Doing-The-Most Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s not that chocolate chip cookies need anything at all.  

They don’t need the razzmatazz. They don’t need and songanddance beyond their own simple perfection.  

But…. but but but but. 

You know I can’t leave well enough alone around here. If we’re not adding browned butter to cookies then we’re adding an extra pinch of sea salt.  A chocolate chip cookie is perfect unless you want to make it MORE perfect. And you know we’re always doing-the-MOST around here.   

These cookies are inspired by my Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies and brought to life a few weeks ago when I rolled frozen chocolate chip cookie dough in sprinkles to bring as a quick gift to a friend for her birthday… which is to say -if I find out it’s your birthday I’ll sprinkle and bake  whatever I have in the freezer and we hope it’s something other than steak. 

Sprinkles or no – this is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I developed it for The Washington Post’s Baking Basics Series and it’s gold!  It’s the cookie to bake – to be sure. 

Here’s what you’ll need for cookie magic: 

• room temperature butter, mostly room temp eggs, and nearly room temp milk. 

We use room temperature ingredients because they incorporate evenly into the batter, aerating the batter and melding the ingredients as they should.

•  all-purpose flour (though I’ve made these cookies with a gluten-free flour blend with equal success), baking soda, and salt. 

•  a big-deal amount of brown sugar (because we love our deep molasses flavor) and granulated sugar. 

•  vanilla extract because we’re special. 

•  chocolate chips, chunks, or disks.  I’ll talk more about chocolate down a ways. 

• sprinkles, specifically rainbow jimmies because they bake and chew more amicably than the pearl guys. 

Start by creaming the softened butter with the two sugars. 

Here’s the thing about softened butter – I try to plan ahead and leave my butter on the counter overnight.  A few hours will usually suffice.  BUT here are some butter softening tips should you have a cookie emergency. 

I cream the butter with an electric hand beater slowly, on low speed. 

It’s absolutely possible to cream the butter and sugar to fluffy by hand with a wooden spoon too. 

However you low and slow – incorporate the sugar and butter well. 

One egg and one egg yolk.  

We use one whole egg for the richness of the yolk and the binding powers of the egg white.  The additional yolk adds to the richness of the cookie without adding too much fluff from the white. 

Milk to make up for the lost moisture of the egg white.  

Vanilla extract deepens the flavor of the cookie to perfectly familiar. 

Whisk together the dry ingredients before adding to the butter, sugar, and egg mixture. 

Beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until almost combined.  

Add the chocolate – in generous amounts.  

Let’s talk about the chocolate. I’m very particular about the chocolate and chocolate shape I put in my cookie.  I want taste and I want chocolate spread.  My number one chocolate choice is Guittard’s baking disks.  My number two choice is the chocolate chunks in the baking aisle at Whole Foods.  My third choice is the chocolate chunks from Trader Joe’s.  And that’s that on that. 

We’re adding a few tablespoons of sprinkles for good measure. We love good measure. 

Stir to combine and here’s the thing – we have to refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. Overnight in the fridge is best but an hour will do. 

Chilling the dough will help the flour absorb the moisture and help rechill the butter so the cookies don’t spread more than we’d like in the oven. 

Spoon the dough into generous balls (2 tablespoons or so) and roll lightly in sprinkles.  Place on a baking sheet and press lightly to flatten.  Bake to perfectly golden – 1 cookie sheet at a time, 7 minutes, rotate the rack and 5 more minutes. 

It’s a classic plus a party.  From me to you!

Photos with my friend Jon Melendez.

Doing The Most Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 2 sticks (8 ounces/226 grams) unsalted butter, well softened (see headnote)
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (228 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cup (340 grams) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) milk, semisweet or dark chocolate chunks
  • 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup rainbow jimmies


  1. In a medium bowl combine the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Using an electric hand mixer on low speed, beat the ingredients until light and fluffy but still a bit grainy, about 3 minutes. (If mixing by hand, you’ll see the sugars just begin to dissolve into the butter as they’re combined, 4 to 5 minutes.)
  2. With the mixer motor running, add the egg and beat (or stir) on low until thoroughly incorporated. Add the yolk and milk and beat (or stir) until thoroughly incorporated. The batter will begin to look smooth and glossy. Beat (or stir) in the vanilla extract until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture and mix on low speed (or stir) just until the flour disappears. Using a silicone spatula, scoop to the bottom of the bowl and gently incorporate any hidden pockets of flour.
  5. Fold in 10 ounces (283 grams) chocolate chunks and 2 tablespoons sprinkles (you can eyeball this part; just be sure to reserve a handful of wafers to top the dough balls).
  6. Spoon the dough onto parchment paper or plastic wrap and wrap it into a disk or log (whatever will fit best in your refrigerator) and refrigerate overnight. If baking the same day, portion the dough into 2-tablespoon (1-ounce/30-gram) balls and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.
  7. When ready to bake, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Transfer the chilled dough to the counter. If the dough was chilled overnight, use a tablespoon portion out the dough as directed above. Use your hands to roll each cookie into a ball and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Roll each dough ball in in sprinkles. Allow about 2 inches of space in between each dough ball.
  9. Gently press each dough ball into a thick disk, tuck 2 to 3 chocolate chunks into the top of each dough ball.
  10. Bake one sheet at a time, for about 7 minutes. Open the oven and rotate the pan and bake for an additional 5 minutes; the cookies will look golden brown. (If you want more crisp edges and deeper color, bake for an additional minute.)
  11. Let the cookies rest on the sheet for 3 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely or until warm.
  12. Cookies are best eaten the day they’re made, though they also store well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  13. The dough can be frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator, then portion as instructed above and bake.


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