Is there a secret to chocolate chip cookies?

I accidentally entered the first post before I was done typing. I don’t know what I did to make that happen. Hit control by accident? or tab? Something with my left pinky finger and suddenly it was posting itself.

Okay, I always make nestle’s tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. Always. I always follow the recipe using the same measuring tools. Always. I always use real butter and never margerine. I always use nestle’s toll house chocolate chips. I always use C&H sugars. I always use arm and hammer baking soda…

So how come, EVERY TIME I make a batch they taste different and end up in a different consistency? How come only about 1 time out of 6 do they taste REALLY GOOD. What is the secret?

Yes, I use a cooling rack. Yes, I have an oven thermometer to make sure it is at the proper cooking temperature.

any ideas? any secrets?


Wierd, okay. I THOUGHT that I had errantly posted too early. I guess it didn’t go through. I am losing my mind.


Well, let’s see.

You’re using real butter, check. I doubt if the brand of sugar makes much of a difference.

You’re following the recipe on the back of the Toll House Chips package, check. In my opinion, that’s the best one.

Are you letting the eggs warm to room temp before mixing them in?

Are you creaming the butter and sugar(s) well enough? It takes a bit of time, and this is where using a wooden spoon makes a difference. I find, when I use a mixer of any kind, they come out too cakey in the end. Let the butter soften to almost-room-temp (not too soft) and beat the hell out of it before adding the sugar, then beat the hell out of it some more. It should be light and fluffy.

I use a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. I think your cookie sheet needs to be shiny, and mine is dark, so that’s why I do that. Has to do with heat reflection.

Here’s my real secret: bang 'em. No, not that way, silly. When they’re 3/4 done, and puffed up, pick up the cookie sheet and hit it on the oven rack, hard. Deflate the little buggers. This gives you a dense, chewy result, which is (IMO) how they should be.

Is the egg part Key? Good to know as I don’t do that. I don’t “Bang Em” either. Ill have to try that sometime!


Yes, there are secrets. No, I won’t share mine. :wink:

No, really. I don’t cream the butter, I melt it. (This was from an accident, when I tried to soften the butter in the microwave. I left it in too long, it melted, and I’ve been doing it ever since.) I also don’t let the eggs warm up.

Also, I don’t use a cooling rack; I lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the counter and use that instead. The trick here is to get them off the hot cookie sheet fast, so they stop baking.

My cookies don’t last long. :slight_smile:


I too have inconsistent results. I agree that it must have to do with technique rather than ingredients. Sometimes I’m just in too big of a hurry to do it by hand and out comes the mixer, the butter is still frozen, and the eggs are cold.

I have a Kitchen Aid mixer, which helps a lot. What I do is beat the hell out of the butter and sugar, then add the eggs, then put the mixer on high while I whisk together the dry ingredients, then smoke a cigarette, then add the dry to the wet a little at a time (and beat it again after each addition). I remove the baked cookies immediately after the tray comes out of the oven and cool the cookies on newspaper.

And they’re always perfect. Unless I forget how long they’ve been in the oven, in which case they’re extra-crispy.

Yes there is a secret to chocolate chip cookies.

Only 50% of the chips are chocolate :wink:

Thank you,thank you very much.

Freshness of ingredients is also important. How old is that baking soda? The flour? After three months, the quality and consistency of results is going to go way down. After six, you may as well not even bother.

It’s also important to use as close to equal amounts of dough for each cookie as possible. Invest in a dough scoop or even a melon baller and use that instead of a teaspoon to drop the dough on the cookie sheets. That’ll help the cookies bake more evenly, so you’re not ending up with some in a batch that are overdone and some that are underdone.

And if you don’t have enough cookie sheets that you don’t have to recycle between batches, make sure that the sheets are completely cool before putting the dough on.

Unlike the lovely MsRobyn, I recommend against melting the butter, as I find it makes the cookies slightly too oily. YMMV

I find that baking time is important. Do not overbake. The cookies should still be quite soft when you take them out of the oven. I don’t use cooling racks–I use either paper grocery bags cut to lie flat or waxed paper.

