How-to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies From Scratch

By Kathryn Roberts

Start to finish: Up to 36 hours, 25 minutes Servings: 4 dozen cookies Difficulty: Beginner

Chocolate chips
credit: Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Use high-quality chocolate chips for the best results.

The classic accompaniment to a cold glass of milk, chocolate chip cookies evoke childhood and the holidays with every bite. Chilling the cookie dough for at least 24 hours before baking deepens the flavor of the final product. Baking the cookies at above 350 degrees Fahrenheit results in caramelization, giving the finished treats a deep golden hue.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (60 percent cacao)
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • Nuts, espresso or other flavorings to taste (see variations)


Sift the flour, baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt together into a medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter with dark brown sugar and sugar in an electric mixer on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated fully. Beat in vanilla extract.

Add flour mixture and beat on low to medium speed until just incorporated. Stir in the bittersweet and milk chocolate chips.

Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap into the dough to prevent air contact. Refrigerate the dough for 24 to 36 hours. The longer the dough chills, the deeper the flavors will develop.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're using a dark or coated pan, set the temperature to 360 F.

Scoop the dough by tablespoon and roll into rough balls. Place each ball on a cookie sheet or baking stone 1 inch apart and lightly press the tops to flatten the cookies. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the remaining salt.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through cooking. Remove the cookies when they appear slightly undercooked. Allow them to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them to cooling racks.

Tips and Variations


  • For chewier cookies, replace the all-purpose flour with bread flour and mix the dough for slightly longer before adding the chocolate chips. This helps develop more gluten, which creates the chewy texture.
  • Use shortening instead of butter to achieve a commercially baked flavor.
  • Halve the recipe for fewer cookies or double or triple it for a larger batch. Reducing the recipe any further will not produce a consistent dough.
  • For a cake-like texture, add an extra 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.


  • Add 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.
  • Use 6 ounces each bittersweet, semisweet and milk chocolate chips for extra chocolatey cookies.
  • Add 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly ground espresso or dark roast coffee. Mix the grounds in following the eggs and reduce the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon.
  • Add 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon each nutmeg and allspice for a Mexican chocolate flavor.


Baked chocolate chip cookies may be kept in an airtight container or zippered storage bag for four to seven days. For longer storage, wrap the cookies tightly in plastic wrap; then place them in a zippered freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to two weeks. Remove the cookies to the counter to bring to room temperature before serving.

Extra chocolate chip cookie dough may be stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to four days. When kept longer than this, the dough will develop a slightly astringent quality. For longer storage, divide the dough into individual cookie portions and freeze on a tray in the freezer for 30 minutes. Move the pieces to a zippered freezer bag, press out as much air as possible, and store them in the freezer for up to 30 days.