It’s no surprise that people took to baking during the quarantine, with flour and sugar (literally) flying off grocery store shelves — between working from home and vacations being canceled, many of us had quite a bit of extra time laying around. What better way to spend those freed up Friday nights than by baking a homemade baguette or loaf of banana bread?
Personally, I spent my time perfecting the chocolate chip cookie. I knew what I was shooting for — a crisp exterior, a thick gooey center, and a perfect balance of sweet and salty. I experimented with nearly every recipe on the Internet. I tried Bon Appétit’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie, which was delicious for its browned butter but lacked the thick gooey center I craved. I also whipped up some of The New York Times’ cookies but was left feeling rather unenthused as it could easily be compared to store-bought dough.
After trying several different recipes, techniques, and combinations of ingredients, I finally achieved the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I determined that using browned butter added warmth, dark chocolate added the right amount of bitterness, and sticking the dough in the fridge to set created a thick center. This homemade recipe is a must if you have a sweet tooth.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Start to finish: 40 minutes
Servings: 18 large cookies
- 1 cup butter, cubed, browned, and cooled
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup oats
- 1 cup dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips, chopped
- 1 cup nuts or raisins (optional)
1. Heat the oven to 375 F.
WRITER’S TIP: Baking your cookies at a higher temperature helps create a crisp exterior without drying out the center.
2. Cube butter into small-sized cubes.
3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, place cubed butter into the saucepan. Stir continuously until the butter completely melts and you see a foam over the top, about 5-6 minutes. Swirl the pan around, and once you see your butter turn a dark caramel color, remove from heat to cool, about 5 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, mix both the white and brown sugar with the vanilla and salt.
5. In the same large bowl, pour the cooled butter over the sugar mixture, and stir.
6. Once stirred, add the eggs and baking soda into the bowl, then continue to stir.
7. When the batter takes on a caramel-like consistency, add the flour, oats, and chocolate chips, and stir until well combined. Do not overmix.
8. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and let the batter chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. (If you’re in a hurry, you can also throw it in the freezer for 15 minutes.)
WRITER’S TIP: Allowing the batter to cool helps it hold its shape better in the oven.
9. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, scoop large-sized dough balls.
WRITER’S TIP: I like to use a large scooper like this one to create six evenly sized balls. They may look huge, but the size is what makes them moist.
10. Bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack until just barely golden brown.
11. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes for the perfect ooey-gooey Instagram-worthy moment.
I hope you give this recipe a try — I’m sure your family and roommates will be grateful. May your bananas ripen and your sourdough starters thrive. Happy quarantine baking, Dons!