The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies

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The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from HandletheHeat.com

Have you ever wondered why chocolate chip cookies can be chewy, crisp, soft, flat, thick, cakey, greasy, bland, flavorful, moist, or crumbly?

In this post I’m going to share with you how various ingredients and techniques can affect the taste, texture, and appearance of your chocolate chip cookies. This will hopefully help you understand how chocolate chip cookies work so you can make the PERFECT batch every time, whatever you consider to be perfect. This information will allow you to alter or create your own chocolate chip recipe that produces cookies just the way YOU like them. You’ll be an expert on the anatomy of the chocolate chip cookie.

I used the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe as my control and made little changes and variations in techniques and ingredients to show you how they affect the cookie.

I halved and adapted the original Tollhouse recipe and that is what you see here. I kept everything the same through each recipe test, changing one key thing to see its effect and photographing the results for you.

Tools and Ingredients Used:
-OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop
-Chicago Metallic sheet pans
-Silpat baking mats or unbleached parchment paper
-KitchenAid 5-quart Stand Mixer
-Oven thermometer
-King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
-Fine sea salt
-Light brown sugar (except the granulated sugar recipe test)
-Large eggs
-Unsalted butter that was at a cool room temperature (except the melted butter recipe test)

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from HandletheHeat.com

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CONTROL RECIPE - Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: About 22 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces or 142 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, beating well to combine. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls and place onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from HandletheHeat.com

Baking Powder:

Removed baking soda from recipe and used 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. This produced results that were more cakey and puffed while baking.

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from HandletheHeat.com

Baking Powder AND Baking Soda:

Used 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. This produced results that were crisp at the edges, soft in the middle, with a good amount of spread. The combination of the two leaveners produced the best results in my opinion.

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from HandletheHeat.com

MORE Flour:

Increased the flour to 2 cups (250 grams) which created a more crumbly dough and very little spread. The cookies were small yet thick and relatively undercooked (ooey and gooey) in the middle.

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from HandletheHeat.com

MELTED Butter:

I replaced the room temperature butter with melted and cooled butter. Instead of creaming the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, I simply stirred the butter and sugars together then let sit for 5 minutes, until the sugar was better absorbed by the butter. This produced flatter cookies that had a shiny, crackled top reminiscent of brownies. They were also more crisp at the edges.

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from HandletheHeat.com

All Granulated Sugar:

I used 3/4 cup granulated sugar in this recipe which produced flat, white, chewy, and slightly crunchy cookies but with little flavor. Since baking soda (called for in the control recipe) requires an acid (such as brown sugar) to react, these cookies fell very flat as you can see by the way the chocolate chips protrude.

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from HandletheHeat.com

All Brown Sugar:

I used 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar in this recipe which produced thick, brown, and soft cookies with an intense butterscotch flavor. The original control recipe uses an even ratio of granulated and brown sugars. If you prefer your cookies to be flatter, chewier, or crisper, use more granulated sugar. If you prefer your cookies to be softer and thicker and have a pronounced butterscotch flavor, use more brown sugar.

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from HandletheHeat.com

24 hour CHILLED Dough:

I used the control recipe but chilled it in the fridge for about 24 hours before shaping and baking. This produced cookies that were slightly thicker, chewier, darker, and with a better depth of butterscotch flavor. If you have time, try chilling your next cookie dough for at least 24 hours, or up to 48 hours.

Final Comparison:

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from HandletheHeat.com
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Check out PART 2 where I test things like cake flour, bread flour, shortening, cornstarch, and nonstick baking pans. Also see my Ultimate Cookie Troubleshooting Guide for more cooking baking help!

 

See chocolate chip cookie recipes I created based off the results to this experiment:

Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Skinny Chocolate Chip Cookies made with whole wheat flour and no butter!
Skinny Chocolate Chip Cookies

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321 Responses to “The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies”

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    Indrė — July 22, 2013 at 5:10 am

    Thanks for sharing!
    My fav are in the 1st picture. Is that basic or with more flour?

    • Tessa replied: — July 22nd, 2013 @ 7:07 am

      Those are the control recipe – I took that picture a day later though.

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    Michael — July 22, 2013 at 5:24 am

    That explains why my cookies are sub-par with melted butter. I’ll have to try chilling the dough. I’ve read about that in a couple baking books. Maybe I’ll give it a shot!

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    Tieghan — July 22, 2013 at 5:45 am

    Thank you for this! I have always wandered what ways are best to make cookies and I think I am more of a baking soda and baking powder girl. Those cookies look perfect!
    Such a great post!

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    Crystinna — July 22, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Recently I had the dilemma of “sad” chocolate chip cookies as our chef likes to call theme when I used granulated sugar. Second round I found chilling the dough with brown sugar helped a ton and they looked awesome!

    I was wondering if you had experience baking in high altitudes? By the way hope you don’t mind if I share this post in my class :)

    • Tessa replied: — July 22nd, 2013 @ 7:13 am

      I bet those cookies are awesome! I totally don’t mind – hope your class finds it helpful. I have absolutely 0 experience with high altitude baking so I’m of no help there.

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    Tracey — July 22, 2013 at 6:51 am

    What a great experiment Tessa, I love seeing the way a small change can really impact the outcome of the recipe!

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    Samantha — July 22, 2013 at 7:29 am

    This is great! So much great information! I have always wanted to know how certain elements effected cookies. Thank you so much!

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    Chelsea — July 22, 2013 at 7:37 am

    This was so helpful!! I’ve been making a family homemade chocolate chip recipe for years and could never figure out why I couldn’t ever have two similar batches. I never accounted for the state of the butter when added would play such an integral role. Hopefully now I can make the recipe more consistent and pay better homage Grandma’s good ol’ homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe! Thanks so much!

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    Zainab @ Blahnik Baker — July 22, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Wow, thanks for this! It’s so helpful and lots of great tips!

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    Annalise @ Completely Delicious — July 22, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Such a fabulous post and resource, Tessa! I’ve been wanting to do something like this myself just for fun, but it’s always seemed like such a daunting task. What did you do with all of those cookies?? :)

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    Laura — July 22, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Thank you SO much for this!! I am a big food science lover and chocolate chip cookies are a special favorite so it’s like you wrote this for me!! LOL!!! ;)

    I’m a recent convert to your melted butter recipe!! I _love_ the cookies that recipe produces!! I thought that I noticed that mixing time made a difference with that recipe. I have used a stand mixer and done it by hand and the cookies made with the stand mixer, and mixed a lot longer, seemed to have a better finished product. Do you think mixing (and maybe aerating) the batter effects the final cookie?

    • Tessa replied: — July 22nd, 2013 @ 8:58 am

      That is very possible! I read something from a Cooks Illustrated publication while doing research for this post that when using melted butter + sugar in baking, the longer the sugar has to absorb into the butter the better the flavor and texture will be because the caramelization process will begin quicker.

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    Mimi @ Culinary Couture — July 22, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Love love love this post Tessa! Really breaks everything down so nicely!

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    cd robinson — July 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

    This is a great post. Thanks for doing all the research and work. This will now be my guide to the perfect ccc.

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    Rachel @ Bakerita — July 22, 2013 at 10:58 am

    LOVE this post. Such a great idea, using a control recipe that pretty much everyone, their mother, and their grandmother have made. Such a good resource :) especially for those that may not know how different ingredients react with one another!

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    Marissa | Pinch and Swirl — July 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Great post! What a nice resource for any cookie recipe.

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    marcie@flavorhtemoments — July 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Thank you for the visual on this! I love my cookies puffy and thick with minimal spread, so I’m going for the chilled 24 hour version.

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    Dan @ Casual Kitchen — July 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    This post is absolutely brilliant! I loved how you ran a control, then tweaked just one variable at a time. Pure, mad-sciency genius, and for a great cause: the search for the perfect cookie. I can’t wait to share this with my readers!

    Dan @ Casual Kitchen

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    Sonia — July 22, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    What an amazing experiment, its incredible to see the difference amongst the cookies. I will definately try the tollhouse recipe with the baking powder and baking soda the next time I make these.
    Thank you for sharing.

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    Gianna — July 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    My favorite are warm and chewy. I usually make a big batch for the week to store in the fridge. I scoop out enough for a couple of trays so they are warm and chewy when I want them.

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    Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I CAN ONLY IMAGINE!!! how many dozens and dozens of cookies you made in the process of this ‘little’ experiment, Tessa! It’s amazing what you’ve done and thank you!!!!

    I love posts like this and comparisons and could take cookie science forever. I am loving this post, so much.

    For me, I am in love with adding 2 tsp of cornstach to my dough b/c it creates softbatch-style cookies, minus any cakiness. I have also tried many of the popular recipes out there for cookies, i.e NYTimes and many others and keep coming back to the cornstarch trick. I have about 10 versions and recreations with various add-ins on my site.

    Pinned to group boards! Thank you for this post!

    • Tessa replied: — July 22nd, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

      Thanks Averie!! I think I’m going to do a part II post and include a test on that cornstarch trick because I’ve seen it in your recipes and also on Sally’s Baking Blog. Thanks for the tip!

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    Susan at Savvy Single Suppers — July 22, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Tessa thanks to you for taking on this experiment. I pity the poor taste testers in your life ;-) . Ive been hunting for the perfect chocolate chip cookie and this should help me. I’m going to try the soda + powder, a titch more brown than white sugar and chill for 24 hours. In my family one recipe calls for using vegetable shortening rather than butter. Have you tried this substitution before?

    • Tessa replied: — July 22nd, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

      I am not a fan of shortening so I may be a little biased but in my experience I think butter is the better choice for a few reasons:

      1. Butter has a lower melting point (right around body temperature) than shortening which is why things with lots of butter seem to “melt in your mouth” whereas shortening can often leave a filmy residue on the tongue.
      2. Butter offers better flavor.
      3. Because butter has a high moisture content, it provides moisture to the cookies and encourages spread (which can be good or bad depending on your preferences). Cookies made with shortening tend to be drier/crumblier and thicker.