In my oven, the minimum time on the recipe per batch is all that is necessary. Your oven may vary, but use the same time every time.

Cook’s Illustrated did some test comparisons a few years ago and found, after baking many batches of chocolate chip cookies, that melted butter gave the chewiest consistency. I tried their recipe which isn’t vastly different from the Tollhouse one and found it to be great. They have a web site, but you have to be a subscriber to get the recipes. It’s a great resource for learning cooking techniques if you’re into that.

One more voice chimes in.

Flour also takes in moisture from the air.As a result, if it is humid outside the day you bake, the cookies will be moister as well.

I see you have no alttitude issues. Things cook differently if you were say, in Denver.

Watch your eggs. Egg sizes can vary, even within a dozen. An egg that is a bit larger will result in a dencer cookie. I’ve heard that the eggs must be both ways on the tempature thing, but for Cookies it dosn’t matter. IF you were whipping up a merangue, then it MIGHT matter.

How do you store them? (AS if they last that long?) If you store them with other cookies of a different consistancy, they will pick it up. ie: storing ginger snaps with brownies will result in a snapless Ginger cookie, as it will absorb the brownies miosture.if they get too hard, toss in a slice of fresh bread and it will soften them up.

Cooling is best done on an absorbant surface such as grocery bags as suggested above or paper towles. This will absorb the unneeded oils, and result in a chewier cookie that gets hard after it sits a little while.

For myself, I find that the recipe on back of the Toll House pacage to be the best. It can be varied about a million ways to make different types of cookies. But, for the amont of chips in one bag, it is not big enough.Try halving the recipe again. (1 cup each sugar, 1 exta egg, 1 1/2 cup flour etc…) Maybe I like my cookie cookier! Try it, I bet noone notices the difference, and you get {Blue Monster Voice} MORE COOKIES! {Blue Monster Voice}

I’ve never noticed any oiliness at all.

Oh, yeah. And use real butter, not margarine.


I also use the Nestle Tollhouse recipe.

My butter is softened, but not melted. I find that makes the dough to wet to work with.

I have no problems with the mixer.

My cookie sheet is pretty much dinged up, but it works fine.

My secret…undercook them just a tad. That makes them nice and gooey…and you must let them cool for one minute before you take them off the sheet. That gives them a chance to firm up.

Mine don’t last long either.

Damn you guys…now I have to go make some.

I don’t particularly like the Nestlé recipe, but my tricks are: melt the butter, use half brown sugar and half white sugar, and use milk chocolate (not semisweet) chips.

Also, if you don’t want to invest in a scoop or melon baller, a chilled soup spoon works well.

adding to the fray

I set oven temp 25F lower than what is on the package and bake them a few minutes longer. They are always chewy that way.

I don’t tinfoil the cookie sheets, I use parchment paper. No clean up and they seem to brown evenly :slight_smile:

Also, instead of Nestle’s, use Ghirdelli’s semi-sweet or milk chocolate. Much richer taste, IMHO.

I have the same problem with inconsistent cookies. The only way I ever liked them was when my Mom made them. And she’s gone now, so my cookie-eating experience is forever lost.

It’s a good thing I made choc chip cookies this week, because otherwise, after reading this, I’d have major baking urges.

The most important thing I learned: take the baking instructions with a grain of salt. My apartment’s oven is kinda old, and following the instructions to the letter resulted in soggy, half-done cookies. I ended up doubling the time. Fortunately, the cookies turned out pretty good in the end.

I also used Ghiradelli semi-sweet chips, and god, they’re good.

That is so sad. :frowning:

My Granny made chocolate chip cookies that will never be replicated (she is gone too). She always burned them. Not black, just a lot darker than ideal. They didn’t flatten, so they were lump-shaped, and they were hard as rocks.

God, I miss them.