How to Create YOUR OWN Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Do you have your own perfect chocolate chip recipe yet? I think I have finally found mine. These XXL chocolate chip cookies are crispy on the edges, but chewy in the middle. They’re loaded with dark chocolate and they have a not-too-subtle hint of sea salt, because I am a sucker for salted-chocolate-anything. Also, they’re thin and crunchy, not thick and cakey. But here’s the thing: my preferences are most likely not the same as yours. I have tried numerous chocolate chip cookie recipes, all claiming to be “foolproof” or “the best ever” or “perfect” and “unbeatable”. And sure, they are all going to taste good… but why?! What does every single ingredient contribute and how do I manipulate a recipe to get the cookies exactly the way I want them? That’s why, a thousand cookies and a hundred hours of reading about the science of cookie baking later, I came up with a step-by-step guide to create your own perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

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Before we continue to the Cookie Guide, let’s talk through the traditional list of ingredients and what they do. Recipes traditionally start out with room temperature butter, creamed together with sugar (either 100% granulated or a mix of different kinds). Butter gives your cookies moisture, texture and a lot of depth in flavour. That’s why substituting butter for shortening or oil will never render the same result: butter has a rich, distinct flavour. If you use melted butter instead of room temperature butter, your cookies will be more “cracky” on the surface. Cold butter is more difficult to work with, as you have to cream the butter for a few minutes to make a light and fluffy butter+sugar mix. I don’t recommend it!

Now, as for the sugar: sugar makes cookies sweet (duh), but it also serves other functions. When you heat up sugar (like you do in the oven), it crystallizes and promotes browning of your cookie, giving it that attractive look. It also helps retain moisture and because of it’s absorbing powers, it also helps to reduce gluten development, making for an extra tender cookie. What type of sugar you choose, depends on your own preferences. White granulated sugar is suitable for almost any recipe because it is a neutral tasting sugar. Light & dark brown sugar are granulated sugar with molasses added to it. This gives the sugar extra moist-retaining abilities, so using brown sugars make your cookies extra chewy. Dark brown sugar has the most molasses added to it and thus provides the most moisture. Importantly, brown sugar has acidity which reacts with baking soda, making your cookies more tall rather than flat. White sugar doesn’t have this property. Muscovado sugar is an unrefined cane sugar. Because it is minimally processed, the molasses is naturally present in this type of sugar, making it suitable for use in baking where a strong molasses flavour is desirable like in gingerbread.

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After creaming the butter and sugar, traditional recipes call for the adding of egg. This helps bind the dough together and it helps the cookies spread out whilst they bake. After this step, some recipes add a teaspoon of vanilla extract for extra flavour. That is it for the wet ingredients. As for the dry ingredients, plain flour is mixed with some salt and baking soda. Some people say baking powder makes your cookies more cakey, but I haven’t experienced this myself. Truth be told, I’ve baked cookies using just soda, just powder, or a mix of both, and I find it hard to tell the difference. I settled with using baking powder, because it doesn’t need any acidity like baking soda in order to make the leavening happen. That way I don’t have to add anything else, because I don’t use acidic brown sugar in my recipe.

The amount of flour you use determines the structure of your cookies. A 1 to 1 ratio of flour to butter will make your cookies very thin and spread out, whereas by adding a lot more flour, they will hardly change shape as they bake. Some people like adding some bread flour, which will make your cookies more dense and chewy because of the higher protein content (=more gluten development).

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Now, let’s talk salt. You cannot underestimate the importance of salt in any baking recipe. Adding salt makes the flavour of all other ingredients pop. This is especially true for chocolate if you ask me. About that chocolate: you can use any type of chocolate you prefer, ranging from white to 98% cocoa dark chocolate. Whatever floats your boat! That being said, it is time to turn to the step-by-step guide to creating your own perfect chocolate chip recipe. Ready? Go!

The Guide to Creating Your Own Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Every baker needs their own hallmark chocolate chip cookie. But not every baker has the time or money (or appetite!) to test a hundred different cookie recipes. That’s where this guide comes in. Follow the steps and create your cookie just the way you like it without all the fuzz! Following this guide you will create around 10 XXL cookies or 16 smaller ones.

