Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies. However, not everyone knows how to make good chocolate chip cookies the right way. People who are good bakers seem to have a mysterious power. What is their secret? Did they learn their recipes at their grandmothers' knees? Do they have a special gift? The answer to all of these questions is 'no.' Instead, by following some simple steps, it is very easy to make a bakery-worthy chocolate chip cookie.
The first step is to lay out the necessary ingredients to make the cookies, to ensure that all of the components of the cookie are in the cupboard. A bad baker begins sifting flour haphazardly without checking to make sure that all of the ingredients are present. Baking is chemistry, not an art, and substitutions usually do not end happily unless the cook knows why he or she is making adjustments. The standard Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe, for example, lists the ingredients of all-purpose flour, baking soda (or baking powder), salt, 1 cup of butter (2 sticks), white sugar, brown sugar, large eggs, real vanilla extract, and of course chocolate chips. All of these should be laid out before the process of cooking begins. Changing the components of the recipe on a whim, such as leaving out the egg, will result in cookie that does not resemble the ideal ("Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe," Cookie Smart, 2012). While of course there are variations on the Tollhouse recipe, these varieties are carefully researched and calibrated by cooks. Throwing ingredients in a bowl will not result in the chemical reaction needed to make a perfect cookie.
Before beginning to bake, it is also a good idea to review the quality and type of your ingredients. For example, butter, margarine, and shortening are not 'all the same things' even though many misguided people think that they are. Margarines have a different taste than butter because they are made with vegetable oil result in crispier cookie. Because shortenings are pure fat, they result in a softer, more pliable cookie. While this is not necessarily a 'bad thing' and shortening can be substituted in some chocolate chip cookie recipes, the cook should be aware of this fact and how it will affect the final product ("How not to make chocolate chip cookies," Cookie Smart, 2012). Only unsalted butter should be used in cookies, unless the recipe specifies salted. The cook must control how much salt goes into the cookie recipe, which can very between brands of salted butter ("Chocolate chip cookie ingredients," Cookie Smart, 2012).
Regarding the brown and white sugars that are present in most chocolate chip cookies, a cook must also be aware of the effects of the substitution of these ingredients will have on the final product. "For a crispier cookie use more white sugar. More brown sugar will make a chewier cookie. You can always use equal measurements of both, but whatever you choose, using BOTH varieties as part of you chocolate chip cookie ingredients is best" ("Chocolate chip cookie ingredients," Cookie Smart, 2012). In other words, don't hope for a crispy chocolate chip cookie and then decide to substitute all brown sugar for white sugar.
It is also essential to use new baking soda or baking powder, otherwise the chemical reaction in the oven will not occur properly. Most cookie recipes call for baking soda, which does not cause baked goods to rise. However, some cooks like to use baking powder if they want a puffier cookie because baking powder causes baked goods to rise ("Chocolate chip cookie ingredients," Cookie Smart, 2012). Once again, following the recipe is important and if the cook adjusts, he or she must know the likely effects of the substitution.
Chocolate chip cookies can be cooked with a variety of different kinds of chips, although semisweet chips were used in the original recipe and are thus more traditional ("Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe," Cookie Smart, 2012). Semisweet is a nice way to undercut the sweetness of the dessert with some complexity of flavor, versus using milk chocolate chips. Bittersweet chocolate chips, as the name implies, have an even higher percentage of cacao in them and have…