Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

If I can share this recipe for perfect chocolate chip cookies today, it’s because I’ve always enjoyed the food sections of American newspapers, these pull-out pages that appear in the regular edition on a given day of the week (usually Wednesday) to cover local food and drink news, with recipes. Not all of them have the same standards or budget, and I am told the good ones are an endangered species, but between the Seattle Times, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Oregonian, the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times*, the hungry reader has more than enough to last him through the week.

The French newspaper scene has a completely different structure, but still, I wish major publications such as Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération, or Les Echos devoted more ink to a subject that is, after all, a source of national pride. Aside from restaurant reviews, a column here and there, and all too brief discussions on trendy foods, they seem to leave the topic for cooking or women’s magazines to cover. I sense a slight sexist slant (there’s an alliteration for you), but perhaps that’s just me.

I am all the more grateful for the online content made available by American newspapers, and for the commissioning of such articles as David Leite‘s story on the consummate chocolate chip cookie, published in the New York Times last summer: the creator of Leite’s Culinaria gathered advice from chocolate chip cookie experts in order to offer a recipe for perfect chocolate chip cookies.

I don’t really believe in the perfect anything — perfection is in the eye of the beholder — but I was very interested in David’s findings, especially the idea that the dough should rest for 36 hours before baking, and I promptly filed the recipe in my virtual “to try” folder.

But then, as perhaps you remember, I was kitchen-less last summer and oven-deprived for a good six months after that (hell, I tell you), so the chocolate chip cookie recipe went unbaked and near forgotten, until Pim rekindled the flame with her recent post.

My attempt at perfect chocolate chip cookies

The next morning found me mixing the ingredients for the dough, adapting the recipe to my needs and taste: I halved the recipe, simplified it by using just one type of sugar and one type of flour, and decreased the amount of sugar a bit. The dough was a snap to make; all in all, it took little more than fifteen minutes.

I baked the first batch the next day, after a 29-hour wait (but who’s counting) and made the cookies almost three times smaller than instructed: despite what the article states on the influence of size on texture, I could not bring myself to form balls of cookie dough that weighed in at 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) and would bake to be six inches (~15 cm) wide. It’s just not the scale of baked goods I grew up with, and I’m not programmed to enjoy such jumbo cookies.

As a consequence — or perhaps it was David Leite punishing me for my insubordination — my first batch was overbaked: I had thought to decrease the baking time, but I let the cookies rest for a further 10 minutes on the hot baking sheet, as the recipe suggests. This is likely necessary for large cookies to finish baking, but my cookies were too small to withstand that treatment, and they turned out crunchy. Tasty, but crunchy throughout; the worst possible outcome for a chocolate chip cookie.

The next batches on subsequent days were infinitely better, once I’d fine-tuned the baking time and procedure, and the resulting chocolate chip cookies were without a doubt the best I’ve ever baked: a great balance of flavors, and a lovely crispness at the edges that morphed gradually into the fudge-like chewiness of the center.

Like Molly, I like chocolate chip cookies best once they’ve cooled, and although it may sound impossibly trying to some, I will go so far as to say that these taste even better the day after they’re baked.

* Some of these online editions require a registration. Feel free to add a recommendation for your favorite food section if it’s not listed here!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 14 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours, 34 minutes

Makes two dozen 8-cm (3-inch) cookies. The recipe can be doubled.

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Calories per serving: 165

Fat per serving: 10 grams

Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe


  • 140 grams (5 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 grams (1 cup) unrefined light brown cane sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used a little more of my homemade vanilla extract)
  • 240 grams (2 cups) flour (I used organic T65 flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (a little less if you use semi-salted butter, as I did)
  • 280 grams (10 ounces) chocolate disks (see note), at least 60% cacao content (I used 70%)


