Perfect Soft-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Perfect Soft-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies l Scarletta Bakes

I confess that I’ve sampled my fair share of prepared chocolate chip cookie dough throughout the years. I purchase the dough, I eat the dough, I bake the dough, I eat the baked dough. So, actually, probably a bit more than my fair share.

And since I’ve been doing this since high school, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert in chocolate chip cookie dough assessment and consumption. I’ve recently been putting those skills to good use:  in search of easy, easy comfort I’ll hit up the market for a package, come home and force myself to bake off a few cookies, then get out my spoon and go to work on the rest. I know the package says not to. I know someone, somewhere is judging. But I just don’t care.

Thoroughly Creamed l Scarletta Bakes

Lately, however, I’ve noticed something troubling about store-bought cookie dough:  I’ve noticed a mild metallic flavor to the dough. I tried switching brands and I’ve even tried actually baking the dough into cookies (!!!), but that odd, off-putting flavor is still there.

Now please don’t think me a conspiracy theorist or anything, but I do believe that packaged foods, even ones from different brands, tend to reflect market trends; they’re very frequently made with ingredients that are sourced from the same places and are effected by the same economic conditions, so it’s not all together unlikely that cookie dough made by Pillsbury may have similar features, when all is said and done, to those of cookie dough made by, say, Toll House.

Or maybe my palate is just broke.

Either way, I needed to come up with my own chocolate chip cookie dough recipe, which brings us to this gem du jour.

Chopping Chocolate l Scarletta Bakes

Let me tell you a bit about my thinking behind these cookies:

1.  I personally prefer soft chocolate chip cookies (if you’re in the crispy or chewy camp this recipe is probably not for you), which means that you’re going to need to cream the puppies and rainbows out of your sugars and softened butter. You’re also going to want to make sure not to overbake these cookies.

2.  I like sweet cookies. Obviously. But I don’t like sickly sweet cookies that taste like biting into a sugar cube. For this reason, I used slightly less sugar that I think you’ll find in conventional chocolate chip cookie recipes.

3.  The chocolate…  the truth is that I strongly suspect the chocolate chips as the culprit of the metallic flavor in my store-bought cookie dough. Just like pre-grated cheese, I feel like I can almost taste that extra step of store-boughtness that goes into forming those chips. So I went with Mexican chocolate. Now I know what you’re thinking:  ‘M., Mexican chocolate is processed too, you seeeeelly, seeeeeeeelly goose.’ And you would be correct. But Mexican chocolate tastes both less processed than chocolate chips to me, and also tastes less like super-strong chocolate. It’s just a nice, flavored, sweet mild chocolate. So I went with it.

Scooping Cookies l Scarletta Bakes

Unbaked Perfection l Scarletta Bakes

Baked Perfection l Scarletta Bakes

And you’re now looking at my favorite, favorite chocolate chip cookie evah. Evah!

I no longer have to do the walk of shame down the refrigerated dough aisle in my market. I no longer have to feel hatred in my heart for that odd metallic aftertaste. I no longer have to suffer, just suffer, by being without chocolate chip cookie dough that makes my heart smile.

Perfect. Just perfect.

Soft-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. light brown sugar, tightly packed
3/4 c. white sugar, granulated
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tablets Mexican chocolate (I used Abuelita brand here; each disk is just over 3 ounces. Please read below for instructions on chopping Mexican chocolate for this recipe.)
3 c. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350º.

To prepare the chocolate, carefully cut a tablet in quarters by slicing along the pre-scored lines along the top. Continue by vertically slicing through the quarters to produce smaller piece, and finish by roughly chopping. Mexican chocolate is hard and coarse, and can be difficult to break down; you may, at times feel like you’re shaving it into a coarse powder and that’s OK. You generally want to end up with pieces that are just slightly smaller than sugar cubes. Repeat with remaining disk. Set chopped chocolate aside.

Place softened butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix together on low speed just to combine. Once roughly combined, increase speed just one level and cream mixture together until light and fluffy and able to hold its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, salt and baking soda. Beat in the chocolate pieces. Finally, with the mixer still running on low speed, beat in the flour one half cup at a time. Note that it is important to add the flour last as this finished dough, like so many other cookies doughs, is quite stiff; adding the chocolate before the flour just makes it that much easier to evenly distribute it throughout the dough. Mix in the flour just until you have a uniform dough.

Form cookies using a three tablespoon-sized scoop and place onto parchment-lined sheets trays approximately 2″ apart from each other. Bake for just 17 minutes. Note that I prefer these cookies large, which requires the longer baking time. If you form smaller cookies you will likely need to bake for less time. Either way, finished cookies will be puffed, spread, and just beginning to turn light brown at the edges. Do not overbake these cookies.

