The cookie — the chocolate chip cookie that you can’t always wait for to finish baking, instead opting to sneak a spoonful of dough from straight from the bowl — was invented by accident, sort of. Ruth Wakefield ran the TOLL HOUSE Restaurant in Whitman Massachusetts with her husband was an accomplished baker. Creation-legend has it that Wakefield ran out of bakers’ chocolate or walnuts or a vibrating mixer knocked the semi-sweet chips into her cookie dough, but the reality is a little less charming.Betty Crocker featured them on her radio program in 1938 shortly after the first published recipe appeared in print. Wakefield eventually sold the rights to the recipe and TOLL HOUSE name to Nestlé in 1939 for one dollar, and the rest was history.
If there is one cookie recipe to master, it is certainly the chocolate chip cookie. Variations depend on taste, — large chunks, small chips, sea salt, crispy, or chewy — but the method is always essentially the same.
First you cream the butter and sugar(s) together using the paddle attachment on a mixer on medium speed until the butter is very white and fluffy; this usually takes about five to 10 minutes. Next, add the eggs and any extracts, like vanilla extracts. Beat until the ingredients are fully incorporated and smooth.
Sift together the all-purpose flour, salt, and any chemical leavening agents, such as baking powder or baking soda. On low speed, add the dry ingredients until just combined. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon or spatula. Spoon the cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the oven — the temperature typically ranges between 325 degrees F and 375 degrees F depending on the recipe.
For soft chocolate chip cookies, like this recipe for Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, use more eggs, corn syrup or granulated sugar, and chemical leavening agents. If you prefer thinner, crunchier chocolate chip cookies, like in this recipe Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies, skip the leavening agent, use only one egg, and use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.
Whether you prefer thin and crispy cookies or soft and chewy, mastering chocolate chip cookies is a quick, simple, and delicious way to improve your baking technique.
Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.