There’s nothing like a chocolate chip cookie, warm and fresh from the oven.
They're such a delight that the smell of baking cookies has been known to help prospective buyers feel more at home when looking at houses. One study even found that the smell of chocolate chip cookie candles influenced customers to shop more impulsively for luxury items.
But taste matters, and achieving the perfect cookie at home can be challenging. Luckily, there are different hacks you can try to level up your baking skills, as discussed in detail in an online forum.
1. Watch the Timer
This should go without saying, but it’s easy to get distracted in the kitchen. If you need a reminder, one forum member blatantly states, “Don’t overbake [sic] the cookies.”
There is a trick to timing when to remove them from the oven, though. “You want them to be slightly underdone when you take them out because they will continue to cook and set up as they cool,” they continue.
2. Use Room Temperature Ingredients
It may sound odd to want to let eggs and butter warm a little before use. However, one cookie connoisseur noted that “room temperature ingredients will incorporate better into the dough.”
Baking is a science, and there’s always a reason for everything. Regarding room-temperature ingredients, the forum user explains that cold ingredients can cause a lumpier mixture. If your dough is chunky, it can throw off your cookies' consistency, making some areas spread or brown quicker.
For safety, eggs and butter shouldn’t be kept at room temperature for long. Only remove them from the fridge when you’re ready to start baking.
3. Salt Your Cookies
When you bite into a chocolate chip cookie, you should be overpowered by the taste of chocolate and vanilla. Surprisingly, according to some bakers, adding flaked salt is the key to bringing out even more chocolate flavor.
While adding saltiness to bring out something’s sweet side may seem counter-intuitive, that’s precisely what happens when you combine salt and chocolate. But be careful; adding too much salt to a recipe or the tops of your cookies can overpower their natural sweetness.
All your cookies need is a pinch of flaked or large-grained salt, like sea salt, over the top when baking. This brings out more flavor and adds more texture to the cookie. Several commenters recommended adding pink sea salt for a bit of colorful flair.
4. Avoid Over-Mixing Flour
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as over-mixing. You would think the easiest step in a cookie recipe would be blending the dry and wet ingredients, but if you’re not careful, you can create a gummy mess.
5. Use Brown Butter Instead of Traditional Butter
Bon Appetit has a recipe for brown butter cookies that “will ruin you for all other cookies.” This also aligns with the recommendations in the forum post, which suggest that “brown butter chocolate chip cookies are the superior chocolate chip cookie.”
Browning butter is a delicate process that requires constant attention, so only commit if you can keep a close eye on the pan.
6. Use a Light Baking Sheet
According to one forum member, using light instead of dark baking sheets will make all the difference.
Dark and non-stick baking sheets are great if you want a crispy pizza crust, but if you want to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie, you’ll want to use a light sheet. Since dark metal absorbs heat, your baked goods can brown too quickly, putting a damper on your dessert night.
7. Mix Brown and White Sugar
Several recommendations came in for the best way to incorporate the sugar portion of the recipe, and they all suggested mixing white and brown sugar. The amount you use is up to your taste buds. However, one user recommends a blend of ⅓ white and ⅔ brown sugar.
8. Bake at a Lower Temperature
You can try a few different tricks if you're baking chocolate chip cookies with a dark metal or non-stick pan.
According to Taste of Home, silicone baking mats are an excellent layer between your dough and the baking sheet. Unlike parchment paper, silicone will distribute the heat more evenly. Wrapping the pan in aluminum foil can also achieve the same results.
However, even with silicone baking mats or foil, your cookies will be better if you use lower temperatures.
9. Consider Using Dark Chocolate
Whether or not dark chocolate is the superior chocolate is a matter of taste, but sprinkling a little into your chocolate chip cookie dough may enhance the flavor profile. “I find that using varying types of chocolate together is more interesting taste-wise,” a forum member states.
Be mindful of dark chocolate, as its bitter qualities can become overpowering. You can balance it out with semi-sweet chocolate, but it’s just a matter of finding the perfect measurements that create the tastiest cookie for your palate.
10. Let Your Heart Do the Measuring
There can be something so personal and intimate about baking that it almost seems wrong for anyone to dictate how much of any specific ingredient to add. Of course, the science of the craft requires certain mixtures to be measured perfectly, but if we’re talking add-ins like M&Ms or dark chocolate, as one forum user states, it’s best to let your heart (stomach?) decide how much to put in.
Do you love a chocolatey cookie? Then, you’ll want to add more chips than someone excited about the sweet richness of the dough.
11. Shape When You’re Done Baking
There’s only so much you can do to control how the edges of your cookies will come out when they’re done baking. However, many bakers swear by this post-baking hack to get the perfect circle.
One commenter recommended using a jar to shape your fresh baked goods. Right after you pull your cookies from the oven, take a glass or jar — whatever is closest to the size of your cookie — and place it over the cookie. Then, spin the jar or glass around the edge of the cookie a few times.
This should give you a batch of perfectly-edged cookies.
12. Chill Your Dough Before You Bake
If you want to get your cookies into a perfect circle pre-bake and get a better chocolate chip cookie overall, many bakers suggest chilling your dough beforehand.
One commenter shared that they handly shaped each cookie and then chilled them.
According to Real Simple, you’re more likely to get a soft and chewy cookie when you immediately bake your cookies. So, if this is your idea of a perfect chocolate cookie, skip the chilling. But if you’re looking for a thin, crispy cookie with excellent taste, chill your dough for about 24 hours before baking.