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Here's All You Need To Know To Make The Best Cookies Of Your Life

These are life-changing.

Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

We can all agree that chocolate chip cookies are the greatest. But what does it take to make the very best one?

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There are so many recipes and variations that it's sometimes hard to know exactly what to do to achieve cookie perfection.

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To find the absolute best, we tested a ton of variables — playing with things like sugar, fat, and flour types — then put it all together to create the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.

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Below you'll find a breakdown of all that ~cookie science~, find the full recipe here, or at the bottom of this post.

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Let's start with the basic ingredients you need to make chocolate chip cookies.

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That's: sugar, flour, fat, eggs, chocolate, and a leavener. You can add some extra ingredients to the mix to enhance the flavor or make it more fun, but these are the basics that should always be involved.

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First, the sugar. There are three main types of sugar you can use while making cookies: white, light brown, and dark brown.

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The only difference is the amount of molasses in the sugar. Your average grocery store brown sugar is usually just white sugar that's been mixed with some molasses. Dark brown sugar has more molasses than light brown sugar, which explains its stronger flavor and darker color.

When making cookies, each sugar yields different results. Cookies made with white sugar tend to spread more, be crispier, but can lack in flavor.

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Cookies made with light brown sugar spread less. They're also chewier and have a bit more flavor.

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The dark brown sugar cookies spread the least and have a pretty overpowering flavor.

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In the end, we realized that to achieve the ideal texture and flavor, we'd have to use a mix of white and dark brown sugar.

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Next, we wanted to test different types of flour to see how it impacted the cookies.

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All-purpose flour is your basic baking flour — aka the flour used most often in traditional chocolate chip cookie recipes.

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It'll give you a good ol' chocolate chip cookie: always reliable, but (arguably) nothing special.

Bread flour has more protein, and therefore more gluten, than the other two. The cookie we baked using bread flour was much chewier than the others.

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Cake flour has the least amount of protein and gluten of the three flours. It gave a much more delicate cookie — which also spread more than the other two.

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A quick way to understand the difference between bread and cake flour is this: Bread is really nice and chewy and has a great structure thanks to the gluten — while cake is super tender, soft, and airy. The flours will lead to similar results.

In the end, we decided that in order to get the best result we'd have to use a combination of two flours.

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We really liked the chewiness of the bread flour cookie, so decided to mix it with the all-purpose flour to take our cookies to the next level.

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Then, we experimented with fat. We wanted to see the difference between softened butter and melted butter.

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And we also introduced coconut oil as a wild card.

Taste-wise, there wasn't a ton of difference between softened and melted butter.

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The cookie with the melted butter just spread a little more but that's about it.

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The cookie with coconut oil was OK but it definitely lacked the ~oomph~ that butter brings to baked goods.

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The texture was also harder and the coconut taste was pretty distinctive. It's also worth noting: if you're not planning to eat all the cookies in a day, these were especially hard the next day.

In the end, we stuck with butter.

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In addition to the basic ingredients, we decided to do a few extra things — to make this ultimate cookie recipe the best it could be.

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First, we browned the butter to add another layer of flavor.

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To make brown butter, just toss it in a sauce pan, and bring it to a boil. After a few minutes of boiling, the milk solids in the butter are going to toast and turn brown. This butter will give a rich, nutty flavor to the cookie. Find out more about how to brown butter here.

We also added a bit of espresso powder to the dough.

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It adds a nice contrasting note to the cookie and it's a great, subtle flavor booster.

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Last but not least? The chocolate. We added some chunks of dark chocolate to the regular chocolate chips.

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This way, you end up with different textures and flavors throughout the cookie.

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(Trust us, it was life-changing.)

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Here's the complete recipe if you want to make it at home:

ULTIMATE BROWN BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

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Makes 18 cookies

INGREDIENTS

1 cup bread flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1½ teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2-3 tablespoons cold water

1 cup dark brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C).

In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a medium light-bottomed saucepan, add the butter and melt over medium heat.

Bring the butter to a boil, stirring occasionally. As the water begins to boil out of the butter, the milk solids in the butter will separate, sink to the bottom, and begin to toast and brown. As this begins to happen, make sure to stir constantly so the butter browns evenly. It may become quite foamy and difficult to see, so keep a close eye on it.

Once the butter has turned a nice nutty brown, remove from the heat and pour into a liquid measuring cup to stop the cooking. Give it a stir and add 2-3 tablespoons of cold water to the butter to bring it back up to 1 cup of liquid. Set aside to cool to room temperature. To help speed this process up, you can place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. You want to make sure the butter is still liquid when you’re adding it to the dough later on, so make sure to remove after 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the sugars, vanilla, espresso powder, and cooled brown butter. Cream together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.

Add the egg and yolk and beat until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients, about ⅓ of the mixture at a time, and beat between additions until just incorporated. It’s okay for there to be a bit of unmixed flour on the edge of bowl, this will be incorporated in the next step.

Using a wooden spoon, fold the chocolate chips and chunks into the dough

Scoop the cookies onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in 3-tablespoon-sized mounds.

For optimal flavor, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or, even better, overnight.

Evenly space the dough 3 inches apart from one another on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 12-14 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Find more tips on how the make the perfect chocolate chip cookies here.

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