If you’ve ever wondered what makes chocolate chip cookies chewy, crisp, soft, flat, thick, cakey or moist, the answer usually involves butter. It all depends whether you use butter vs. shortening, how much butter you use, and whether you melt it, cream it or brown it.
Rarely would anyone consider that using less butter would result in a superior cookie, but Joanna Gaines has somehow drawn a blueprint that works.
Gaines, the co-star of HGTV’s popular “Fixer Upper” show based in Waco, Texas, has released a cookbook called Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering. In it, she shares a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that’ll make you do a double-take when you read the description.
“I do truly believe that butter makes everything better,” Gaines wrote, “and no one is more surprised than I am about how amazing these taste even though they’re made with less of the good stuff than most traditional chocolate chip cookies.”
Gaines’ recipe calls for one stick of butter, whereas traditional recipes call for at least twice that. Martha Stewart uses two sticks, and David Leite and Jacques Torres both call for 2 1/2 sticks. But Gaines’ recipe somehow produces a chewy treat (not crumbly or cakey, two major cookie sins, in my book) with a classic chocolate chip cookie flavor.
Below is the recipe and an excerpt from Magnolia Table.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
My dad has an intense sweet tooth, just like me. One afternoon when I was around ten years old, Dad got a hankering and he enlisted me to help him make Toll House chocolate chip cookies. That was the first time he and I had ever baked together. Since then, whenever I make chocolate chip cookies, including the ones from this recipe, I think of him and that special afternoon we spent together in the kitchen. I developed this recipe over the years, after experimenting with a few classics and having them come out flat every time. I wanted something that was chunky, beautiful, and also delicious. In the end, one big change I made was to cut back on the butter. I do truly believe that butter makes everything better and no one is more surprised than I am about how amazing these taste even though they’re made with less of the good stuff than most traditional chocolate chip cookies.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: under 30 minutes
Cool: 1 hour
Makes: About 40 cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (see Tip)
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer), beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until blended.
4. Turn the mixer off and add the flour mixture to the bowl. Mix on medium just until the flour is mixed in, then turn the mixer to high speed for a few seconds to pull the dough together; it will be chunky.
5. Add the chocolate chips and beat on high for about 5 seconds to thoroughly and quickly mix in the chips.
6. Drop by large spoonfuls on the lined baking sheet; don’t flatten them. Bake until lightly browned on top, 10 to 11 minutes. Cool on the pan on a rack for 1 minute, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
7. Store the cookies in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
TIP: Depending on what you’re in the mood for, you can add 1/2 cup more or less chocolate than what is called for.