My go to chocolate chip cookie recipe has always been the Tollhouse recipe you find on the back of their chocolate chips. Why mess with a classic right?
I don’t know why I stuck with a recipe when I hated the outcome, but I was convinced that if this was how Tollhouse said cookies should be made, then the problem had to be me. I tried everything; chilling the dough, not softening the butter, substituting butter for shortening, partial shortening. Every single time my cookies came out flat, thin, and crispy. Which isn’t to say they tasted bad, they actually taste great, but I hated looking down at my sad, thin, flat, crispy cookies every time I craved something sweet.
I wanted cookies which stood on their own and didn’t have the chocolate chips puddled in the middle poking through the super thin dough. It was time to break up with Tollhouse.
Ok, not entirely, I still use their recipe for my base, but I tweaked it slightly to get the cookies I’ve wanted for years.
Now, I know baking is a science. I enjoy science, for a time I even wanted to pursue a career in science, but I couldn’t get past the math. Me and Math are not friends. At all. We are bitter enemies who fight dirty and one of us (me) always ends up in tears. I blame elementary school, I never had a solid foundation in Math, and none of my teachers could ever answer my simple question of “Why?” I just wanted to know why we were doing the equation the way we were, help me understand why this is the way. All I got in return, “Because, just do it.”
I developed an unhealthy relationship with Math. I would follow the rules and equations and still get the wrong answer, and no one could ever tell me what I was doing wrong. To this day I cannot look at a complex math problem and not cry. Back when Joseph and I were dating and I was still foolishly pursuing my science degree I enlisted his help with my math homework. Joseph and Math are BFFs. He is so in tune with Math, they are basically one entity. Surely if anyone could help me with my relationship it would’ve been him.
Nope. He’d explain, I’d still be confused. He’d repeat, grow impatient (because in his mind this was simple), and me sensing his frustration would break down in tears because I felt stupid, insignificant, and a waste of time. Yeah, told you Math and I get ugly.
Anyway, I knew I had an uphill battle tampering into a world I avoid at all costs. But I knew if I wanted my dream cookie, I’d have to try.
First let me share a secret weapon of mine: an online divide, multiply, adapting recipe calculator! Found here.
This guy right here has saved my life. It has simplified my math problems in the kitchen and all is at peace. Sure I can scale, but why give myself a headache when with one click it is done for me?
So I started by cutting the Tollhouse recipe in half. If my tampering would fail, I didn’t want a large batch of crappy cookies in my kitchen. Then I recalled what I didn’t like, the dough was too sticky, I couldn’t shape it, and it spread too quickly causing flat cookies. That much I understood about the reaction. So then the fix became simple. What do I do when I am making bread, cinnamon rolls, scones and other dough based baked goods and they stick to my hands? Add more flour. More flour equals less sticky, less sticky means I can form the dough, formed dough means less spreading, less spreading means thicker fluffier cookies.
I know, I don’t know why it took me so long to figure it out, but when you’ve been given a recipe, you’re afraid that changing it would result in catastrophic failure, at least that’s what I’ve always thought.
I am growing and learning to become more comfortable in going with my instincts in the kitchen.
That’s it, add more flour until the dough reaches a consistency you’re happy with. Once baked these cookies had a nice shell on the outside and were soft, gooey, and slightly undercooked on the inside. Perfect in my book.
When I brought the finished product to Joseph, excited and happy I finally made the perfect cookie, he asked what I did. His response, “Oh, yeah I do that every time I make cookies.” My response, “Whenever I ask you what you do differently you always say you followed the recipe and didn’t know!” I was fairly ticked, thanks sweetheart, I had only been complaining about my cookies and what am I doing wrong for 2 years!
For those who are like me, and still need the safety net of a recipe here is what I used, with the additional flour.
- 2 C flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 C butter, softened (I actually keep mine on the colder side of soft)
- 1/4 C and 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 C and 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- chocolate chips (I’m a firm believer of adding as many or as few as you want)
The original halved recipe calls for 1 1/8 C, in the end I used 2. Also if you put the original recipe into the calculator you get 2/5 C of each sugar. I did the hard part for you and converted it, because no one makes a 2/5 C measure 😉
:: Let me know what your adjustments have been and your favorite tweaks to make your perfect chocolate chip cookies ::