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    christina — July 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    THIS IS AWESOME!! I’m a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies and have tried so many variations. I feel like I was nodding the whole time reading this because I’ve been there, done that with all of this!!! :) Thank you!

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    Debbie — July 23, 2013 at 8:52 am

    This is so great! I am on a quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and will be experimenting very soon! I was wondering what are your thoughts about the amount of eggs? It didn’t seen like you tested that and I was wondering what an extra egg would do… Guess I’ll have to see! Lol

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    Megan — July 23, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I loved this … I rarely follow a recipe and this explains so much. I have one chocolate chip recipe that always worked well for me, even with substituting whole wheat flour and using honey rather than white sugar. But the “family’s” favorite has always been the Toll House Recipe that Grams used. Grams always followed the recipe … ;-)

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    Desiree — July 25, 2013 at 4:19 am

    just curious– which one do you think tasted best?

    • Tessa replied: — July 25th, 2013 @ 8:11 am

      The funny thing is that there were little things I liked and didn’t like about each batch. I think the best *taste* goes to the 24-hour chilled dough but I also liked the butterscotch flavor of the brown sugar cookies.

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    Dave — July 25, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Yes, I’m with Desiree – which one was best?

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    Brian C. — July 25, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I find it hard to believe that someone who is so serious about their cookie tests, measures their flour by volume (instead of by weight).

    • Tessa replied: — July 25th, 2013 @ 10:42 am

      Hi Brian – when I bake at home I usually measure by weight but most of my readers don’t own a kitchen scale and aren’t familiar with baking by weight. I write the recipes on this blog for my readers and try to make them as simple as possible.

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    Brian C. — July 25, 2013 at 10:47 am

    So were all of your tests measured by weight, then just translated to volume for recipe purposes?

    • Tessa replied: — July 25th, 2013 @ 11:07 am

      That’s correct. Additionally, the original Nestle recipe is written by volume and that was my control. However, you bring up a good point. Since this is somewhat of a serious baking test I went ahead and edited the post to include weight measurements of the flour as well as the original volume. Thanks for your comment!

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    D KALE — July 25, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    you should try adding 1 tsp corn starch to a batch. Helps them to be thicker and stay soft.
    Smiles
    D

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    Gayle — July 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Have you tried 1/2 shortening and 1/2 butter? Crispy on the outer edges…soft inside,

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    Sarah @ Sweet Miles — July 25, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Genius!! I’ve always wondered why my cookies seem to turn out differently every time!! Bookmarking this now to refer back to it next I’m in the baking mood :)

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    Yorbon — July 25, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Please change the first two instances of “effect” to “affect.”

    • Tessa replied: — July 25th, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

      Thanks for catching that!

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    Wilma A — July 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    When I was growing up we didn’t use butter for baking, it was too expensive. We used Crisco shortening. What affect might that have had? Always used both brown and white sugar. Cookies were always good and didn’t spread out.

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    Debbie C — July 26, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Love the tests you conducted. I use half butter shortening and half unsalted butter plus 1 tbsp water. I also scoop my cookie balls and freeze on cookie trays, then store them in baggies so I can bake as many or little as I want at anytime. The cookies turn out fantastic!

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    Emily — July 26, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I’m supposed to be cleaning and packing for a family trip, but now I want to stop and make a batch of cookies instead. We can always take them on the plane, right? Thanks for this interesting experiment! It explains so many of my cookie “failures.” Oh, and the one with extra flour looks super yummy to me.

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    Heather — July 26, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Have you tried the NY Times Best Chocolate Cookie recipe? It uses both kinds of sugar and 2 types of flower. Also, calls for 24-72 hour chilling period. They. Are. INCREDIBLE!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html?_r=0

    • Tessa replied: — July 27th, 2013 @ 8:32 am

      I’ve always wondered how using cake flour AND bread flour affects the cookies – they seem to cancel each other out in my mind if that makes sense. Will definitely be trying out different flours for part II :)

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    Heather — July 26, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Whoops ^^ FLOUR! lol

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    Michelle Crowder — July 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Hmmm…wonder how they would be with both baking powder and soda, more brown sugar than granulated, and chilling it for 24-48 hours?????? GOTTA TRY!!!!!

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    ruth — July 27, 2013 at 2:37 am

    this is a great post – thanks for sharing! i use three different kinds of flour in my cookies (always king arthur brand – it’s the best) AP, bread and cake. this gives me a chewy, thick cookie with a good bite. would be curious to see your tests varying the flour. (also kosher salt and more brown sugar than white)

    • Tessa replied: — July 27th, 2013 @ 8:31 am

      Interesting! I plan on including tests with different flours on part II – thanks for your comment!

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    Janice — July 27, 2013 at 6:05 am

    Great idea! New to your site via Casual Kitchen who I will be forever indebted to for directing us to this. I’m already known for my cookie baking but one of my goals this year is to come up with the Ultimate Chocolate Chip cookie recipe – these tips will help me tremendously!

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    knitbunnie — July 27, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Have you ever added malted barley powder (not barley flour and not diastatic powder) to your cookies? It’s a fine, brown, barley sweetener that’s used in a lot of commercial baking. In the standard Nestle recipe, I sub in a 1/4 cup of it for 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. It really adds something subtle and good and keeps the cookies moist but not in an under-baked sort of way. If you’re up for more chocolate chip cookie experiments, it could be worth a try.

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    Lola — July 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Well done, Tessa! As a social scientist, I LOVED how methodical you were with this study. I can’t wait to see what you explore with “part II.” Thanks also to therovingstove (Julianne Rhodes) for linking me to your page. ;-)

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    Ashley Kaestle — July 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Hi Tessa!
    Fantastic info! Just wondering what the effect of combining some of the adjustments would be? I love crisp edge, chewy centered cookies so I was thinking the baking powder/baking soda + the melted butter might be my best bet. Does it work that way though?

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    natalie — July 27, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    I love experimenting too. I have to say that using butter in Utah dries out my cookies faster. I find the soft batch style comes out much better using imperial magarine. I also lower my oven to 340 which has not made them spread. I cant wait to try half bs and bp. I also like the monster cookie variation of using ground oats, when taken out at 9 min, they produce hearty, moist cookies. I get the most compliments when I use the tollhouse recipe and pudding mix. Best cookie recipe by far. I can’t wait to see your next test, I loved all ur insight and tips! :)

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    Heidi — July 27, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I assume you meant 2 large eggs in the instructions since that is what toll house uses? The directions say add one at a time … making some right now with 2 eggs and 1/2 soda 1/2 powder.. tempted to add some cornstarch too.

    • Tessa replied: — July 27th, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

      Just one egg! I forgot to edit the instructions – thanks for pointing this out!

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    Heidi — July 27, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    now I see the recipe is halved so just 1 egg , I just got confused with the add one at a time…

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    Kira — July 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for putting this together. I’ve been looking for something like this!

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    M — July 27, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Came across this post via Pinterest and wanted to leave a note to say how much I appreciate it! I’m not a baker (or rather, I’m a beginner baker) so all the variations in cookie recipes can be overwhelming. This was very helpful in explaining what variations can do and which would be most appealing to me.

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    Rhonda Bovine — July 29, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Thanks so much for this post! Now, I know what I have been doing wrong, and clearly it does make a difference. Great experiment, and so glad I found this on Pinterest.

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    Doreen Briese — July 29, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Love this comparison! I have always added the extra flour, something I started years ago because the batter just seemed too thin, and left the mix in the refrig for 24 hours before baking (mix one night, bake the next due to work!). Always got compliments on my cookies. But now I want to try the 1/4 baking soda and 1/4 baking powder and also maybe experiment with a little more brown sugar to see how they turn out, Thank you!!

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    Sandra — July 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to do this. Your experiments answered lots f questions. Thanks again.

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    Janet Poore — July 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    You didn’t say when to add the vanilla.My cookies turn out puffy when I take them out of the oven but then when they cool they go flat.So I am going to try adding the baking soda,baking powder and cornstarch and use more brown sugar and less granulated sugar.Then chill for at least 24 hours.Thanks for all the test you did.Appreciate it.

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    Noell — July 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    I was just wondering about what causes various results today. Have you ever decreased the total amount of sugar in the recipe? I like my cookies less sweet and am wondering how that affects the texture.

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    Kim — July 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    What an amazing post! I’ve tried cookie recipes where they came out “not quite right” but I wasn’t sure what made the cookies too crispy or flat or whatever so I ditched those recipes. Now I can go back and try them again with a little tweak from your handy guide. Bottom line: you’re a genius and thank you!~

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    Kristy — July 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Great post!! I love the comparisons!

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    Paula B. — July 29, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you for such a definitive study (and for all that baking research). I think I’ve made all those cookies, myself, just accidentally! Posting to my “Recipe Box” on Pinterest.

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    Bev Napurski — July 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Great test! Interesting how small changes make such a big difference! I have used the Crisco recipe for many years and always get rave reviews. Other tip is to slightly under cook them – if you like chewy cookies! Keep up the great work!
    http://www.crisco.com/Recipes/Details.aspx?recipeID=2102

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    Laurie — July 29, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I like to substitute some whole wheat flour in many of my recipes. Did you consider that for one of your variations? What are your general experiences with such a substitution?

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    Rosemary Mark — July 29, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    This was excellent research and beautifully shared, thank you! I can imagine the project it was for you, and I’ll surely refer to your tips. Sunset Magazine did similar in 1995 and 1998. I’m not able to find it on-line but I could scan and email if you’re interested.

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    jessica — July 29, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Oh thank you! I was just thinking of doing a grand cookie experiment such as this as I was munching on my favorite bakery cookie and wondering why mine never come out that way. We were on a road trip and so my mind wandered and I wished that someone had written a book or article on cookie tips and then i found this via pinterest…!!! Yay and thank you!

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    Camille — July 29, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    You are doing the Lord’s work.

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    Rana — July 30, 2013 at 1:35 am

    What a great article. Thank you for doing this experiment on everyone else’s behalf. I hope you managed to eat all the cookies you baked? Did you personally have a favourite? How did all your tests compare to the original control version in terms of taste quality?