Step 1: butter is where it all starts

Amount: 115 grams (1/2 cup) for Tori’s Cookies. Use 130 grams for more fatty, buttery, spread out cookies. Use only 100 grams for a tougher cookie.

Temperature: room temperature for Tori’s Cookies. Melted butter for a dense cookie with a cracked top.

Creaming: adds air, making your cookie more light and makes the dough fluffy. The longer you cream your butter, the more cakey the cookie will be. I settle for 1 minute with a hand-held electric mixer.

Butter alternative: should you wish to use no butter for whatever reason, I advice replacing it with equal amount margarine with a high fat and low water content.

Step 2: sugarbaby

Amount: 200 grams (1 cup) for Tori’s Cookies. These are tooth achingly sweet. Use 150 grams for more subtle sweetness, but less than that and you will seriously compromise on texture.

Type of sugar:

Tori’s Cookie: 50% white granulated sugar & 50% white “basterdsuiker”. (Basterdsuiker is a Dutch thing. It has more flavour than granulated sugar, just like brown sugar. I use the white and not the brown variety because I like my cookies to stay pale, to get that nice contrast with the chocolate.)

Super crunchy + pale, no molasses flavour: 100% white granulated sugar

Crunchy + chewy: 50% white granulated sugar & 50% light brown sugar

Crunchy + chewy + caramelly: 50% white granulated sugar & 50% dark brown or muscovado sugar

Just chewy, less crunch: 100% brown sugar

Creaming: cream the butter and sugar together for 1 minute to dissolve the sugar. Cream longer for more air and fluffiness.

Step 3: egg 

Amount:

Tori’s Cookie: 1 egg

More fudgy cookie: 1 egg + 1 egg yolk

More fluffy, tall cookie: 1 egg + 1 egg white

Method: beat egg whites separately for extra rising. Just beat in the egg for Tori’s Cookies.

Step 4: vanilla

Either use 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract or don’t use it. If you are using white chocolate, don’t use the extra vanilla, because it’s already in the white chocolate.

Step 5: flour

Amount:

Tori’s Cookie: 130 grams (1 cup) plain flour

Extra chewy cookie: 120 grams plain flour + 1 tbsp white bread flour

Method: add to wet ingredients together but do not overmix or your cookie will be very tough!

Step 6: leavening agent

Tori’s Cookie: 1 tsp baking powder

When using brown sugar: 1 tsp baking soda (acid in brown sugar reacts with the baking soda)

Method: mix with the flour before adding to wet ingredients to make it spread evenly

Step 7: salt

Tori’s Cookie: 1 tsp salt in batter + 3 whole sea salt crystals or sea salt flakes on top of every cookie before baking

“Unsalted”: 1 tsp salt in batter (cookies won’t taste salty)

Actually unsalted: if for any reason you wish to use no salt, try adding 1/2 tsp of ground chili. This will enhance the chocolate flavour as well.

Step 8: chocolate

Add as much chocolate of any kind you like. I like to cut up 100 grams of extra dark chocolate with a serrated knife and I add some extra bits to every cookie once I’ve placed the cookie dough scoops on an oven tray so you can really see large bits of chocolate on top of the cookies once they’re done.

Step 9: baking

Tori’s Cookie (XXL!): bake scoops the size of 1 tbsp for 8-10 minutes on 190 degrees Celsius, watching your cookies like a hawk after the 8 minute mark so you don’t overbake them. I like my cookies underbaked, with crispy edges but soft inside.

Completely baked: bake for 12 minutes on 190 degrees Celsius

For smaller cookies, decrease the baking time around 2 minutes.

Make sure to spread your cookies enough so they don’t overlap when they start to spread in the oven.

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Hopefully this guide was a bit helpful in deciding what the recipe for your own perfect cookie should look like. For those of you who just want to replicate the cookies shown in this blog post, here’s my own preferred recipe.

