Over the years, I have tried several variations and tweaks to all the “best” chocolate chip cookie recipes I could find. I tried reducing the flour, using butter instead of margarine instead of shortening, semisweet instead of milk chocolate. Once I even substituted whole wheat flour for the white stuff.
Not counting the whole wheat, my substitutions were all an effort to bake the perfect cookie — thick, gooey, moist perfection. The kind that goes well with a cold glass of milk, but doesn’t require one.
Sometimes I would have success. But because my tweaks were so random and I failed to write them down properly, it was trial and error every time.
I wanted the Chips Ahoy chewiness and softness without the red bag and foreign ingredients. I wanted golden brown on the outside, runny chocolate oozing on the inside, and the perfect blend of salty-sweetness.
Then I visited a friend. Her chocolate chip cookies were the stuff of my dreams, so I asked for the recipe. I secretly wondered if it was just her magic baking skills that made them so good, but we have followed her recipe a dozen times and they are still awesome.
As a side note, I used to not pay much attention to the salt called for in recipes. If it said “optional,” I left it out. This recipe uses 1 teaspoon salt, and I am convinced that it is the key ingredient. It doesn’t make them soft — that would be the shortening-butter-flour ratio. But it makes them perfectly salty-sweet. So use this recipe with no substitutions or reductions!
Tresta Payne of Camas Valley is a wife and stay-at-home mother of four. You can find her blog at sharppaynes.com.