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    Melissa R. — July 30, 2013 at 4:12 am

    Thanks for posting this! It explains so much. :) Have you ever added vanilla pudding, dry out of the box? I have an Amish recipe that calls for that in chocolate cookies. They usually look great but seem a little dry or cake like. I just wondered if you had tried it.

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    Cindy Psych — July 30, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Thank you. This is a wonderful example of kitchen science. I’ve always found that under cooking them results in the perfect cookie – chewie in the middle and crunchy at the edge.

    I’m curious about the effect of using a mixer vs. hand-stirring. I think it would have an effect on the consistency and taste. Would you consider testing that in round 2?

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    Tracy — July 30, 2013 at 6:02 am

    This info is so helpful … my husband prefers his chocolate chip cookies to be soft and chewy. It’s always been hit or miss for me, now I will know just how to alter the recipe to make “his” perfect cookie (it’s thin and crispy for me) … hmm, they do say that opposites attract :)

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    Matt — July 30, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Did you observe any difference between lining your sheets with parchment and a silpat?

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    Kelly @ IdealistMom.com — July 30, 2013 at 7:06 am

    This is AWESOME! I saw this on Pinterest but it wasn’t pinned from this page, so I went on a search for the original and found your blog post. So glad I did! Pinning this directly from HERE now!

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    Emily — July 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Great! I’ve always wanted to try something like this, but I’m not willing to “mess up” cookies on purpose! Others have mentioned it, but when you try again, I would love to see comparisons of butter, margarine, and butter-flavored Crisco. My sister used to make the Crisco version, and I imagine them now as “oily,” as you mentioned, but otherwise perfect.

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    Caroline — July 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    This post is invaluable for me! THANK YOU! :) My cookies are not my forte…looking forward to using this as a guide next time I bake!

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    Mayon — July 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Perfect post ! So helful thank you !

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    Pat Wesolowski — July 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Why not try it altering margarine, butter, shortening and/or oil?

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    Heidi — July 30, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    This is an awesome reference! I saw it on tumblr, and I’d like to follow up with one variation I always use: I substitute honey for the white sugar (actually, I use about 2/3 brown sugar and 1/3 honey). I find that this gives the cookies a new and exciting flavor – by using different varieties of honey (I generally use acacia) you’ll get different secondary flavors to the cookies. The honey is a little sweet though, so reducing the amount of honey can work well, and I usually have to add a few more tablespoons flour because of the honey being more liquid. It results in very moist cookies though, and the great taste of the honey shines through.
    Sourwood, tupelo, or orange blossom honey are also good choices to substitute in. The honey trick also works amazingly well with peanut butter cookies or cakes.

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    LyndaS — July 31, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Thanks for sharing all your well researched work with us. What a delicious challenge you had before you!

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    Karen Dellaripa — July 31, 2013 at 6:22 am

    I start with the Toll House recipe as well. I melt my butter and while hot pour over the sugars & vanilla and mix with mixer. While mixing I add the eggs and I get kind of a melted carmel consistency. Then I add to the flour, baking soda and salt and mix by hand until thoroughly mixed. Then I add the chocolate chips. Then I chill for several hours. The cookies come out cakey & thick, with just a bit of spread, and the look of your cookie in the melted butter test. The less I chill the batter, the more of a spread I get. I like them thick so I chill as long as possible – sometimes even overnight! I get compliments on my cookies all the time!

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    Karen Dellaripa — July 31, 2013 at 6:23 am

    OH! and I use GRANULATED Brown sugar!

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    connie — July 31, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Have you ever tried (or thought of) using browned butter? My mouth is watering at the thought after reading you blog.

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    Shari — July 31, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Awesome post! Thanks for all your hard work. I have two questions … 1) a previous post said something about using oats instead. Is that finely ground oat flour or would you use whole oats, as in oatmeal? I adore chocolate chip/oatmeal cookies … and 2) I once tasted a version that replaced the oil in the cookies (butter or shortening) with unsweetened applesauce instead. They were obviously lower in fat but were delicious and I preferred them to the higher fat variety. My husband who would NEVER eat low fat preferred them also! Do you know anything about that addition? Perhaps I will Google it to see if I can find out more.

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    Vijay @ NoshOnIt — July 31, 2013 at 10:54 am

    This is awesome Tessa – love how you went about it! I’m a HUGE chocolate chip cookie fan. It’s seriously the one dessert I can’t get enough of. It’s also the only baked good I’ve perfected. I make mine with all brown sugar (combo of light and dark), all brown butter (it makes for an amazing nutty depth of flavor), a several hour resting, and an interesting whipping/resting technique I learned from America’s Test Kitchen. Works like a charm every time. More here if you’re interested! http://noshon.it/blog/2012/12/brown-sugar-brown-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies-peanut-brittle/

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    Sally Cooks — July 31, 2013 at 11:14 am

    This is so helpful – thank you for sharing!

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    Jo Bloga — July 31, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Oh my! This work of genius deserves some sort of lifetime achievement in the baking world award in my book! I any thank you enough for taking one for the team and baking ALL those cookies so we all know forever more how to make cookies exactly how we love them everytime! Bravo :D

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    Silvia L. — July 31, 2013 at 11:38 am

    So glad to see this but I have to point out that on Nestlé’s chocolate chips package, as well as on their website, they say to “Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.” http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/18476/Original-NESTLÉ-TOLL-HOUSE-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies/detail.aspx

    So what difference would this reflect?

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    sally @ sallys baking addiction — July 31, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Oh girl. I am in love with this post! I can’t even imagine how many cookies you made to test everything out. Such great material here. I am infatuated with making cookies. Chocolate chip cookies, of course. You have to try them out with a bit of cornstarch next time. So darn good, Tessa! Pinning this 1,000 times. My readers will love it!!

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    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — July 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I so appreciate this post!! I am not a baker and this had so many great tips. PS: I wish I had been with you to taste test. ;)

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    Sandie — July 31, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    I love this post. I am an experienced home baker. I am 63 and have been baking since I was 8 with my mom. Occasionally something weird will happen with my cookies when I try a new one. This gives me something to refer to when I have a problem. Thanks so so much. I love your site.

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    Ruth Wright — July 31, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks for a great breakdown and answers to what we’ve all been wondering as we try for those perfect cookies! My question is who were the lucky people to eat all the “test” cookies? :)

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    Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen — July 31, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Fantastic post! I’ve shared it with my FB followers and it has had tons of buzz :) What a great resource for cookie bakers everywhere!

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    MaryJo — July 31, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Wow–thanks for doing all those tests; that was a lot of work! I’ve always wondered about the differences that would occur with changes such as you made, but I’m afraid I’m too lazy. I’m saving this for future reference!

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    Meaghan — July 31, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    You’re my hero :)

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    kat — July 31, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    thanks for the info. I always wanted to take the time to tweak the cookie recipe to produce my idea of the perfect cookie. Now, you helped me get there. Thank you! I just wish I could sample each of your batches—-

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    Ginger Hunt — July 31, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you so much. I make those cookies a lot, but I’ve never done such a scientific study. I actually like several ideas, and now I can choose which kind I want to make. Yum!

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    bonnie elliott — July 31, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I have for years made my toll house cookies using 1/2 unsalted butter and 1/2 butter flavor crisco. I like my cookies to be not so crispy – have a little softness to them – and this seems to work for me. Also, I cook them for exactly 9 minutes and take them off the cookie sheet as soon as I’ve put the next pan in the oven and reset the timer. Leaving them to cool on the sheet just lets them brown more, which intensifies the crispness. I also use Reynolds nonstick aluminum foil on my baking sheets.

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    bonnie elliott — July 31, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    As an addendum: I agree with Silvia L. who said the package of chips calls for the oven temp to be 375 degrees. That is the temp I have always used.

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    Allie @ so we sail on — August 1, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Tessa,
    I stumbled on this post, and THANK YOU! I’ve been looking for an explanation like this, of what impact various ingredients have on the final product in recipes. This is such a phenomenal explanation & in chocolate chip cookie form it’s completely relatable! Every time I search, I either end up with articles that are too chemical and scientific, or too focused. Really great post!

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    Sylun — August 1, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Have you thought about trying powdered sugar? I think cookies from Asian bakeries might used powdered sugar instead. The cookies are less sweet and look like refrigerator slice-and-bake cookies.

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    Lilyann C — August 1, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I’ve been trying to find the right chocolate chip cookie. I like them crisp so I know more granulated sugar than brown would make them crispy. I haven’t found the right proportion yet. Sometimes they come out too thin. I want them crisply with a little “meat” on them. Any suggestions? Thanks. Love your post. It’s so informative.

    • Tessa replied: — August 1st, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

      I would definitely try chilling the dough for at least 24 hours next time – that tends to produce a cookie that is crisp at the edges and thick in the middle!

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    Holly — August 1, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Hello, I saw this and couldn’t help but comment- this link is great by the way! I use the tradition Nestle recipe shown when I lived in Florida and now that I live in Arkansas. I do/did the same things with the same ingredients and they turned out PERFECT traditional Nestle cookie in FL ,bu, are too puffy here in AR. I usually make the batter and do the “drop-cookie” method right away. I hate a “puffy” cookie and I just can’t understand why the recipe doesn’t work out like it did in FL . Can you help me? Thanks so much, loving your blog!

    • Tessa replied: — August 1st, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Holly! That’s hard to say. It could be a number of things like the humidity or your oven. Do you have an oven thermometer? Puffy cookies can be due to baking powder or possibly to overbeating the sugar and butter. If you hate the puffy cookie you may want to try melting the butter next time!

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    Jenn Post — August 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    I am wondering what the final results would be if I combined a few of your changes. (ie: add 1/4 each powder and soda and using 3/4 cup of brown sugar and then chilling the dough 24 hours before baking) I plan to use some of your additions/changes and bake them soon!

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    Paula Lauerman — August 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I like to use CRISCO Butter shortening for my chocolate chip cookies. I loved the chart but must say with these old eyes I had a lot of trouble reading the comments ( font too small) and the Purple Font on the Purple Background.

    Love the colors though.

