While we hunkered down to get through the pandemic, a lot of us spent time working our skills in the kitchen. Between endless banana bread trials and fun pasta recipes from TikTok, we learned that cooking and baking can be fun and rewarding with a little practice.
However, there are some of us out there (hi), who need a little bit more help when it comes to throwing down in the kitchen. In honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on August 4, we wanted to overcome our insecurities and finally learn how to make the best chocolate chip cookies from scratch. That’s right. It’s time we novice bakers graduate from the break-and-bake packaged cookie dough from Ralphs and learn how to do it the right way.
We reached out to local cookie connoisseur Lara Adekoya of everyone’s new favorite cookie company Fleurs et Sel to give us a few tips on how to make a cookie that puts the Pillsbury Doughboy to shame.
What kind of chocolate chips are the best to use? Are milk chocolate chips better than dark chocolate? A mix of both?
While there are so many different types of chocolate to use, it really depends on personal preference. I personally love dark chocolate and think it yields a delicious flavor that is less sweet than milk chocolate. Semi-sweet chocolate chips are also a great option!
What’s the perfect chip-to-dough ratio?
I start with one cup of chocolate chips per batch of dough. However, I will often loosely sprinkle an additional quart cup if I feel as though there is not enough. The dough should be evenly speckled with chocolate chips.
What are some fun tips you’d suggest to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies stand out from others?
I think of chocolate chip cookie dough (cookie dough period) as a blank canvas. I love to use finishing salt as a fun and easy way to put a personal touch (Sea Salt, Smoked Sea Salt, etc.) Using a mix of different chocolates (milk and dark chocolate) also yields a delicious cookie. Playing with texture is a great tip as well—one can easily put coarsely chopped pieces of chocolate in lieu of your typical chocolate chips and this will give the cookie a beautiful shape/consistency (think warm pools of melted chocolate— obsessed!!!).
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There are so many flours out there it’s hard to keep up. Is it best to just stick with the classic all-purpose flour or is it worth it to go for something a little less traditional?
I would start with typical all-purpose flour, as it is readily available and easy to pick up at any local grocery store. If you are interested in experimenting with texture or flour alternatives, almond flour is easy to work (and delicious), and gluten-free flour is also tasty and gives the cookies a slightly gritty yet irresistible texture and flavor!
Crispy cookies or gooey cookies?
Everyone has their own idea of the perfect cookie. However, from my experiences I have found that a slightly under-baked cookie is more delicious than a crispy cookie. I would start with 13 minutes in the oven, however it is important to pay attention to the cookies as the 13 minute mark approaches. The cookies should be slightly puffy and look a little undercooked. Take them out and let them cool for five minutes; transfer to a wire rack and the result will be a cookie that’s soft, gooey yet slightly crisp on the outside! Absolutely delicious.
Does a home baker need a stand mixer to get one to achieve the best chocolate chip cookie? What tools would you suggest for those of us who haven’t splurged on a KitchenAid?
I baked cookies for years without a stand mixer. If you have one, yes—they definitely are useful! However, you can still achieve great cookies without a stand mixer. I would recommend a great stainless steel wire whisk, a deep mixing bowl and a firm spatula. Hand-mixers are a great alternative to purchasing a full on stand mixer (like the KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer) and will save you some time and energy! They are less expensive, easy to clean, and very useful—they can be used to whip together frosting/icing, home-made whipped cream, delicious pancake batter in the morning, etc.
Bakers talk about achieving the perfect spread with their cookies. First, what does this mean and how do you achieve it? Should one even aim to achieve a good spread?
There is no such thing as “perfect” when it comes to baking—it’s so subjective! However, spread refers to texture and consistency. I would focus on what you would like your cookies to look like and imagine what you want to taste when you close your eyes 🙂 Doughy, chewy, crunchy?! There’s no wrong doing when it comes to cookies! As long as you are using delicious ingredients (flour, butter, brown sugar…yum!) taking your time, and putting love into your craft you can’t go wrong.
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