Remove baked cookies, noting that I recommend not moving or even touching these cookies until they have been allowed to sit and set their shape for at least a few minutes.

YIELD:  22 cookies

Comments

  1. 12

    says

    For some reason I could just never get behind the pre-packaged dough. Every time I tried to give it a chance the flavor just seemed to fall flat and they are always SO sweet.

    I love the use of chopped Mexican chocolate in these. Maybe I’ll make some this weekend as the forecast calls for rain and there’s nothing better than being cooped up in a house that smells like fresh-baked cookies when it’s gloomy out!

  2. 10

    Susan says

    OK. Since you’re a fellow Arizonan you will probably get this question – what does “softened” mean to you? I feel like even when I leave it out on the counter for awhile I never really know if it is where it needs to be considering that our A/C is on full-blast most months out of the year. (Except today. Today is heavenly.) So when you want some softened butter, what do you do?

    • Meagan says

      GREAT question, Susan! And I will give you my super scientific answer: softened butter, to me, is the difference between picking it up and leaving a dent with my fingers and not leaving a dent with my fingers. So, for example, I’ll pull the butter out of refrigerator and set it on the counter, leaving it in the wrapper. When I come back and pick it up to move it, if the pressure that I apply to simply pick it up with my hand leaves an indentation in the butter, it’s softened enough to bake with. If I have to squeeze it even a little to leave an indent, it’s not softened enough.

      And when it comes to speeding up the softening process? My little cheat involves, again leaving the butter in its wrapper, setting it on the top of the oven as it preheats. This works well and relatively quickly, so I won’t leave it there for too long (and I may even rotate the brick, just so the butter is warming and softening evenly), but this usually works like a charm. I never, ever microwave butter to soften it.

      I hope this helps, Susan! Today is absolutely awesome for us lucky Arizonans – enjoy!

  3. 9

    Katie says

    No judging here. I’ve both bought and made cookie dough with absolutely no intention of baking it. Ever. And I’ve done that often. In fact, I’d say that more often than not, I only bake the dough so as to slow my consumption of the cookies.

    And I also concur about store-bought stuff tasting metallic and similar to other brands. So…fellow conspiracy theorist, I suppose.

  4. 5

    says

    Yuck, pre-grated cheese. I can’t stand the stuff. And, after I recently learned what they put in the cheese to keep it from clumping–paper pulp–I won’t touch the stuff. I shudder just thinking about it. I’m currently working on a choco chip cookie recipe, as if I need another one, but that’s besides the point. You can never have too many choco chip cookie recipes, am I right? Yes, soft cookies are the way to go. Move over, crunchy cookie lovers. ;) These look amazing, and I love the addition of the Mexican chocolate.

    • Meagan says

      I so love and look forward to your comments, Jennie, so I was really happy to hear that you’re with me on the pre-grated cheese. And I didn’t even know it was paper pulp they added – nasty. I don’t care how much elbow grease it takes to grate my own cheese, pre-grated is officially dead to me. And, yes, you can NEVER have enough chocolate chip cookie recipes and soft-batch is ALWAYS the way to go. Have a great day!

    • Meagan says

      Hi Teresa! I did a little bit of research to be sure that I was advising you properly – I’m so glad you asked the question because I think these cookies are worth it! The good news is that cookies are a relatively durable baked good so you shouldn’t need to worry as much or make as many adjustments as you would for, say, a sponge cake. That said, for your altitude, the recommendations I’ve found are as follows:

      1. Reduce the sugar in the recipe by approximately 3 tablespoons.
      2. Reduce the baking soda in the recipe by approximately 1/4 teaspoon.
      3. Add 3-4 tablespoons of water for every cup of flour in the recipe.
      4. Bake your cookies at approximately 20-25 degrees higher temperature.
      5. Decrease baking time for your cookies by approximately 1-5 minutes.

      I will say that, based on this particular recipe, I think you can get away with skipping #1. So all of that said, here is what I would do for these cookies at your altitude:

      1. Add just 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
      2. Add THREE large eggs instead of 2. Then, when you’re adding the flour, have up to one half cup of water and a tablespoon measure on hand. Once you’ve added all the flour, add additional water one tablespoon at a time if the dough is too dry and won’t come together. Add just enough water to get the dough to come together in a solid mass – you shouldn’t need more than one half cup (and be sure to use lukewarm water here).
      3. Bake the cookies at 375 degrees.
      4. Begin checking for doneness at 12 minutes. Remember, these cookies are extremely soft; they may actually look a little underdone when you pull them out of the oven. As long as they are slightly golden at the edges, puffed, and spread, you should be OK. Take them out and let them set their shape before DEVOURING!

      I hope this helps, Teresa. Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting!

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