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    Garrett Oler — August 1, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I hope this question was not already asked as I didn’t have/take the time to read them all. I saw once on Americas Test Kitchen, they caramelized the butter and sugar which would obviously increase the butterscotch flavor also. What might you recommend if one were to caramelize in a pan first but also want to chill for a day. Do think it would matter and would chilling change or effect what you did with the butter?

    • Tessa replied: — August 2nd, 2013 @ 8:29 pm

      Both those techniques would definitely increase the butterscotch flavor!

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    Health & Organic Wellbeing (H.O.W ) — August 1, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing!

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    Tenns @ New Mama Diaries — August 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Wow what a great post! I can totally appreciate your hardwork and diligence with this experiment. I’m an avid baker, and I love chocolate chip cookies, however it seems like every time I make them they turn out different. I know baking is a science, so changing just one thing, whether it be a measurement or omitting something, it can change the entire outcome. This is exactly what your post proves. Now, I have a better idea of what happens when my cookies turnout differently than I expect.

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    sally — August 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    To the person who inquired about using shortening–use half butter and half shortening. I think it’s wonderful and makes a noticeable difference in the texture…hth :)

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    Rebeca de Torres — August 2, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Hello! When dough is in the fridge for 24-48 hours, did you shape and bake the cookies inmediatly? Or you wait for the dough were at room temperature? Thank you ;)

    • Tessa replied: — August 2nd, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

      I let the dough sit at room temperature just until it was warm enough to scoop and shape. The colder the dough is, the less spread you will get.

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    Jessica Rombach — August 2, 2013 at 4:33 am

    I use the standard recipe with a variation a friend introduced to me. I switch out the white sugar for a package (regular size) of instant pudding. I started with Vanilla but have experienced with many others like cheesecake and butterscotch. People absolutely love them. You should give it a try.

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    stealingsand — August 2, 2013 at 5:38 am

    With the chilled dough, do you bring it back to room temp before handling or work with it chilled…? It’s August in Texas and “room temperature” with a warm oven can be in the mid-to-upper 80s, so maybe I should shoot for a middle ground…?

    • Tessa replied: — August 2nd, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

      I let the dough sit at room temperature just until it was warm enough to scoop and shape. In Texas summer that shouldn’t take very long at all! The colder the dough is, the less spread you will get.

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    Leaker — August 2, 2013 at 5:47 am

    I sometimes take the mixing bowl off of the stand mixer base and stir the flour in by hand. I have heard that it keeps the cookies from flattening out so much. Anyone else ever heard that?

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    Luli — August 2, 2013 at 8:00 am

    This is pretty cool! I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookies and this has been super helpful and interesting :o It looks like you know what you’re doing, I probably have less of an idea, but I’m studying to get better at it!

    When you used the melted butter method…did you let the butter cool down before you added the sugar and waited for 5 mns. or did you add the sugar to the hot butter and then let it sit 5 mns. to let it cool? Those cookies look really intriguing, with their brownie-like tops :o

    • Tessa replied: — August 2nd, 2013 @ 8:10 am

      The hot butter and sugar sat together for 5 minutes!

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    Luli — August 2, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Great, thanks! I’m going to try the melted butter method then!

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    Kim - Liv Life — August 2, 2013 at 10:48 am

    How can I think you for explaining the science of chocolate chip cookies?? I’ve never taken the time to remember or record how the cookies have turned out, but I know that my family has favorite versions. I just never knew why!
    1000 thank yous!!

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    Sue — August 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    My daughter is busy baking for the fair so your post was so very helpful to her! Thank you so much for sharing.

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    Ev — August 2, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    This is fantastic!
    I think you should know, though, I found the last comparison pic on Pinterest this morning with only a link to tumblr. I have replaced it now with a link to your article since I really did want the whole article (which is even better than I’d hoped). Thanks for the detailed work!

    • Tessa replied: — August 2nd, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

      Thanks for that! Tumblr can be a graveyard for credit/proper linking.

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    Paula — August 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    You did a wonderful job on this experiment. I have been baking chocolate chip cookies for decades, but am never really happy because they often come out different each time! I wondered if putting raw dough on a warm cookie sheet during baking rotations would affect the outcome…I love the chilled look/extra flour look. A little thicker, with great flavor. Nice job! Thank you.

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    Evelyn marrero — August 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    HOW WOULD I CHILL THE DOUGH , ROLLED, OR IN A BOWL ,HOW? THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT INFORMACION.

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    Jennifer — August 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you for this post! I am definately pinning this! :) I use the Nestle recipe and follow it exactly, but I find that my cookies come out flat, almost exactly like the ones you have with all granulated sugar. I would like them to spread less; what do you think I’m doing wrong? Am I creaming my butter/sugar too much? Is my butter warmer than room temperature? Should I refrigerate them before baking? Could it be my oven? Please help! :)

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    Tracy — August 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Very cool post. I love it! :)

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    Pati L — August 3, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Thank you for this! This gives me something to think on & use. It seems like every time I make cookies they come out alittle different then I wonder why – over mixing, butter not soft enough or too soft, too much or not enough or too old flour (I don’t bake much), etc…. This is very helpful. I had heard using shortening will keep them from spreading so much, etc. but I know I’d eaten some good thick ones with just butter! This helps me alot, I’m looking forward to trying your suggestions!

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    Jami — August 3, 2013 at 3:31 am

    Thank you!! I’m going to try the baking power/baking soda cookies.. my cookies hardly ever turn out good. I’m trying this!

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    Tabatha — August 3, 2013 at 3:32 am

    Another variation that I do and has turned out to be the best in my opinion has been to replace the butter with crisco. The results are a puffy, yet chewy cookie that’s not undercooked.

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    Chanda — August 3, 2013 at 4:12 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I really like the chilled dough turnout. I like my cookies chewy, not crispy. I’m definitely going to chill my dough next time I make cookies. Thanks for the tips.

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    Martha — August 3, 2013 at 5:54 am

    Years ago the recipe DID call for all Crisco instead of butter. Now, my mother uses half Crisco and half butter for best results. This was our only experimenting.

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    Barb — August 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

    I have also found that using half Crisco and half butter makes the best looking cookie and is delicious. Otherwise I follow the Tollhouse recipe. This was a great post–lots of fun to see all the differences. Sometimes I think it’s the one we grew up with that we love the most.

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    Jo Donna Carter — August 3, 2013 at 7:57 am

    I like the control, I have tried to chill the dough but mine always seems to
    be real crumbly. What am I doing wrong?
    Thanks,
    Jo Donna

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    Laura Pitts — August 3, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Awesome info! Would love to see the results with butter vs margarine.

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    Amy Peden — August 3, 2013 at 9:10 am

    We have a divided household. I like them a little crisp but hubby likes soft baked. Once we were out of butter so I used some soft butter in a tub stuff instead of butter, along with half shortening. They turned out to be close to soft baked. He was happy. Me, not so much. I look forward to trying these out and seeing what happens!

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    BeaGomez — August 3, 2013 at 9:13 am

    NYT Jacques Torres recipe is the best, esp. if you love salt.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html?_r=0

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    Melanie — August 3, 2013 at 11:11 am

    If u add corn starch it will make a super soft, chewy cookie the batter will look almost like ice cream. But I won’t make any kind off cook one without adding 1 1/2 tbs of corn starch.

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    rumorasit — August 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    The Toll House recipe you’re using isn’t correct at least not according to what I found.

    http://www.verybestbaking.com/mobile/detail.aspx?ID=18476

    Ingredients
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 large eggs
    2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
    1 cup chopped nuts

    Now, with that being said: I swear the Toll House recipe changed and not for the better. Sometime about 10 years ago is the best I can pinpoint. Is the recipe above from way back when? I hope. Cause I loved that recipe.

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    Stevie — August 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    My mother always made the BEST chocolate chip cookies! She used the Nestle recipe, except she substituted Crisco for butter. It makes a cookie with a wonderful texture and fantastic flavor.

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    Winnie Peter — August 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I have always used the Nestlé toll house cookie recipe but replaced the butter with shortening. Everyone has always loved my cookies.

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    WhyNotV2 — August 3, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Great article, thanks for taking the time to bake all those cookies. If you are going to do a Part II as I saw mentioned in one post with respect to flour types, might I suggest other sweeteners as well. Baking Truvia, Baking Splenda and Brown Sugar Splenda come to mind and when used, require half the amount of product (1/2 cup of the above = 1 cup of sugar or brown sugar). Thanks :)

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    Samantha B — August 3, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Do you know if the type of pan used makes any difference? I’ve always suspected that non-stick pans make the cookies turn out differently.

    My boyfriend is also wondering if you know what effect changing the egg size has?

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    Jen — August 3, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Question: how do I cut the sugar by 1/3 and still get a chewy cookie?

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    Denise — August 4, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Thanks so much for sharing! Now I know why my cookies turn out the way they do!

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    Susan — August 4, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Great blog post ! Have you ever tried replacing butter for shortening ? Delicious!!! Would love to know your thoughts on this. My friend makes the “control recipe ” you listed … But uses shortening instead of butter , and makes the cookies little tiny bite sized … She made 600 cookies for my sons grad party … They were ALL gone ,,,,!!!!!

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    Stephanie Baker — August 4, 2013 at 6:05 am

    The melted butter picture looks most like ours. When my Grandma passed away my cousin and I realized we hadn’t written down her chocolate chip cookie recipe so he and I sat down and wrote down exactly what we remembered her doing. She didn’t ever use a mixer, (she used a big spoon, and I still use the same one) and she always melted her butter. She also SIFTED her flour, which I find makes a big difference…and causes me to leave off the two extra tablespoons of flour. We also figured out that to get the right texture…a little crispy near the edges and puffy and chewy in the middle…that we needed to use a little more brown sugar than white, so I just increased the brown sugar by a quarter cup, and decreased the white by the same amount. Now every time I make those cookies it’s like I’m a kid again and my sweet little Grandma is still with me!

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    Zak Dolan — August 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Here’s my question… how do we duplicate Mrs. Field’s chocolate chip cookies at home?