Tori’s Favourite Choc Chip Cookies

Preparation time: 15 mins – Baking time: 8-10 mins – Total: 30 mins – Yield: 10 XXL cookies

Ingredients

  • 115 grams butter on room temp
  • 100 gr white granulated sugar
  • 100 gr white “basterd” sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 130 gr plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt + extra salt crystals on top of cookie
  • 100 gr dark chocolate + extra chunks on top of cookie

Method

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius and line an oven tray with parchment paper. Cream the butter for a minute with a hand-held electric mixer, then add the sugar and cream for another 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to incorporate. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and mix. Then add to the wet ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Chop up 100 grams of dark chocolate with a serrated knife, created uneven bits. Fold into the cookie dough. Make your hands slightly wet (so the dough doesn’t stick) and shape round dough balls the size of a pingpong ball. Spread out on a baking tray leaving enough room in between. Add some extra chunks of chocolate on top of every cookie, plus some salt flakes or crystals. Bake the cookies so the edges are crispy and golden but the middle is still soft. This takes around 8-10 minutes, but watch the cookies like a hawk. Leave the cookies to cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes, allowing the middle to set just a bit more before transferring them to a cooling rack for another 5 minutes. Enjoy!

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Be sure to take some pictures of your cookies 😉

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Thanks a lot for reading and I hope all of you will have a lovely 2019,

Tori

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Christmas Cookies Three Ways

It’s almost XMASSSSS! I have finally found some time to write another blog post. December is always the busiest, most hectic time of the year it seems. But also the most exciting time if you ask me. I am so happy to go back to my family in Amsterdam tomorrow, because I haven’t been home for almost 2 months. Thankfully, these 2 months flew by. I can’t believe 2018 is almost over.

For me, December was all about baking cookies. I think I baked a hundred cookies in total, I don’t know what got into me. I got so excited about the endless possibilities when it comes to toppings and stuffings for cookies. Also, I found out that baking the perfect cookie is not nearly as easy as it seems. I experimented a lot with different recipes, I read all about baking cookies online, and finally came up with three different cookie recipes: crunchy dark chocolate & chili cookies, cakey white chocolate, macadamia & cranberry cookies and chewy oatmeal & candied orange peel cookies.

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If I had to choose my favorite amongst these three, I’d say the chocolate ones, ’cause who doesn’t love chocolate? Because I wanted to bake Christmas themed cookies, and I had to bake something in the theme of “spiced bakes” for the baking society of my university, I decided to go for the never disappointing combination of Dark Chocolate & Chili. The chili adds so much depth to the flavour and it really makes the dark chocolate pop even more. It works kind of like adding salt or espresso powder to any dark chocolate bake, it just makes the chocolate flavour so intense.

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Dark Chocolate & Chili Cookies

These cookies are perfectly spicy, bringing out the dark chocolate flavour. They’re super crunchy with a gooey underbaked middle. Just chocolate heaven!

Prep time: 10 mins – Baking & Cooling time: 20 mins – Total: 30 mins – Yield: 12 large cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup dark brown unrefined cane sugar
  • ½ cup golden granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 6 heaped tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes (use only ½ tsp if you want just a hint of spiciness)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 bar Lindt Chili dark chocolate in chunks

Instructions

Start by bringing your butter to room temperature & preheating the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Then cream the butter together with the sugar until fluffy using a hand-held electric whisk. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Combine all the dry ingredients except the chocolate in a large bowl and add to your fluffy butter & egg mixture. Be careful not to overmix as this will make your cookies tough. Add the chocolate chunks even before all the flour is incorporated and fold them into the batter using a spatula. Doing this will incorporate the rest of the flour as well so you definitely don’t overmix! 🙂 Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the outside is crispy and baked but the middle is still soft. You really want to remove these cookies from the oven before they’re baked through all the way, because they will continue to set as you let them cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.


 

Next up are the other cookies. I will just list the ingredients for these, as the method is exactly the same as for the chocolate cookies!

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White Chocolate, Macadamia & Cranberry Cookies

These cookies are more cakey than the crunchy chocolate cookies because of the extra egg. If you don’t like that, just omit the second egg in this recipe! The cranberries make these cookies very festive.

