You will often hear, "My chocolate chip cookies did not turn out." Inevitably it is then quickly blamed on the recipe used, and then the quest for a new recipe ensues. The odds are that the recipe used was just fine, but how the cookie ingredients were measured and mixed probably had more to do with the poor outcome.
There are so many recipes to choose from, it can be confusing. Each recipe will produce a similar tasting product, but depending on how the ingredients were used, each recipe will produce a cookie with its own set of textural characteristics and traits.
- Butter: This is the fat that makes a cookie rich and palatable. Unsalted butter is the best to use as you can better control the salt amount in your recipe.
- White and brown sugar: These sugars sweeten the cookie while also adding textural qualities. More brown sugar will make a soft chewy cookie while large amounts of white sugar will make a drier crispy cookie.
- Eggs: Eggs are emulsifiers. This means that they help keep fats evenly distributed throughout the cookie making it thick and stable.
- Extracts: Flavoring that give pastries a subtle underlying flavor. The most common extracts for a chocolate chip cookie are vanilla and almond.
- All-Purpose flour: This is the most common flour found in the household kitchen, and the most recommended for baking cookies. The more flour used, the more dense the cookie. Self rising flour is not recommended.
- Leavening agents: Baking powder and baking soda are the two most common gas producing agents that are used to make the cookie rise in the oven. Soda will produce a cookie that spreads more, as a double acting baking powder will make a fluffier cookie.
- Salt: Salt actually enhances the sweetness and all the other flavors in the cookie. Sea salt is the best because it is a pure fine salt without additives.
- Chocolate Chips: Semi-sweet chocolate chunks were in the first ever chocolate chip cookie, however, any flavor can be put into this classic cookie recipe.
- Nuts: Nuts are optional in any cookie recipe, but add a crunchy texture and added layer of flavor. Walnuts and pecans are the most classic choice.
No matter which way you like your chocolate chip cookie, this is the most common set of ingredients that go into a basic recipe. Since the first cookie was made in 1933 there have been many alterations to the original recipe, but few recipes stray far from the tried and true classic list of ingredients.