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    Grace Cheang — August 5, 2013 at 1:32 am

    How do you achieve those cookies that are all totally crispy, like the famous amos kind?

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    David Hammond — August 5, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Thanks so much for this! My family is a big fan of chocolate chip cookies, and while mom is great at making them, I’m sure she’ll enjoy this. I personally am not a fan of the cookies themselves, but I do love the cookie dough! Which recipe has the best tasting dough in your opinion?

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    Crystal — August 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Growing up, I always loved my Grandmother’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. When I was older, I asked her for her recipe. Turns out it was the Tollhouse recipe, but she uses 4T butter and 4T margarine instead of the unsalted butter. They turn out completely crispy…and delicious! Although there are still times when I prefer a more chewy cookie, so this guide will definitely come in handy! :-)

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    Craig — August 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this! My kids and I make chocolate chip cookies often, using a recipe from the Mrs. Fields Cookie Book. We’ve occasionally experimented with changing the proportions of some of the ingredients, but what you present here is far more extensive and systematic than what we’ve done.

    Btw, in reference to the question from another commenter above, “How do we duplicate Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies at home?” — the recipe in the Mrs. Fields Cookie Book makes very good cookies, but while they are similar to the cookies sold in Mrs Fields stores, they are definitely not quite the same. I don’t know what accounts for the difference, but after reading this post, I wonder if more brown sugar and baking powder might have something to do with it… time to experiment!

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    p.j. — August 5, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    wow i am so glad to posted this i have made all of the above cookies but i could not figure out why each time they wee different Thank you for solving what was a puzzle to me !!

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    Greg R — August 5, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Ironically (given the domain name), the “other” dimension of heating temperature vs. time isn’t tested here. My wife and I have found that a slightly lower temp and longer baking time, followed (after all are cooked) by a stay in the turned-off-but-still-warm oven, does a much better job of carmelizing the sugar. Not the best approach for those who like soft cookies, but for us crispy-lovers, it’s outstanding.

    (In appearance they look similar to the “all brown sugar” and “chilled 24hr” ones, just somewhat browner.)

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    Catherine — August 5, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    This is absolutely fascinating! Thanks for sharing!

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    max — August 6, 2013 at 6:37 am

    would love to see tests on what the cookies look like when you “over add” ingredients (similar to your spike of additional flour) — so what do cookies look like when there is too much sugar? too much eggs? too much shortening? too much soda?…

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    Gail — August 6, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    About how long do you cream the sugars and butter? I have the big Kitchenaid mixer also and I think I may be overcreaming mine. They come out of the oven beautiful, but fall flat as they cool, they also seem to spread too much. This only seems to be happening since I got the big mixer. Thanks so much!

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    Ruth — August 6, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    I follow the recipe on the Nestle package, but since I love brown sugar, I always use DARK brown sugar (3/4 cup) along with the white. I also remove the cookies from the oven JUST before they look done, then let them finish cooking on the pan for a for about 2 minutes before I remove them to the rack. If I wait til they’re baked, they’re always too dry. I’m going to try the cornstarch.

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    Jennifer — August 7, 2013 at 7:55 am

    This is wonderful!!
    In your future experiments, will you try various baking sheets? I’ve noticed a difference between my light and dark ones.
    Also, what difference to you think a home oven makes versus a professional oven? There is a bakery down the street from me that has wonderfully thick cookies. They also sell the dough, so I’m going to buy it to compare their dough in my oven versus their dough in their oven.
    Thanks!!!!
    Jennifer

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    Ada ~ More Food, Please — August 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Wow, what an amazing project! I always wondered exactly how much of a difference adding/removing/adjusting certain ingredients would affect a particular food item, and this answered it for me :) I really like how thorough you were with the details of each group.

    I’m willing to eat any type of chocolate cookie, but my favorite would definitely be soft and chewy ones!

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    Larry Elliott — August 7, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Interesting experiment you did with cookie recipe to get the various results. I find everyone differs with what they expect out of a choc chip cookie because there are dunkers of cookies who expect very different results. As a previous owner of a very successful cookie business It took me several months to get the right combination of ingredients and technique to get the results I wanted and I never had a complaint. The cookies were thick (not too) and very, very,chocolate in every bite. I preferred Hershey’s chocolate chips because there superior and they offer semi-sweet and special dark as an unbeatable combo. I always chilled my cookie dough before baking and used parchment paper. My convection oven cookies came out better than my conventional oven because the browning was different. The texture was the same though. I used baking powder and baking soda and extra Lg eggs also. A very important tip is you have to know if your baking powder and baking soda is good. Testing with vinegar and water works. I would go up against Debbie Field’s cookies anyday! I had the customers who told me so!

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    Layale — August 8, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Thanks for this. I use half white sugar and half brown sugar, as well as both baking powder and baking soda. Why? Because that is how my ex did it, and he made awesome chocolate chip cookies, and mine seem to turn out good. But, I will have to make some of mine now to compare with all the ones you listed to see how they measure-up. I might end up changing my recipe.

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    Judy — August 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I think I like #3 I am going to try them. I will let you know . Thanks

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    James — August 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Great post! I prefer big, thick, chewy cookies. Mmm-mm.

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    Nancy — August 8, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    With eight children and twelve grandchildren I have baked a lot of chocolate chip cookies. We use equal amounts of white and brown sugar. We also use equal amounts of vegetable shortening and butter. On humid days you need to add about an extra 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. flour per normal batch of cookies. We almost always quadruple the Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe.

    Happy baking.

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    iHERZfood — August 9, 2013 at 4:56 am

    this ist so cool!! thank you so much, really great!
    now I know how to do it right :D

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    Mariposa — August 9, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Regarding the 2 types of flour… Bread flour and cake flour ‘cancel each other out’. Bread flour has more proteins that yield a chewier, tougher products (like bread). Cake flour yields a tender product (like cake). In fact, if you use 50% bread flour and 50% cake flour, you have 100% all-purpose flour.

    -Tips from the bakery ;)

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    Vivien — August 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    wow, nice post, i think i prefer
    – mix of baking powder + soda
    – mix of sugar
    – chilled dough

    which is essentially New York Times Chocolate Chips Cookie which i have tried in below post
    http://www.dishwithvivien.com/2012/10/recipe-3-chocolate-chips-cookie-recipes/

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    Jose Arcadio Buendía — August 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Isn’t baking powder mostly baking soda? Maybe the issue is with the amount of leaven and the reactant instead.

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    BrianN — August 10, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Wow – LOTS of comments on your experiment. Jeffrey Steingarten would be proud of your effort. :)

    Several things (that I see you’ve addressed somewhat already in previous posts):

    – I would have preferred that you also included weights for your volumes (along with the requisite “cups”, etc.)

    – I also would have liked for you to include the parenthetical notes for how your experiments differed from your control batch (so as to allow me to be lazy and not have to keep scrolling up and down).

    – I’d love to see you add “less sugar” and “less butter” to your experiments. My wife is always experimenting with “healthier” chocolate chip cookies and usually just ends up putting less sugar/butter in the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe…with varying levels of success.

    All the best.

    PS: I couldn’t figure out why you wanted our “Mail” above…should read “Email”, though. :)

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    Anna — August 12, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Hey! To the one asking about High Altitude. I am from Breckenridge, CO which is at 9,600ft. My house is actually at about 10,000ft. I use the high altitude baking directions on the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Bag and it works perfectly! They are very tasty.

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    ChrisE — August 12, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Great post!! I am always searching for my perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe! I will definitely use this as a guide for fine tuning my results. I only wish I would have been in your house when you were making all of these batches to help with the taste testing!!!!

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    Jennifer — August 13, 2013 at 12:09 am

    I wasn’t able to read all the comments, so I apologize if this was already asked! I was wondering if you tried combining all of the different tests for one recipe? For example, using both baking soda and powder, part melted butter, part room temp, a little more flour, equal parts brown/white sugar, plus chilling the dough… Wonder how those cookies would turn out?!! I might have to try it bc I’m just too curious not too :). Thanks for sharing this!!

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    Holly — August 13, 2013 at 3:51 am

    Have you tried using margarine v. butter? We never have butter on hand and they always seems to turn out a little but different.

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    Menucha — August 14, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Hey, I would love to try this out. What about using oil?

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    D.Ionae — August 14, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    What a great post!! this is a great way to get home made cookies to turn out exactly how you want.. I will be using this to help me perfectt my home made cookies! thank you!

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    dana — August 15, 2013 at 11:54 am

    hi,
    i want to try the butter recipe but am a bit confused of the process regarding using the hand mixer.
    after melting butter+sugar, how do i continue?
    hand mix the egg?
    than hand mix the flour mixture?
    or just stirring by hand?
    many thanx for this wonderful project (-:
    dana

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    Carol — August 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Can not wait to try these ideas! Thank you for doing the hard work!

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    Cindy Y — August 17, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Thank you for the information. Alton Brown on the Food Network did something like this. He made three batches. “The Chewy” one is what we like. I will have to try the cornstarch option.

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    Dene — August 18, 2013 at 9:58 am

    As a high school culinary arts teacher I have used something very similar to this to introduce the functions of ingredients in baking. This is an excellent update to what I have used. Thanks so much!

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    CJ — August 19, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Wow! Thanks for all the work you put into this. I’d like to see the results with a sugar cookie recipe. I like thick, chewy cookies that slightly crack. Almost the consistency of a molasses cookie. I have only had them one time and have never been able to duplicate them. Thanks!

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    LPDMOM — August 20, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Have you ever tried using half butter and half vegetable shortening (crisco in the can)? Just curious – that’s what my grandma did a LONG time ago!

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    Wanda — August 20, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Hi! Love the tips, but my concern is that my chocolate chip cookies turn out hard when they get cold! :( and I dont know what it is, I hope you can give me some suggestions,
    Thanks
    Wanda

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    Elise — August 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    You mentioned your favorite batch were the chilled ones. Both baking soda and baking powder recommend that you cook the cookies immediately after mixing, as the active ingredients in both have a quick reaction time. Baking powder has both single and double acting varieties. Perhaps you used double acting, as that can sit for a longer period of time? I know that you should never let items w/ baking soda sit for any length of time.