  1. Prepare the dough 24 to 36 hours in advance. In the bowl of a food processor, cream together the butter and sugar for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until well combined.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk gently to remove any lump. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined; don’t overmix. Fold in the chocolate. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the dough to cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, preferably 36 hours, and up to 72 hours.
  3. After resting, if the dough is too hard to scoop, place on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Using a sturdy spoon, scoop out even balls of dough, a bit larger than a ping-pong ball (about 4 cm or 1 1/2 inches across, 40 grams or 1 1/2 ounces each) and place them on the prepared baking sheet, giving them a little space to expand. (At this point, the original recipe says to sprinkle the cookies lightly with sea salt, but the dough seemed salted enough to me so I skipped that step.) Return to the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up again.
  4. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Insert the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown but still soft. Transfer the parchment paper or baking mat to a cooling rack immediately to stop the baking, and let cool to the temperature you like.
  5. Repeat with the remaining dough on the same day or the next (you can reuse the same sheet of parchment paper).


  • Chocolate disks are round or oval pieces of couverture chocolate, which melt when baked and create a nice layered texture in the finished product. You should be able to find them at baking supplies stores or specialty grocery stores. (I bought a one-kilo box of these chocolate pistoles at G.Detou for 9€.) If unavailable, substitute roughly chopped chocolate, or the best quality chocolate chips you can find and afford.
  • You can freeze the balls of dough once formed: freeze in a single layer, then transfer to a freezer-safe container when frozen. No thawing necessary before baking: place on the baking sheet on the counter while the oven preheats to 175°C (350°F), and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Adapted from David Leite’s recipe, published in the New York Times on July 9, 2008.
  • Lizzie

    The Observer (UK) Food Monthly is my monthly recipe fetish.

    Also Nigel Slater’s weekly column.

    Shame I live in Singapore so seasonal European ingredients are completely out…sigh! I’ll have to bake up some choc chip cookies instead.

  • Meghan

    I’ve made these cookies a couple of times, and they really are fantastic. I like to make them big, though, and then cut the cookies in halves or fourths. I love the gradient in texture, and can’t quite pull it off to my satisfaction with little ones. And there’s something nice about sharing big one cookie; it reminds me of buying even gianter (but less delicious) cookies at the mall to split with my friends when I was growing up!

  • Claudine

    I saw the “perfect cookie” recipe in the Saveurs de Famille blog and used that rather than the original NYT version, as it showed weights instead of measures.
    I found it much much too sweet and when I tried it again, I reduced the sugar by half, which helped a lot, but I have to admit that it was still too sweet for my taste.

    Having said that, I found the flakes of salt on the cookie absolutely essential to enhance the flavour…

    I look forward to trying your version next!

  • mmmm…. chocolate chip cookies. These would make a perfect breakfast, wouldn’t they? Hmm… maybe I’ll wait a while to make them. :)

  • You and Pim have sealed the deal for me: I will definitely be cooking these soon– and thanks for the tips to make sure they turn out perfectly.

  • I’ve made the NYT cookie and wasn’t impressed. Cook’s Illustrated just published an article on their version of the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and I plan on trying the recipe soon. The fact that it uses browned butter and a technique for better caramelizing of the sugar makes me think it will live up to its claim of perfection.

  • jonquil

    no cookie dough lasts for 36 hours in this household!! (sorry, david)

  • kris

    Some of the more interesting (although texturally not the best) chocolate chip cookies I’ve had recently had a variety of chocolate in them: chips and chunks and chocolate disks. It’d be hard to get a good mix in a smaller cookie (as I tend to bake), but I think it’d only make the resulting product better, to have that contrast.

    (What bothered me about the article was the superlative “best.” I like, and all my classmates liked, the style of cookie that my family made, which overbeat the butter and added more flour for a more “cakey” small cookie that stayed soft to the bite for days, with a crunch on the bottom. It’s a very different style of cookie, and I think “best” should be to the individual’s taste. So there! Even if these were, indeed, good, if too large.)

  • Jonquil I agree, one the joys of making chocolate chip cookies is knowing that it is a relatively easy sweet to make and enjoy. If it took us 36 hours we would never make them. :)

  • I totally agree with you about this “perfect” business, Clotilde. Anyway, I’m an oatmeal-raisin kind of gal.

