There aren’t many foods that can match the classic comfort of a chocolate chip cookie. When you bite into one fresh out of the oven – warm, slightly crisp at the edges, a center of melty, gooey perfection – it brings a flood of childhood memories, a sense of coziness and calm.
- RELATED: National Chocolate Chip Day 2015: Three spins on a classic recipe, May 13, 2015
National Chocolate Chip Day is on May 15 this year. In honor of the occasion, so we decided to have a bit of fun with a newsroom-wide chocolate chip cookie bake-off and taste test so we could recommend a few recipes.
Here’s how it worked: Fourteen people were given the option of cooking up a top-rated recipe or one of their own. Then 26 people tasted all of the chocolate chip cookies, rating each on a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best).
We tried to mix it up a bit, picking some strange recipes, a few healthy ones, one batch with pre-made dough (just to see how it compared) and lots of traditional, made-from-scratch classics.
So if you’re looking for a great chocolate chip cookie recipe to try out on May 15, look no further. Here are the five cookies that won over our newsroom’s taste buds:
BACON BOURBON CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES
Makes about four dozen. Recipe from Maker’s Mark.
Flavor 574 score: 4 out of 5
You can go a long way with butter, sugar, flour and good chocolate, but this batch of cookies threw down the ultimate ingredient trump card: bacon. So, naturally, this recipe came out on top.
Often when pastries are made with bacon, the flavor can be a bit overwhelming, leading to an “err…that was interesting” effect as opposed to genuinely good baked good. However, these cookies were an exception.
The taste of bacon is just subtle enough, leading to a pleasantly sweet-salty taste as opposed to one that screams meat. They came out soft and moist, and were very, very rich. On top of that, they were beautifully presented, with a chocolate chunk in the center flanked by two little pieces of bacon.
- ¾ pound center cut, thick bacon, 1/2 inch diced
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup reserved bacon fat, chilled
- ¾ cup granulated white sugar
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tbsp. Maker’s Mark Bourbon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon until the pieces are golden brown and crisp. Remove it from the skilled and put it on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Reserve the bacon fat in the pan. You’ll need ½ cup bacon fat, so spoon it into a cup and refrigerate it until it’s solid
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter, bacon fat, both sugars, bourbon and vanilla. Mix in the eggs one at a time until well combined. Beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the bacon and chocolate, saving a few pieces of bacon and chocolate to add to the top of each cookie before baking. Drop onto parchment or slipat-lined baking sheets about two inches apart.
- Bake for nine to 11 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned. Let them stand on the cookie sheets for about five minutes, then move them to a cooling rack.
- Once they’ve cooled, store the cookies in an airtight container for up to five days, or store them in a covered container or Ziploc bag in the freezer for up to five weeks.
TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Visit Sally’s Baking Addiction for the recipe.
Flavor 574 score: 3.75 out of 5
In addition to being generally delicious, these cookies had two things going for them. They were very pretty, with little Sno-Caps peeking out, and they had wonderful texture.
Despite being small, they were soft and moist, with little crispness on the outer edges. Instead of flattening out like some cookies do, they cooked into round little puffs. The recipe calls for a little corn starch (to make them soft and fluffy) and the dough chilled overnight (which makes them spread out less in the oven).
As the title suggests, the recipe calls for three types of chocolate — semi-sweet chips, white chocolate chips and Sno-Caps. The person who baked these for the bake-off actually couldn’t find Sno-Caps at Martin’s Super Market, so she used nonpariels instead and broke them up into smaller chunks. The combination brought a slightly different flavor to every bite and gave the cookies a festive, colorful look.
HILLARY CLINTON’S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Visit The New York Times’ website for the recipe.
Flavor 574 score: 3.73 out of 5
There’s no telling how the upcoming elections will turn out, but when it comes to her chocolate chip cookie recipe, Hillary got our newsroom’s vote.
If you’re looking for a tasty, very traditional chocolate chip cookie, this one comes highly recommended. It’s made with oatmeal, giving it a nice, nutty flavor. The texture is wonderful, managing to be both soft and chewy — not an easy task for a cookie to accomplish.
URBAN LEGEND CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Visit allrecipes.com to find out how to make Urban Legend Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Flavor 574 score: 3.52 out of 5
This recipe supposedly stems from an old urban legend: A woman asks to buy a cookie, and is told it costs two-fifty. She hands over her credit card, which winds up being charged for $250. In retaliation, she spreads the recipe as far as she can. And thus, it ended up on our list.
Once again, if you’d like to make a really good traditional chocolate chip cookie, this is a great option. They have a chewy texture without missing out on moistness, and they look like something your grandma whipped up from scratch in her oven.
Two types of chocolate – semi-sweet and milk – bring a rich, wonderful sweetness to the cookies, and walnuts add a nice, crunchy dimension as well.
NEIMAN MARCUS CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Flavor 574 score: 3.48 out of 5
This recipe, inspired by the high-end department store Neiman Marcus’ legendary cookies, took the No. 5 spot in our bake-off. It’s another classic, go-to recipe that makes magazine-worthy cookies.
Instead of flattening out and burning at the edges like some cookies, they bake into pretty puffs.
Even if you’re not a fan of oatmeal’s texture, you can enjoy its taste in these, which call for the ingredient to be blended.
- 2 cups butter
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 cups blended oatmeal
- 24 oz. chocolate chips
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder.
- Cream the butter and both sugars.
- Add eggs and vanilla.
- Mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
- Add chocolate chips.
- Roll into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown.
If you’re curious about some of the more odd cookies on the list, here are a few of those recipes (they fell a little lower in the rankings):
- Cinnamon chocolate chip cookies
- Zucchini chocolate chip cookies
- Salty sesame and dark chocolate chip cookies