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    Joy — August 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    …Cookies made with butter usually are too soft and old tasting after a day or so vs if you use vegetable shortening which keeps them soft yet also crunchy and fresh…I just wish it was healthier.

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    Adriana mayorga — August 21, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Last year when I found out I was expecting I became obsessed with baked goods. That was my ultimate craving and we made it a goal to find the best chocolate chip cookie and after almost a year in researching and 5 experiments I can finally say we found it. I love all your details that can either change or make a cookie. We personally went with the recipe with added baking powder. The cookies are awesome and a thumbs up with my entire family ! Thank you so much for a recipe I can use again and something to pass onto my girls!

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    Bailey — August 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Someone may have already shared this but or my “Bailey’s Chocolate Chip Cookies,” I use 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of shortening to get a lighter, fluffier cookie that isn’t as greasy!

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    Haley — August 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Replacing the white sugar in the Nestle recipe with a small box of instant vanilla pudding will create puffier, softer cookies, that are more flavorful and STAY soft. So good.

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    Handmade Reviews — August 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    This is a super useful guide. Somehow my chocolate chip cookies always turn out a little different from everyone else’s. Now I know why!

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    Lola — August 22, 2013 at 12:54 am

    this is excellent, just what i needed!! and it reminds me of the friends episode, I didnt realise phoebe was the only one who looked to nestle for inspiration on cookies.

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    Kristin (Meals Outside the Box) — August 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Wow. Thanks so much for this. I have always wondered how many of the changes you made would effect the cookies. By the way, I have used shortening in peanut butter cookies and snickerdoodles. I found the recipes on King Arthur Flour’s website. My family now requests them that way. I use butter flavored shortening.

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    Jill — August 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Thank you. I bet your house smelled awesome for days.

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    KJ — August 25, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Great post! Was wondering if you have tried not using butter but rather shortening or oils instead of butter? I love butter but my vegan friends do not. Some of my pals like to use crisco type stuff and swear by it. What you you think? Any photos?

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    Er — August 26, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I just made chocolate chip cookies over the weekend and messed up the order – I mixed the eggs into the sugars, before adding the butter! It took forEVER to get the butter mixed into the egg+sugars, actually it was pretty full of butter-lumps when I started sifting in the flour mixture.

    The result? Flat, crispy, kinda greasy-textured cookies. Still totally edible though!

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    Karoline — August 27, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Thank you so much for this! I looooove baking, but pretty much stopped two years ago when I had to go gluten free (paleo) for health reasons (stupid autoimmune issue). I’ve recently started experimenting with alternate ingredients, and I find posts like this (and your sequel) REALLY USEFUL. Learning the principles of each ingredient will definitely make reinventing the wheel a lot easier. (And before someone suggests it, I find most gluten free flour blends kind of gross, so just no.)

    I look forward to any other experiment posts that you do!! And you’ve definitely inspired me to do some experimenting of my own. Thank you!!

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    mary — August 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    my chocolate chip cookies are always hard after they cool completely, that i wind up throwing them out. Also my peanut butter cookies taste more like flour than peatnut butter, HELP!

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    Adelina Priddis — September 2, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    I just saw someone post this on facebook without giving you credit…I left the link to here, but thought you might like to know. It’s on the Solution for Every Day Problem page

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    Juli — September 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I have the fondest memories of making Nestle’ Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies with my Gramma. We thought we had it to a tee. But something is different nowadays. We didn’t want a thick or crispy, we liked a softer, more spread cookie. The only way I can get this now is leaving out the baking soda until I mix the flour in. If I put the soda in flour and set aside as directed, then they’ll get big and crunchy. Have any suggestions why?

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    Name — September 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    @rumorasit: Look more carefully. It’s the same recipe, except it was halved and nuts weren’t added. Math.

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    Christina (Sisters Running the kitchen) — September 18, 2013 at 9:53 am

    in your opinoin…what is the best combo?

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    Tina — September 20, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Made these cookies and they were not great! They didn’t flatten out like the one in the picture.

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    Deborah — September 21, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Great experiment, can’t wait to see more.

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    Jenny Portem — September 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Now these cookies just made the cookie monster in me raving-mad hungry! I’ll try the dough chilled in 24 hours with baking soda and granulated brown sugar. Thanks so much for sharing this! Seeing how the cookies look like when different methods are used make it easier to choose the best method for our personal taste :D

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    Mary — September 26, 2013 at 5:45 am

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! <333 I was finally able to whip up the perfect batch of cookies with this guide! They were soft and gooey and thick and had a beautiful spread to it. Thanks so much!!! :-D

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    Nora — October 6, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Have you considered trying gluten free flour recipes? I am still learning and have always baked with bread and cake flours with my cookies, but now I have to stay away from those flours. Any advice would be appreciated!

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    Joan — October 6, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Thank you so much for the cookie guide. This comes at a perfect time because lately my chocolate chip cookies have been coming out flat. The kids said the cookies don’t look good but they taste great. I have been making cookies for over 40yrs and this is the first time this has happened, now I know what to do. Thanks again.

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    Dan Leeder — October 6, 2013 at 8:42 am

    My cookies always come out like the top row #2 from left. Now I know why. It seems to me that the best cookie might be made with brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, then frozen and thawed before cooking. How about one made with all Splenda? How would that work?

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    Kim — October 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    If I only have salted butter do I omit the 1/2 tsp that it calls for in the recipe?

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    Diana — October 6, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I make the variation with both baking powder and baking soda AND put the dough in the fridge for 24 hours. The best ever!! AND I never bake on humid or rainy days (the weather affects my baking as we live in a 100+ year old farm house that “breathes” – no central A/C to control humidity)

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    Julia — October 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Hi!You should try using cream of tartar..it leaves the cookies w/ those fabulous crackles across the top.(It is an ingredient of baking powder)..I use
    1C white sugar
    1C brown sugar
    1C butter
    2eggs
    1tsp vanilla
    1tsp baking soda
    1tsp cream of tartar
    1/2tsp salt (I use salted butter)
    3C flour..bake 9 min @350

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    Karen — October 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Cool! Back in 8th grade, I messed with chocolate chip cookies for my science fair project. I did things such as doubling or removing ingredients. I remember that double eggs was preferred over the control recipe! Double vanilla was pretty good too, but so was removing the vanilla. Double brown sugar was baaaad!

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    Jeff — October 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Tessa, A friend liked your page on FB and it caught my attention. I’ve been baking cookies on and off for about 30 years now. I got back into it about 15 years ago to share with my co-workers and make people at work smile. Somehow in the process I think I made cookie addicts out of a large portion of the people I made them for. I started off religiously following the Nestle Toll House Recipe on the back of the package of the chips. Then I decided I really wasn’t happy with it so I started experimenting. I’ll share a few of my test results.

    1. Double the chips. I never had enough chips in my cookies. So I just doubled the number of chips in my cookies. The upside was people LOVED them. The down side was that you ended up with cookies with giant clumps of chips in them. I still use the Nestle chips, but they saved me when I found the mini chips. Now the cookies have double the chips but no more clumps of melted chips in them.

    2. I thought how about a “slightly” healthier cookie? I switched from Betty Crocker All Purpose Bleached Flour to Betty Crocker Whole Wheat Flour. The color of the dough and the cookies turned a little darker. The flavor did not change at all. The texture of the cookies became slightly courser when eating them.

    3. My learned lesson about butter. I was always in a rush to get things done and didn’t wait for the butter to soften. When I took the butter straight from the fridge to the bowl, I ended up with cookies that looked like the “more flour” cookies in your image. When I let the butter soften I am now getting a mix of “both” to “melted butter”…

    It’s always funny when people ask me for my cookie recipe and I tell them just follow the recipe on the bag, and double the chips. I use pure vanilla and un-salted butter and the wheat flour. Now I only use the mini-chips though. They still can’t believe I am following the recipe.

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    Jennifer — October 17, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I usually use dark brown sugar, and use more of that than the white sugar. Is there a reason you don’t use dark brown sugar?

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    lisa — October 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I love cookies (especially chocolate chip) and I am in LOVE with this post!! Definitely trying the more flour and the more brown sugar options. I’m curious, instead of butter have you ever tried the recipe with Crisco?

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    Marissa tijerina — October 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    CHocolate chip cookies
    1000000000

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    Rust — October 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    this is one of the best posts EVER. anywhere. thank you! :)

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    T. Franklin — October 23, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    So my cookies are crumbly, but I used Crisco butter shortening for it and followed the directions on the back of the chocolate chip bag. nestle of course. but they crumbled. help

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    Jon Suelto — October 24, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    This is really THE ultimate chocolate chip cookie research! This should be published as an academic paper!

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    Elora — October 31, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Oh ho! I’m saving this page! Whoohoo! Now I have something to consult every time I make them! Now I have to go show mom. Thanks so much!

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    S.B. — November 2, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Excellent experiment and documentation. Thank you.

    The brown sugar one looks very good to me and extra puffy too. I will try it without the baking powder since the soda / extra brown sugar effect seems to do the trick.

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    Amy — November 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    pinned it!! thanks ;)

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    Ellen — November 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    The comment about cookies turning out different in one state vs. another has me wondering about the effect of electric vs. gas ovens. I know that the gas gives off moisture during combustion, so I have found that electric is better for breads, while gas is better for roasting meats.

    A future experiment?

    • Tessa replied: — November 6th, 2013 @ 9:36 am

      Good point! If only I had two different ovens at my disposal! My oven is an electric one. Maybe one day I can find a friend with a gas oven to test this theory out with cookies.

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    Vicki — November 13, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Which one is best if you like them really crunchy? I like them softer, the husband likes them really crunchy.

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    Brent — November 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    What a great comparative study, and great page overall!! :) Thank you, I was trying to figure out what kind of difference I would have switching out the baking soda for baking powder and here you have it!
    Thank you for your time putting this together, bookmarked! :)

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    Joshua — November 27, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I love it. Thanks for the examples of each. I’m just wondering who got to eat all your experiments? I have had varied success with my chocolate chip cookies and I think this helps me to understand the differences. I have to say in the last couple months I made some of my best cookies ever. I don’t know what it is but it might be the high humidity.