  • Thanks for reminding me about this recipe. I read it at the time and I meant to make it but didn’t get around to it.

    I agree with your newspapers and would add the UK Guardian, too.

  • I LOVE the Wednesday edition of NYT!I have been coveting this recipe at Pim’s blog as well but am not sure if I have the will power to wait that long before baking it.

  • Thank you for adjusting this recipe and posting the results! I made them exactly as instructed in the NY Times and while they were a huge hit at work I couldn’t imagine making them again for home consumption. Too big, too many calories, and too fussy. This modified version would be perfect!

  • I love Chocolate Chip Cookies, and I don’t make them as often as I’d like (mainly because I’d eat them all, I guess). I’ll try this recipe. If you’ve read Elizabeth Falkner’s book, there’s a whole chapter dedicated to them.

  • Many thanks for posting this recipe. I don’t know how I missed David Leite’s original article…I also like the concept of smaller cookies as there are more with which to fill the jar :)

  • I just made another batch of this dough last night! Since I tried it last year it’s been my boyfriend’s absolute favorite and I make it about once or twice a month. I just got back from a trip to NYC and picked up some gigantic chocolate disks from Jacques Torres’s shop, so we are awaiting our beat batch yet tonight! The recipe introduced me to the concept of generous amounts of salt in desserts, and it’s a concept I practice often now.

  • Aren’t chocolate chip cookies amazing? The NYT recipe may be good but I can never be bothered with other recipes as I think the one on the back of the Nestle package is pretty dang good.

  • Chocolate chip cookies are the one type of cookie that I eat (and eat…and eat) with abandon. These cookies look fantastic! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Erin

    As much as I love chocolate chip cookies, at home we make oatmeal cookies with whole wheat flour and add chocolate. They have a great chewy texture, the sugar rush is tempered by the whole grains and they have a nice nutty flavor. Yum!

    Also, if you love American food sections, have you read Sunset magazine? There are three generations of women in my family who have gotten some of our favorite recipes out of that magazine. And, the photos are always beautiful.

  • Clotilde, I feel like I am constantly reading about the next big revelation around chocolate chip cookies. Perhaps in response to the New York Times, Cook’s Illustrated recently had a lengthy article on the importance of sugar and how different kinds of sugar affect the texture and taste of chocolate chip cookies. Personally, I prefer an old standby–a recipe from David Lebovitz that I adapt with additions of various nuts and dried fruits. No chocolate chip cookie is a bad chocolate chip cookie in my opinion.

  • Clothilde,

    many thanks for the wonderful recipe. I have an old English newspaper clipping from about 20 years ago with a recipe for choc chip cookies. The only difference to your recipe is that it includes porridge oats and no breadsoda. It really does make the cookies lovely, moist and chewy. My kids also think it makes them healthy for some reason.

  • These cookies have circulated the food blogs like none other. It’s cool to see you recommend them as well! My only problem is I don’t know where to find the Jacques Torres chocolate disks originally specified in the recipe (I live in Chicago).

  • Roxy

    For the commenter up towards the beginning: I’ve made both the NYT and the Cook’s Illustrated recipes in the last couple of weeks, and I found the browned-butter CI version to be markedly better than the NYT version, which frankly didn’t taste out of the ordinary to me. The CI version has a delicious toffee taste to it, and will probably be my go-to recipe from now on.

  • Cookies are not my sweet-of-choice, but when I do make them I always refrigerate the dough for a long period. For some reason I find the dough making and the ball making and multiple bakings to be too much work. Last summer, I was really happy to learn it made the cookie better. My favorite cookie is a chewy molasses.

    Clotilde – you can soften hard cookies (or slightly over-baked cookies) by putting a piece of bread in with the cookies. The bread gets very dry and the cookies will soften up.

  • who doesn’t LOVE a chocolate chip cookie and these look amazing!!

