I’ve experimented with a ton of chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years, but somehow I always find myself reaching for the classic yellow bag of Nestle TollHouse chocolate chips. The recipe on the back of the bag is simple, but always produces best chocolate chip cookies. Follow my 6 tips below to take these traditional cookies from tasty to amazing- you’ll get tons of compliments and no one will suspect that you followed the recipe from the bag!
1. Just Beat It
The instructions on the back of the bag say “Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.” If you’re an impatient baker like myself, you’ll cream the butter and sugars in your stand mixer for approximately .5 seconds until it looks “fluffy” so you can get those cookies in the oven (and into your mouth) as fast as possible.
BUT I promise you, whipping until actually creamy and fluffy will take your cookies to the next level. Set the mixer to medium and whip the butter and sugars for TWO WHOLE MINUTES, and not a second less. Set a timer and walk away until a full 120 seconds has passed. It’ll be worth it in the end, trust me!
2. Soften, Don’t Melt
Speaking of butter, it’s so so so important that your butter is SOFTENED – NOT melted, NOT straight from the fridge. There are a few different ways to soften the butter to just the right consistency. The best way is to leave the two sticks of butter out on your countertop overnight, so the butter is nice and room temperature when you’re ready to bake. This isn’t always practical though, because sometimes you just get an inkling to make cookies and you don’t want to wait until tomorrow just for some butter.
The next best option is to set the butter on a plate and set the plate on top of the stove while your oven is preheating. The heat rising from the oven should soften the butter just enough so that it’s perfect for creaming when the time comes. If you’re really in a pinch, stick the butter in the microwave for 5 second increments.
As soon as you see the butter start to melt along the edges, take it out! Too much melted butter makes cookies flat when baking. Perfectly softened butter will make it easier to whip with the sugars, and give you perfectly chewy cookies (not too dense and not too flat) after baking!
3. Invest in a Silpat Mat (or two!)
These non-stick silicone mats help distribute the heat more evenly across your cookie sheet so you get evenly baked, more uniform cookies.
4. Get the Scoop
Use a cookie scoop to scoop out your cookie dough. A cookie scoop helps make sure that all of your cookies are the same size, and saves you from having to use two spoons to awkwardly finagle dough onto the trays. Just scoop, plop, and bake. Plus, these scoops come in a smaller size that’s perfect for making mini cookies!
5. 9 is Fine
Don’t try to cram a dozen cookies onto a tray – try 6 or 9 at a time. Putting fewer cookies on the tray is more time consuming, but it allows your cookies room to breathe and spread out as needed.
6. Don’t Over Bake
The cookies will continue to bake on the tray after you take them out of the oven, so let your cookies bake until they are just golden brown around the edges. The middle of the cookies will firm up after you take them out, so don’t worry if they look a little undercooked at first.
7. (Bonus Tip!) Try Something New
Even though everyone likes a classic chocolate chip cookie, don’t be afraid to experiment! Add different kinds of chocolate chips, add more chocolate chips than the recipe calls for (let’s be honest, you can never have too many), or try adding flavored chips, like peanut butter or mint. If you’re looking for a sweet/salty combo, try adding pretzels or even potato chips (trust me, they’re tasty!)
P.S. If you’re looking for some over-the-top cookies, check out these GINORMOUS cookies we made for our homemade ice cream sandwiches, guaranteed to knock your socks off.