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    Donna — November 27, 2013 at 10:39 am

    My chocolate chip cookies are always considered the best by those who have had the opportunity to indulge in them. I am asked over and over to make them for various occasions. I use the original TollHouse recipe on the package, but my secret is to adjust the flour to which my hands render its perfect consistency (never a measured portion, so I cannot give you the exacts), resulting in the most soft, chewy cookie that never flattens out and is packed with flavor. My freezer is always stocked with bags of Nestle Chocolate Chips but never any cookies as they disappear faster than I can make them!

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    Carrie — November 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    oh my word! this is awesome. and I didn’t have to do it! that makes it even more awesome! thank you ever so much for your repeated hard work and for sharing it. did I mention, awesome? :D

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    Robin — November 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I use the baking soda/baking powder recipe but I bake mine in a muffin tin. I have the 1oz scoop from Pampered Chef and it gives you a consistent chunkier sized cookie.

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    asa — November 29, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Thank YOU!

    People make fun of me because I LOVE my chocolate chip cookies as dark brown as I can get them (so I tend to use dark brown sugar) and as crisp as I can get them without burning them. I don’t want them moist – at all. I prefer them not to be flat, but not chunky because of course, it’s too hard for them to be crisp all the way through then!

    In the old days I’d then microwave them (I don’t own & won’t use one now) for about 5 seconds which made the chips melt & the cookie remained crisp —-> A bit like heaven.

    If you have any suggestions on how to do things to produce a cookie that is overall dark & crisp without being burnt, I’d appreciate the tips!

    asa

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    angela guinnip — November 30, 2013 at 2:16 am

    super glad I stumbled upon this. It explains a lot of things. I keep wondering why I haven’t been able to duplicate the recipe that my mom had many years ago. I think I have it figured out now. I think I will be making a lot more chocolate chip cookies and with results more to my liking. thank you.

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    Reb Schleg — November 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Your a “Kitchen Scientist”…always wanted to experiment but didn’t have time…glad you did it ! Keep it coming!

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    Deb Mulcahy — December 4, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I use cold butter, directly out of the fridge, and frozen chocolate chips. Also use equal amounts of white and brown sugar. Cookie dough is cold as it goes into oven, cookies don’t spread and they stay chewie.

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    Linda — December 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    This is an awesome comparison. Now I’m hungry for cookies. Mmmm….cookies…

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    Laura — December 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Hey! I’m from Uruguay and here chocolate chip cookies are not a classic, the only “control” badge I have are some industrial ones from the supermarket that are really really crunchy and dry (hurts my gums), so I don’t know what’s normal and what’s not… in your opinion, which are the best? I’d like to bake some but don’t want a fiasco or a super hard badge no person will eat! Thanks in advanced! Really nice post

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    munchy — December 8, 2013 at 9:20 am

    thanks a lot for the comparisons and pictures it really helps, they look great!

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    haley pounders — December 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Lots of little sidenotes on my nestle recipe now, thanks!
    Going to try 1c brown sugar + 1/2 c sugar, chilled 24 hr, and 2 tsp cornstarch.

    Also, I noticed that my alternative chocolate chip cookie recipe from a flour package, that I use interchangeably with tollhouse, has only 1 egg but identical otherwise… must not matter as much as I thought. I used to panic when I only had 1 egg, now I guess I don’t have to half the recipe anymore.

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    Luke — December 13, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Do you sift your flour? I don’t know whether to trust the ‘pre-sifted’ all-purpose type.

    My cookies sometimes come out too ‘cakie’ if I don’t sift – does that make sense to you?

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    Amy — December 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I am going to try 1/4 tsp BP and 1/4tsp BS and 1/2 brown sugar! I can’t wait.

    PS Do you sift the flour after you measure? I stink at measuring!

    AWESOME science experiment! :)

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    Jen — December 20, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Love this! I linked to this post today. We used your guide to make our favorite kind of cookies, and I illustrated our favorite recipe for cooking with kids.

    http://wedontwriteonmeat.com/recipe-edgars-favorite-chocolate-chip-cookies

    Thanks for the great post!

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    Doris — January 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks for your post! My mother in law made the best chocolate chip cookies, and they were crunchy and not chewy at all. They exploded with flavor in your mouth, and were so pleasantly crunchy. I have been trying to replicate them since she passed away, unsuccessfully so far. Which of ours is the crunchiest version? I am guessing melted butter…..they look he most like moms.
    Kudos!

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    Connor — January 4, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    I recently replaced all the butter with crisco (vegetable shortening) this produced a chewier and softer cookie, they were also airier and taller than the normal recipie. I recommend, if you are looking for these results. Have fun baking! :)

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    Rose — January 12, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Hi madam.. im from the philippines.. ive been doing chocolate oatmeal cookies ..and it seem whatever I do theres still lacking something.. do you think you can help me how to tweak your recipe… I would appreciate it dearly.. tnks

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    Cindy — January 14, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Have you tried a control batch(es) with sugar substitutes.? My husband is diabetic so i need to use one he can have or I feel terribly guilty about making cookies..LOL

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    Mona — January 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Hi! I really loved your post…..but is it possible to make these cookies egg free. Any substitute for eggs, as my daughter is allergic to eggs.

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    Dani M — January 26, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    I usually make a double batch & refrigerate it. I bake only half a dozen cookies at a time since there are only two of us. It keeps for awhile. I prefer fresh baked to cookie jar. Interesting post! Thank you :)

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    Jen — January 27, 2014 at 7:14 am

    This is great. My go-to recipe has 3/4 c. Brown sugar and 3 T. White sugar and they’re SO good. But talking about the melted butter, Alton Brown from food network has a “chewy”, “puffy” & “crispy”. The chewy (my favorite) has melted butter, bread flour and is chilled. Yummy!

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    Arlene Hughes — January 27, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Wondering about if you add the corn starch do you delete any flour? I loved reading every one’s comment. Loved this cookie post. Thank you :)

    • Tessa replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 10:07 pm

      No, the cornstarch is simply in addition to the flour. Thanks!!

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    Kathy Gobbel — January 29, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Have you tried lowering the temp 5 degrees to get a chewier cookie?

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    Alexis — January 31, 2014 at 1:41 am

    Let’s talk Gluten Free. I’m not a connoisseur of sweets so I don’t bake much but my daughter is strictly GF. Is the ratio of wheat flour to GF flour the same and do you recommend a specific brand that isn’t gritty?

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    Shelly — February 1, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I’ve never liked the way my chocolate chip cookies have turned out, never!!!
    So glad you have the time to complete the testing, love it. Thank you for sharing!!!!

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    jlf — February 13, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    This is sheer mad genius! Why hasn’t someone done this before!!

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    Rainbeau — March 4, 2014 at 2:37 am

    Thank you so much for your clear, straightforward experiment. I try different versions all of the time, but I just enjoyed them & didn’t take good enough notes to duplicate my favorites. I enjoyed reading everyone’s responses. My favorite variation is to add chopped walnuts or pecans. I love dark brown sugar, melting & creaming the butter & sugars & cooling the dough. I always use dark chocolate, a few times with dried cherries added. I’ve never tried the cornstarch. How do you think that added cornstarch affects the outcome? Thank you for your care in responding to all of these fans’ questions!

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    Bethany — March 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Thank you so much for doing this. I have had such bad luck with CC cookies and could never figure out why. I’m looking forward to trying some of the different variations for eating, um, research purposes!

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    Biljana — March 10, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Easy & quick, tasty & sweat … what more can you possibly want? Ultimate CC cookies on the way :)

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    Diana Trimble — March 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Although I appreciated the detail in your article a lot, concerning what to expect if using more or less sugar/butter/flour etc., I must tell you that when I actually made the recipe, I was disappointed to find that the cookies tasted very, well, not-sweet shall we say. So I went back to check your recipe and I see that you have made errors in your conversions from cups to ounces. As I am in Europe and thus using weight measurement devices, I paid particular attention to following your notes, such as that 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour equals 5 ounces or 142 grams. I followed this same formula in converting the other dry ingredients, namely sugar. But as I later discovered – a “cup” of dry ingredients is actually much closer to 8 ounces/200 – 220 grams (some sugars are sweeter and heavier). I am not sure why making this same mistake on flour and sugar would result in not-sweet cookies, if the error applies to both ingredients then one would think the proportion would be the important thing, but I am telling you that these cookies did not taste great even though I used all top quality ingredients. I think it is better to use really precise measurements in a baking recipe, not cups and teaspoons but actual weights. Thanks.

    • Tessa replied: — March 12th, 2014 @ 2:30 pm

      Diana – if I am understanding you, applying the same weight measurement conversion for sugar as was listed for flour is entirely incorrect. Flour and sugar do not weigh the same. If you measured 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of lead, would it weigh the same? No, and that applies to all dry ingredients. A cup of flour is about 125 grams whereas a cup of granulated sugar is about 200 grams, and that can vary depending on the brand and variety as you mentioned. All across the internet there are some great conversion calculators that can convert specific baking ingredients from a variety of volume and weight measurements. I’d recommend using that in the future when following American recipes. Additionally, as the majority of my readers are American and use volume measurements, that is always going to be my primary unit of measure, with weights given in baking recipes often. I hope this cleared up your confusion.

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    Mia — March 17, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I bake them and they always seem to turn into paper thin, rock hard, “frisbees”. They are hard to scrap off the pan and not very good so I end up saying forget it and throw them away. I follow the recipe on the package, look up recipes on line for simple chocolate chip cookies, changed the cooking time and temperature, and have even tweeked the recipe like you have done. Nothing seems to change though. I feel like why bother spending the time/money when I can buy a box and be done. Then I have someone else bake them, bring them over, and they are perfect. Why do mine always turn out like this?
    I even tried the full sheet pan recipe like my mother in law makes thinking that might work better and they turn out like a cake/brownie thickness and texture. Then the edges burn, instead of getting crispy corners everyone fights over. I’m not an expert in the kitchen, but can bake many things that come out great. Why are my cookies such a disappointment ???