  • Alix

    Maybe it’s an American thing — I could easily eat a six-inch-wide cookie!

  • ginny

    i love this recipe and have made them several times. i reduced the size to 2 1/2 oz which is still big but not overwhelming. i have tried it with regular flour and with the mix of cake and bread flour and found the cake/ bread flour mix makes a much better cookie. but i think the quality of the chocolate, the sprinkling of sea salt and the over night setting of the dough are the most essential components.

  • msue

    You and Pim have sold me.

    Must. Try. This.

  • I tried the NYT recipe when it first came out. I waited the 36hrs but it didn’t seem that much different from usual. But after reading your account and Pim’s explanation of different flours I think I need to do it again!

  • Ambika

    Thank you for this recipe.

    The only chocolate chip cookie which I love till date is the soft baked dark chocolate chunk one from Pepperidge Farm. They are amazing..

    I wonder if these turn out the same way?

    Is there a way to avoid the egg and still get the same chewiness / texture?

  • Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite – I haven’t tried the NYT recipe but it’s definitely on my list!

  • So glad you liked the cookies. After six months of research it took to write the article, I felt I had the cookie. Now, “perfect” I never called them, but I do, like you, think they are the best cookies I have ever, ever baked.

  • How does the long resting time improve the cookies? Does anyone know?

  • All – Thank you for the magazine/newspaper recommendations, and for the pointers to other choc chip cookies to try!

    David – I sort of guessed the perfection thing was more a catchy title tacked on by the editor than an actual claim of yours.

    Honeybee – The article that introduces the recipe explains the reasoning behind the long resting time.

  • I adore this recipe and have made it nearly weekly all year long. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe that was recently printed in Cook’s Illustrated is excellent as well, especially with a little sea salt sprinkled on top!

  • yes, i agree with you–i prefer eating my cookies when they’re cooled. (i also always keep some cookie dough in the freezer. happiness!)

  • Thank you for reminding me about these cookies…your version looks devine and I agree with you about the size of the cookie…

  • Now i am craving choc chip cookies!! this is my favorite recipe.

  • I loved these too! AND wrote a blog post about them back when the article first came out… Possibly the one good thing about the US is daily delivery of the Times.

  • Hi Clotilde, your post stirred a little baking restlessness in me. I have made quite a number of chocolate chip cookies in the past, but never satisfied with any batch I make. People love quite different types of cookies and there are endless recipes available. I am constantly obsessing about a few other baking related things (French macarons, bread of all types…) so fear this challenge to myself could be next on the list. Which is not a bad thing! :) Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for the little shout-out for the ‘San Francisco Chronicle’! They have excellent food and wind coverage.

    Newspapers need all the support they can get these days. Vive le journal!

  • Clothilde! I too tried and liked this recipe (although I do think the two sugars result in a very different cookie) but even better than this, I liked Amanda Hesser’s “perfected” Flat and Chewy Chocolate Chips.

    The nuts, the sugar ratio and the SALT really make the difference – although, as you say, perfection is subjective, this is my ideal!

  • I meant, “… food and winE” but food and wind is kind of interesting.

  • Clotilde, it’s so funny that you weren’t ‘programmed’ to eat huge cookies. Maybe I could open an American Snack Reeducation Camp, where (willing) French people will be ‘re-programmed’ to eat huge cookies and drink large glasses of cold, fresh milk? Mmm mmm!

    I am loyal to the classic Toll House cookie recipe, but I haven’t been able to find the right brown sugar to make them in France. Was the light brown sugar that you used the soft, packing kind? If so, would you mind sharing where you found it? Thanks!

  • Clotilde, I agree with you entirely about not being programmed to eat huge cookies! Making them smaller they last longer, and there’s no rule against eating two cookies (how sad would that be!?).
    I’m a long time reader, first time commenter; your blog is beautiful and inspiring!

  • Ariadne

    Don’t forget to check the Food section of the Philadelphia Inquirer every Thursday. It is great.

    PS-Simple recipes are best.

