The Secret to Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

It started in high school … my quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I searched for a recipe that produced Mrs. Field type cookies. You know, chewy on the inside but with a little crunch on the outside. The Toll House cookie recipe left a bit to be desired, in my opinion. The cookies from that recipe were flat and lifeless. I wanted a recipe that created a pretty, well-mounded cookie that wasn’t dry. After many years of trial and error, I finally found the secret to a pretty cookie with just the right texture and great taste!

Chocolate Chip CookiesWhen I make chocolate chip cookies, I prefer to make them bite-sized. They’re cute, and you can eat a few without feeling guilty. And the secret? The secret is in the shortening and sugar. It took a lot of trial and error with recipes just to figure that out!

Chocolate Chip CookiesThe recipe I’ve tweaked uses a critical ratio of brown sugar to white sugar. My recipe uses twice as much brown sugar as it does white sugar, which provides a nice, chewy texture and flavor to the cookie. My recipe also calls for both butter and shortening. A little bit of shortening greatly improves the way the cookies turn out so don’t substitute all butter for the little bit of shortening.

Chocolate Chip CookiesAnd since these chocolate chip cookies are petite in size, I use mini semisweet chips as opposed to full size. They just work better with the smaller cookie. I’ve also slightly reduced the number of chips in the recipe since I like more dough and less chocolate chips.

TCL - Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies-3When it comes to flour, you can choose from 2 options. Less flour (2 cups) provides a flatter cookie like you see on the right. Increase the flour by almost one-fourth cup and you get a more rounded cookie like you see on the left. The taste turns out the same.

Chocolate Chip CookiesThe flatter cookies are slightly chewier, but I think the ones with more flour are prettier.

Mini Chocolate Chip CookiesAnother secret is to bake the cookies for a little less time than is required. Bake them too long and they come out hard. I take them out of the oven just when the edges start to brown … they look like they’re not thoroughly cooked but you leave them to cool on the cookie sheet and they continue to bake a bit. Taking them out of the oven at the right time is critical to their chewiness.

Chocolate Chip CookiesI have this French baguette board and the cookies fit just perfectly all the way down. Great for a photo shoot. I have to remember to serve them on this board sometime when company is over for dinner.  Now that you know my secrets to what I think is the perfect chocolate chip cookie, I’ll share the recipe that I’ve tweaked over the years. If you decide to make them, I hope you’ll let me know how they turn out!

Miniature Chocolate Chip Cookies
2/3 c. butter, softened
1/3 c. shortening
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 c. OR 2 1/4 scant c. flour (use 2 cups for a flatter cookie – use 1/8 to 1/4 cup more for a fuller cookie)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2/3 of a 12 oz. package miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and then stir into butter mixture. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet. For miniature cookies, your dough for each cookie should be no more than 1 inch in diameter. If you used the option for added flour, the mixture might be a bit crumbly. You can use your hands to scrunch the cookie dough together. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes (depending on your oven). For the first batch, check the cookies after 5 minutes of cooking, and then every minute thereafter to get the timing just right. Remove the cookies from the oven just as the edges start to brown. The cookies will look like they aren’t quite done but they’ll continue to bake on the cookie sheet after removing them from the oven. Allow to cool slightly and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

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  1. I’m so happy to read that your toll house cookies were flat and lifeless, too! I thought it was me, and I felt so inadequate! I’m pinning your recipe, and these will be the next ones I’ll bake. And your photos are amazing. I have to go eat something now. 🙂

  2. I have been searching ever since I got married (23years) for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Your cookies look amazing. I can’t wait to give them a try.

  3. Mini chips would be much better. Now that I’m older I like the cookie portion better than the chocolate, sometimes I mix chocolate with butterscotch chips or substitute them for butterscotch chips. That’s good too.

  4. OMGOODNESS………………. I can taste them already just by looking at those .. DIPPED in milk.. Now look what you have done………….LOL I am going to have to go rustle up some cookies…………….OMGOODNESS
    YUMO !!!!!!

  5. Those are the prettiest cookies….I could have just reached out and eaten one right now with my coffee!
    I’m with you on less Choc chips. These cute little minis will be perfect to make with my granddaughter. Again your photos are beautiful….I hope to get my new camera soon! Thanks again for the picture taking tips.
    Have a great day!

  6. Oh Yum! I love chocolate chip cookies. The ones I make use all shortening and a mix of brown and white sugars and they turn out nice and chewy too. I never thought of making them smaller with mini chocolate chips. That’s a great tip! Blessings, Pamela

  7. Jennifer,
    This is a most excellent post. I am particular about the texture and baking time of my chocolate chip cookies and have come up with some, but not all of your conclusions. So I am pinning this for future reference. Thank you so much!!!!!!!

  8. Yep, that’s pretty much how I make my chocolate chip cookies, too! I always use more brown sugar than granulated sugar. However, I’ve always used all butter. I have a friend who makes hers like yours, with some shortening. I know it makes the cookies fluffier, but I just couldn’t bring myself to shortening in cookies. Anyhoo…another trick for getting cookies to be fluffier instead of flat? Refrigerate the dough for an hour or two before baking.

  9. The chocolate chip cookies look scrumptious!

    One of the things I miss in your blog’s new format is seeing the photos of the people who post comments. There are 3 comment posts that have photos. Are the photos missing for people who don’t have WordPress accounts?

  10. Yum!!! I know what you mean. I found my perfect recipe many years ago and they are called Crack Cookies(not sure why) and the recipe makes a huge batch which is nice for freezing and getting out at a later date:-)

    Also, I wanted to congratulate you on your magazine feature….your pictures are beautiful!!


  11. Same here ! I have been searching for a good choco chip recipe for at least 25 years ! (my oldest child’s age !) We have been ‘forced’ to eat a lot of bad choc chip cookies in the meantime ! Can’t wait to try this – your cookies look delish and that is the way I’ve always wanted mine to look !

  12. They look luscious! ooooohh, I could eat all of them with a big glass of milk.
    I never can keep brown sugar , well actually I never remember to buy it. I usually make my own with molasses and white sugar and I like that better because it can never dry out on my shelf. Maybe that’s why they are chewy on the inside as you say because of the ratio of brown sugar to white as it has more moisture.
    Happy Sunday

  13. Tried your recipe last saturday and the cookies turned out so good. Delicious! They are a hit here at our place! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!
    Have a happy new week,