    • Tessa replied: — March 17th, 2014 @ 8:55 pm

      What kind of pan are you using? Avoid anything nonstick or really thin. Also avoid using nonstick cooking spray. I like to use high-quality Chicago Metallic half sheet pans. Additionally, your oven may need to be calibrated. An oven thermometer can make a world of difference! Many ovens can be off 25°F, even 50°F.

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    Aqiyl Aniys — March 28, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Please guide me. :) The cookies look delicious.

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    Florence — March 30, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Amazing CC review. I am a bit of a perfectionist in the cooking department, been looking for a long time a certain kind of cookie and would love some help. I would like the cookie to not spread so much (as I read more flour) but denser and thick, very tall and find gooyness in the center but crispyness on the edges. The ones I have tried spreads too much and stays very thin. Is that kind of cookie I’m searching is imposible, easy or a very good challenge? What king of proportions am I looking for? Thanks!

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    Susie in MO — April 15, 2014 at 6:07 am

    Just found this today – we are doing a cookie unit in my Foods 1 class now and cannot WAIT to have my kids compare different way to make chocolate chip cookies!! Thanks!

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    Ali — May 28, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Thanks! I have been making (too) many delicious cookies lately. I’ve had the best luck with the “both” recipe using frozen chocolate chips and lining the pan with a thin coating of melted butter instead of parchment paper. It makes for crispier edges while keeping the centres gooey.

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    Liz Lawrence — June 2, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Thanks so much for this experiment!! I have been in the quest for my favorite ccc recipe for years. This may be a stupid question, but this weekend I chilled my dough overnight for the first time and it was impossible to portion out the next day because it was so hard! Should I portion before chilling? Or should I let it soften out of the fridge before scooping? Thanks for your help!!

    • Tessa replied: — June 2nd, 2014 @ 9:06 am

      Yep, just let it sit at room temperature until it’s soft enough to scoop.

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    Amy — June 11, 2014 at 7:04 am

    This guide to chocolate chip cookies is AWESOME! I always let my butter go to room temp (the eggs as well), and I use more brown sugar than white sugar.

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    Windy C. — June 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Thank you sooo much for all your investigation. It has made this expats stay abroad so much easier with a dependable comfortfood recipe. Good vibes and eats to your excellent website.

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    Dalal — June 16, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Question: how much weight did you gain doing this amazing fun experiment!? lol
    I want to go bake them ALL and taste the difference!!

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    Kristin — June 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Does it matter if the egg is cold? Should it be at room temp? Thanks for all these great tips!

    • Tessa replied: — June 16th, 2014 @ 3:24 pm

      It won’t be the end of the world if the egg is cold, it doesn’t have quite as much of an effect as the temperature of the butter. However, with any baking, it’s always best to use room temperature ingredients.

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    Cherry — August 4, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Does these techniques work for (basically) any cookie with the usage of brown & white sugars?

    • Tessa replied: — August 4th, 2014 @ 7:13 am

      They should work for the most part!

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    Amy Makson — August 4, 2014 at 6:37 am

    Thank you SO much for this… it is very helpful!

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    Kerry Ford — August 5, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Hi! One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is that flours are regional and variations in cookies might also be the results of different flour brands. I used a special type for baking that I learned from my commercial baker mother-in-law, I forgot the name today, but will repost when I find the paper I wrote it on. There are so many different types of wheat that produce different results in baking.

    • Tessa replied: — August 5th, 2014 @ 9:00 am

      Hi Kerry, that’s a great point! I made an effort to include the brand of flour used so the results could be better replicated. To be honest, I haven’t noticed a huge different in the outcome of cookies using different AP flours (King Arthur vs. Gold Medal, etc.) but have noticed more of a difference in other baked goods like cakes. I typically use bread flour anyways which has a more standard protein content!

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    Miranda sparkman — August 5, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Wow, this is very helpful. You should try this with varied cooking temperature. I always cook my cakes and cookies at 300. Cookies and cakes stay moist and don’t get crispy. My gingerbread cookies are soft and people always want the secret recipe :)

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    Neil Preston — August 5, 2014 at 8:28 am

    I’d be curious to see what you think of the results of using your preferred version and 1) adding an extra egg, and 2) using soft margarine.

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    Bonnie — August 5, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    HI, Not sure if this has been brought to your attention. In the control recipe Ingredients “1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces or 142 grams) all-purpose flour” . Should it be 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) or 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces or 142 grams) all-purpose flour.
    Thank you for an interesting article. I’ll try some of your hints. I Haven’t been able to make a great chocolate chip cookie since they took the animal fats out of Crisco in the ’90s.

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    Bea Wilson — August 6, 2014 at 6:07 am

    I had an older lady in the market tell me
    she only uses shortening and never butter but I have not tried it.

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    Jenn Baker (@jbakernyc) — August 7, 2014 at 11:02 am

    A year late but just saw a friend post this and I love it as a guide! Often wondered about baking soda v. baking powder and glad it’s confirmed that brown sugar is a must!

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    teddjpb — August 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    I tried the baking soda and baking powder combination and here are my results:
    He cookies are completely delicious but just the slightest bit dry. They didn’t really turn out like they did in the picture (here’s a picture of mine: http://imgur.com/Im09ocz) but maybe that’s because I didn’t cook them on parchment paper. Unless you have something better, I definitely recommend this recipe and I’m so glad I found this guide to the perfect cookie!

    • Tessa replied: — August 12th, 2014 @ 10:36 pm

      I’m glad you found it helpful. Thanks so much for including a picture, it makes it so much easier to offer suggestions. Looking at it, the cookies seem unusually pale (do they appear that way in person?) so my first thought is that your baking soda may actually be expired. Baking soda promotes browning. To test for freshness, place 1/4 teaspoon in a bowl and pour 1 teaspoon distilled vinegar on top. If it bubbles up, it is fresh. If nothing happens, throw away. Another question pops in my mind when looking at the pic – did you use an electric mixer to beat the dough? It looks as though the dough may not have been totally cohesive before being baked, if that makes sense. If you were following the Nestle Tollhouse recipe base, the cookies should definitely not be dry. Is is possible the flour was mis-measured? I actually find that recipe on the greasy side!

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    Robin — August 23, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I know I am repeating what everybody has already said so I won’t be long winded. THANK YOU! This is one of the most useful posts I have ever come across. I am kind of a snob when it comes to chocolat chip cookies, I know how I like them and that Is how I want them to be. Now, I know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Tessa replied: — August 24th, 2014 @ 11:01 am

      Thank you – I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!!

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    Adeline — August 28, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    This has been so very helpful…..I’m so glad you posted the pictures, it’s so easy to pick out what my cookies look like and why. I too have pretty much always used the Toll House recipe with a few changes & still never been perfectly happy with the results…..now I’m going to try a few of your suggestions. I’m pretty sure my family is going to go for more or all brown sugar, both baking soda & baking powder and going to try the cornstarch tip. Everyone has been so helpful with their comments & tips……
    Thanks for a great site

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    Jana — September 8, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    I’m curious if you have experimented with chocolate chip cookie cakes. Which recipe alterations would work best for that application?

    I have a batch of dough in my fridge right now,. Excited about baking them tomorrow!

    • Tessa replied: — September 9th, 2014 @ 7:50 am

      I’m not sure what you mean… there’s no real way to turn a cookie recipe into a cake recipe so maybe I’m misunderstanding you? Happy baking!

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    Google — September 9, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Everyone has been so helpful with their comments & tips Thanks for a great site

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    Google — September 11, 2014 at 4:28 am

    Both baking soda & baking powder and going to try the cornstarch tip. Everyone has been so helpful with their comments & tips……
    Thanks for a great site

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    sharina — September 14, 2014 at 6:46 am

    hi, I love your blog, is there a way you can show how to make the baking powder and baking soda recipe by hand or with a hand mixer. I have no access to a stand mixer it broke and I want my cookies to come out just like yours!

    • Tessa replied: — September 14th, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

      You can always use an electric hand mixer in place of a stand mixer when making cookies!

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    Lizzy (Good Things) — September 17, 2014 at 2:00 am

    Dear Tessa, I am loving this post! Would you mind if I shared it on my site, Good Things, along with the photo of the different cookies please… with a link back to this page, of course?! Do hope you say yes. Thank you in anticipation! xo

    • Tessa replied: — September 17th, 2014 @ 7:23 am

      Sure, go ahead!

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    Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things — September 17, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Tessa, thank you!

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    E11is — October 2, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Very helpful post! Can’t thank you enough for taking the time. :D

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    sydney — October 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    this post was really helpful! thanks.

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    Sarah — October 28, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I wonder what would happen if you chilled your “both” recipe for 24 or 48 hours.

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    amol navale — November 8, 2014 at 1:52 am

    pls detiles about chocoleat cookies information (ash contain protin and mositure contain)

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    Diana — November 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Curious how to substitute chick peas for butter and still maintain level of crispness

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    carly — November 16, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Thank you for doing this. I never know what is ok to substitute in when I am out of something. I am a “use what I have” girl when cooking. Baking is another story, things do not turn out ok when you substitute. Although, I have had some great surprises that way. Thanks for your post. I have printed all 100 pages and it is in my baking pantry forever. :)

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    Michelle — November 19, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Great Job! You should try what poster #35 suggests. It’s Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie recipe. It uses Baking soda and powder, a little more brown sugar than white and has a 24 hour rest in the fridge. Since finding that recipe I haven’t looked back! Also, I use weight not volume, way more consistent!
    Happy Baking!!

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    Gina Calderon — November 19, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Looking forward to trying different variations for a cookie party!

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    ashley — November 21, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    What happens if you use splenda sugar instead of granulated? Does it make therm cook differently or change the taste, color, texture?

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    Da bossest — November 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Tessa I like potatoes

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    Jerry — December 4, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Can you sub table salt for the sea salt? If so, how much? Can’t wait to try these, I’m a big ccc fan!

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