Prep time: 10 mins – Baking & Cooling time: 20 mins – Total: 30 mins – Yield: 12 large cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup golden granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup halved macadamia nuts
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

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Turmeric Spiced Oatmeal & Candied Orange Peel Cookies

Prep time: 10 mins – Baking & Cooling time: 20 mins – Total: 30 mins – Yield: 8 small cookies

These chewy oatmeal cookies are spiced with turmeric, one of my favourite spices. I love the yellow pop it gives to baking. Enjoy these cookies alongside a turmeric latte!

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup golden granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup + 1 heaped tsp self-raising flour
  • ¾ cup jumbo oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ cup candied orange peel

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Thanks for reading guys and let me know if you bake some of these! ❤

Love, Tori

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Gingerbread Spice Courgette Loaf

Good morning everyone!

During my trip back home to Amsterdam, I managed to get my loaf tin back. I missed it so much for my baking here, because I used to make so many banana breads in that tin. But today I won’t be sharing a banana bread recipe (although I’m sure that will come around some time…) but another quick bread/loaf.

This gingerbread-spiced loaf is packed with courgette. I love to use courgette in my baking, because it adds so much moist. Any quick bread will have cake-like structure if you add courgette I think, which is basically amazing, because you trick your mind into thinking you’re eating an oil-packed cake when it’s just super healthy. Grated courgette is also amazing to add to red velvet cake, just so you know. Also, the little green dots look gorgeous in the baking.

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You can experiment with this loaf as much as you want. I am trying to find the healthiest version without compromising on taste and texture. I’ve found that this recipe is the perfect balance! It has just 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, but you might even be fine without any oil at all. It’s also completely up to you how sweet you want this cake to be. If you plan on eating this cake for breakfast, I suggest just using 1/4 cup of agave syrup or honey and leaving out the 1/4 cup of brown sugar. But of course you can add as much sugar as you want, especially if you want to serve this as an afternoon treat/coffee cake.

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I used 4 eggs for this loaf, which sounds like a lot, but I sometimes like to add an extra egg to my breakfast loaf because I am a vegetarian. I try to sneak extra protein into my meals wherever I can, so if I have the chance to add an extra egg to my baking, I just go ahead. I started out with 3 eggs but found the batter a bit too thick, so I added another one. If I were you, I’d just start with 3 eggs and see where that gets you. Especially if you are just using plain flour and no oats & spelt flour like me, I think 3 eggs will be plenty.

To add a gingerbread flavour to this loaf, I added cinnamon, allspice and ground ginger. These spices gave this loaf so much warmth, it made me feel like it’s already Christmas. Perfect for any cold mornings coming up. Feel free to just use 2tsp of cinnamon if you don’t have the other spices in your cabinet; it will still taste amazing.

Gingerbread Spice Courgette Loaf

Yield: ± 10 slices  – Prepping time: 15 mins – Baking time: 55-60

Dry ingredients

  • ½ cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup wholegrain spelt flour
  • 1 cup wholegrain oats + 1 tbsp for decorating
  • 1 tsp baking soda (=bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice/mixed spice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt

Wet ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup melted vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup agave syrup
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (I used dark brown natural unrefined cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (you need the acidity as a reactor otherwise the baking soda doesn’t do anything, you can also use some honey or lemon juice)

Filling

  • 2 cups grated courgette (±2 small to medium-sized courgettes)
  • small handful chopped walnuts
  • small handful chopped pecans + some extra for decorating

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and combine well.

Grate the courgette and drain well from extra liquid, but it’s okay if you leave just a bit because this provides extra moist to the loaf. Stir in the chopped nuts and set aside.

In another bowl, add all of the wet ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir everything together with a spatula. Finally, add the courgette & nuts and fold into the mixture.

Spray a loaf tin with some baking spray (I use coconut oil spray), or alternatively just grease the tin with butter. Line your tin with parchment paper and spray again. Then, pour in your batter. Your batter should be just liquid enough to pour in your tin with some help of a spatula to flatten everything out! Top the loaf with some whole pecan nuts and a sprinkle of oats. Cover the top of your loaf with aluminium foil but be sure to leave enough room for the loaf to rise.

Bake the loaf for 45 minutes. Then take it out of the oven, remove the aluminium foil and check how far along the loaf is. Place back into the oven without the foil so the top of the loaf can become golden brown. My loaf needed another 15 minutes, so it baked for a total of 60 minutes. You can try to reduce your baking time by increasing the heat of your oven to 190 degrees Celsius, but I didn’t want to risk ending up with an uncooked inside but burnt top.