  • Jack Denny

    I haven’t made any cookies for several months now. I guess my weekend will be testing your recipe and NY Times and Cooks Illustrated. As to food sections UK Guardian and NY Times are very good. Other USA sources that may be overlooked: I like my hometown Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as well as Miami Herald.

    Enjoy the springtime! Fresh veggies are coming!

  • I came across this recipe on Molly’s blog as well. I tried it out last year and love it. I agree, the cookies do taste better the next day. I tried to save some in the freezer for future snacking, but my brothers got to them within 2 days of being frozen. I think it’s time to make another batch soon! ^_^

  • dawn johnston

    If you roll this dough into a log and wrap in parchment paper then freeze it makes slice anytime cookie baking almost effortless.

  • Wowee the zowee. I tend to ignore chocolate chip cookie recipes, aren’t they all similar variations of the same thing? But this one seems to have a method to the madness.

  • Thank you this is wonderful!

  • Hi Clotilde,
    Two good ones from Australia are Epicure from The Age (a daily newspaper in Melbourne) and Gourmet Traveller magazine.

    Thanks for the great cookie recipe – I’ll have to bake and it see how it matches up to my mothers!

  • since becoming a single parent I rarely have the time to make the dough AND cook the cookies…so the dough has rested for 36 hours or more sometimes before done. I’ll have to try this recipe. my favorite is to double a standard recipe and triple the chips using milk, bittersweet and butterscotch. everyone who has tried it loves it.

  • Ariadne

    I like the recipe on the Ghirardelli chocolate chip bag. It has a good amound of vanilla in it. I also like to use half semi-sweet chips and half bittersweet. With pecans or walnuts.

  • Amanda

    I’ll admit that I haven’t tried this particular recipe because I’ve got the one on the back of the Nestle Chocolate chip bag memorised as I think chocolate chip cookies are the very first thing I ever learned to cook or bake. I can understand halving the recipe and making smaller cookies, but no brown sugar? Really? Hmm, I’ll have to try it.

  • Amanda – As stated in the recipe, I used “unrefined light brown cane sugar,” which is, flavor-wise, halfway between the white sugar and brown sugar that the original recipe called for.

  • These look absolutely delicious! Can someone with little kitchen experience make these?

  • Angie – This is not a difficult recipe, so you should be fine!

  • i always loving reading peoples memoirs about perfecting the chocolate chip cookie, thank you for sharing ~ beautiful site

  • leen

    Thanks for the tips!! I’m trying to make a rich soft moist chocolate chip cookie, but I’m having chocolate issues. I can’t find any good quality chocolate chips, so I substituted the chips with couverture (broke the slabs into chunks) in my recipe. But it resulted in a greasy undercooked cookie.. Is the couverture too “fatty” for the cookie? Any recommendations? :)

  • Leen – I’m not sure what recipe you’re starting from, but this one calls for chunks of couverture chocolate and I did not have any problem with greasiness or underbakedness (ok, invented word). Maybe it’s something else in the recipe you’re using?

  • Jessica

    I’ve been making these cookies all year and they’re ALWAYS amazing. So amazing, that my friends have asked me to mail some for Christmas.

    Has anyone tried to mail these cookies before? Any suggestions?

  • Anjali

    Hey thank you for this variation. I too wanted smaller cookies & finally had a chance to try these cookies & they were perfect!

  • Debby

    Hubby says they’re a 10! (on a scale of 1-10). I live in a small town, so had to use semi sweet choc chips, but I also shaved a choc. square into the batter, along with small amount (maybe an ounce or two) of raisins because I like them and a few (4 oz) butterscotch chips because I had them. Also put just a table spoon of molasses in it for more…depth? I was afraid of the sea salt, but did it anyway, lightly and we LOVE them. The grand kids love me when I make them. That’s what cookies are all about.

  • Judith Sharp

    It’s the sea salt mixed with the taste of chocolate!

  • MaryM

    i highly recommend the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s food section

  • Masboyzz Boyzz

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