goodness inside.

This recipe was adapted from Food.com's Thick, Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, with some obvious influence from NYT's earth-shattering cookie ordinance of 2009. You can use regular chocolate chips, but nothing beats a chip like a hulky chunk, which is why I like to buy some good bars and give them a rough chop with a kitchen knife. You can choose whatever brand and type of chocolate suits your fancy: for supermarket accessibility and ultra melt-in-your-mouthiness, I go for Cadbury; for staying super true to the "free of refined sugar" mantra, I go for one of the growing numbers of chocolatiers working with coconut sugar, like the geniuses at Hu Kitchen. Happy Baking!

The Definitive Chocolate Chip Cookie

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups granulated coconut nectar 

1 cup butter at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

12 oz chocolate chips or chunks

Fleur de sel (for finishing)

  1. Prep a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a light coating of butter or oil.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; whisk to thoroughly combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, ideally a standing mixer, place room-temperature butter and fine grain coconut flower nectar. Cream butter and sugar on medium speed for 4-5 minutes, until mixture is light in color and about doubled in size.
  4. Add vanilla and one egg; mix until combined. Add second egg and mix again.
  5. Add flour mixture in two batches, mixing gently and just until combined. Do not overmix.
  6. Gently fold in chocolate chunks.
  7. Drop batter in rounded tablespoons (think ping pong balls) about two inches apart on your prepped cookie sheet. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, then refrigerate for at least 1hr or overnight.
  8. In an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees, bake cookies for about 16 minutes. Cookies should be darker at the edges, and lighter in the middle. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.