Let the loaf cool in the tin for 10 minutes before easily removing it by pulling on the parchment paper. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack for at least another 10 minutes before cutting into it.

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Have a lovely week everyone and be sure to share picture with me if you do try this recipe! 🙂

Love,

Tori

Date & Walnut Lattice Pie

I really felt like making something pretty this time.

Usually, I like to keep things pretty simple. I just need my kitchen the smell nice & the bake to taste good. But I was feeling crafty and in need of buttery pie crust, so I decided on doing a double-crusted artsy pie.

 

You can use any filling you want when making a pie like this, which is great. Whatever you’re craving, just throw it in there. My inspiration for this was a pecan pie recipe that I’d seen, but then I found out I was out of pecans, so I went with walnuts. Anything works. I’m a big fan of a combination of dates and nuts (any type really), and I have done date & nut bars/tart bases in the past, so I liked the idea of working that into a pie filling this time.

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Making pie crust can appear a bit tricky at first, but practice makes perfect. Trust me, I am still working on mine. I actually did overwork my dough this time which made the crust a bit too tough to my liking. But hey, you know what’s so good about pie? It’s still really amazing even if it’s not perfect. Same goes for this all-butter pie crust recipe: difficult to get perfect, but it will always taste good and be a crowd pleaser! The most important thing to keep in mind is to not overmix your dough. Don’t knead the life out of it. I know it’s tempting, there’s something soothing about just kneading it until everything comes together perfectly and there are no lumps to be found anywhere. But that is where you’ll go wrong. You WANT these buttery lumps (around the size of peas) to be in your dough, because that’s what’s going to make the crust flaky and lovely at the end. With that in mind, let’s get to the recipe!

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Date & Walnut Lattice Pie

Yield: 12 servings – Preparation time: 60 minutes – Baking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

For the pie crust:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour + a bit extra for rolling the dough
  • 1 cup cubed cold unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup buttermilk + few tbsp. extra if needed
  • ½ tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter (room temperature)
  • ½ cup refined brown cane sugar
  • ¾ cup chopped pitted dates
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

Take the butter for the filling out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you prepare your pie dough.

For your dough, combine the butter with the flour and salt using a pastry cutter or your hands until the butter is the size of peas. Don’t overmix because this will make your pie crust tough. If you want an extra flaky crust, leave bigger bits of butter in the mixture. Add the buttermilk one tablespoon at a time just until the dough comes together. You don’t want the dough to become sticky. Of course, you can also use ice water instead of buttermilk, but I liked the extra tanginess.

Cut your dough in half, wrap in cling film and leave to refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

While your oven is preheating and your dough is refrigerating, start to prepare the filling for this pie. Your butter should be on room temperature now, so you can start by creaming the butter together with the sugar. I used a spatula. Add the salt, agave syrup and eggs and mix to combine. Then add the walnuts and dates. Set your filling aside and return to your dough.

You will use one clump of dough for the bottom of the crust and the other clump for the top layer. Let’s start by rolling out the bottom. Lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough, making sure to keep moving the dough and flipping it so it doesn’t stick to the counter. Transfer it to a greased tart pan of your choice. It’s probably easiest to use one that is not too high, as this will make decorating easier. I didn’t have on like that though, so I just used a standard quiche pan. Using a fork, make some holes in the dough and just bake it for 5 minutes to give it a head-start to the rest of the pie.

While that’s in the oven, start rolling out the second clump of dough and cut into long strips with which you’re going to cover the pie. You can save some dough to use for other decorations like the braids I made for example. Of course, this is totally up to you!

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Take your crust out of the oven and let it cool for a bit on your kitchen counter before pouring the filling on it. Spread the filling out evenly and then decorate the top with a second layer of pie dough. You can make any pattern you want; I went for a simple lattice pie.

Bake the pie for around 30-40 minutes, just keep an eye on it. If the top is nicely golden, the pie is done. Mine took 35 minutes.

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Let me know if you have a favourite way of decorating a pie!

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Bon appétit!

Tori