The ultimate guide to chocolate chip cookies

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I love a classic chocolate chip cookie – who doesn’t? The warm, chewy center. The globs of melted chocolate. The brown sugary richness in every bite. But sometimes, we want something a little more special in a cookie. For this, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite variations to a chocolate chip cookie – all made from one simple brown sugar cookie dough base.

This recipe will make you 12 large cookies, and it’s also a fabulously easy recipe to freeze for baking on a rainy day!

Brown sugar cookie dough base

  • 8 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • Mix-ins for cookie dough variation
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and egg until well-incorporated and no traces of egg remain.
  3. Sift in the flour and baking soda, and stir to just combine.
  4. Add the salt and filling variations and stir until incorporated.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop (2 oz.)to make even cookie dough balls, and place them 2 – 3 inches apart on the lined tray.
  6. Refrigerate cookies for at least 30 minutes – if refrigerating for more than 2 hours, be sure to let them sit out for at least 15 minutes before baking. NOTE: You may also freeze the cookie dough balls at this step by placing them in a tightly sealed plastic bag. Store for 1 month.
  7. Bake for 8 – 12 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the centers are just set – we want them to not be completely set in the center, as they will keep cooking after being removed from the oven.
  8. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the tray before moving them to a wire rack or plate.

Cookie dough variations

  • Classic chocolate chunk/chip
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks/chips
    • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chunks/chips
    • Mix in the chocolate chunks/chips at step 4
      • Note: Chocolate chunks differ from chocolate chips because they are cut from a chocolate bar (think irregular cuts, not uniform like chips) and they do a far better job melting than the chips do. Chocolate chips have a special additive that allow them to keep their shape while baking – I prefer chunks because of how delightfully the melt!
  • Dark Chocolate Sea Salt
    • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
    • 1 tbsp. Flaky sea salt
    • Mix in the chocolate chunks at step 4 and sprinkle the cookie dough balls with flaky sea salt before baking.
  • Funfetti Chip Cookies
    • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
    • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup sprinkles
    • Mix in all chocolate chips and sprinkles at step 4.
  • M&M™️ Chocolate Chip
    • 1 cup mini M&Ms™️
    • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
    • Mix in M&Ms and chocolate chips at step 4.
  • Espresso Chocolate Chunk
    • 1 cup espresso chips
    • 1 tsp. instant coffee mixed with 1 tbsp. boiling water
    • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
    • Omit vanilla extract
    • Mix in the instant coffee at step 3 instead of the vanilla extract. Add the espresso chips chocolate chunks at step 4.
Classic chocolate chip cookie dough
Dark chocolate sea salt
Funfetti chip cookies
M&M chocolate chip cookie dough

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