I know you’ve seen it over one thousand times on the internet about “the best chocolate chip cookies you’ll ever eat” but those people are all lying. They haven’t tried this recipe and they definitely don’t use one of these ingredients to ensure that your cookies stay perfectly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside regardless how long they’ve been sitting out. This really is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe you’ll ever come across.
Do you remember those days of your youth where a sweet tooth was typically cured with following the directions for cookies on the back of a Nestle Toll House bag of semisweet chocolate chips? I remember in the sugar-addicted days of my younger years questioning why on Earth we would ever use semi-sweet chocolate in a cookie when my prerogative was to consume as much sugar as humanly possible in the form of milk chocolate. However, try as I might to complain about the lack of full-on sugar explosion, we kept buying, and kept using, semi-sweet chocolate in our cookie recipe. Which at the end of the baking experience still left me in a sugar coma passed out in the bonus room in front of some Nick at Nite rerun of Roseanne on the T.V.
There were many times when I went to go make chocolate chip cookies that we were out of some crucial ingredient and my creativity had to kick in to counter the loss of a fallen hero. Maple syrup and granulated sugar took the place of brown sugar. Mayonaise took the place of butter. Oatmeal that had been pulverized into dust took place of the last 3/4 cup of flour that I needed. These years of experiments led me down a path of using recipes as a loose guideline when crafting my creation and always yielded an unexpectedly pleasant concoction that was as well received as the original.
Today I’m happy to report that I still don’t follow recipes entirely, and as I go, measurements are trusted against my eyes and nose more than the measuring cups and teaspoons that grace my utility drawer. Now I don’t want to deter you, dear reader, these recipes that I pass off on this blog are essential to creating what I have labored in the kitchen for you as they are meticulously recorded in my hand written recipe book. Just know that substitutions are essential to creativity and sometimes entirely necessary as in this case of cooking cookies.
These cookies started out as a Leaf Lard Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that I found in Anne Quatrano’s Summerland cookbook, which if you have a penchant for collecting beautiful cookbooks with delightful stories and phenomenal photos, I highly recommend you picking up a copy. However, try as I might I could not find Leaf Lard anywhere. My trip to Whole Foods was pointless, the Kroger butcher looked puzzled as I asked for Leaf Lard to which he responded, “Ma’am, this is the meat department- I would check with the clerk on aisle eleven”. And so my first substitution had to come in the form of regular lard which is stored on the shelves of the multi-cultural aisle because American’s only associate Lard with shortening and they made no space on the shelf for such a fat.
And so, I went home, slightly morose about my lack of leaf lard. The closest butcher shop was still too far away for me to justify the trip so my second best lard choice would have to do. If you have the opportunity to pick up leaf lard for your recipe, I highly recommend it. Leaf Lard has a salty, pork essence that gives baked goods a unique umami flavor to them.
And do it did. These cookies only take 8 minutes to bake up, are deliciously chewy, and will keep in the freezer for however long your willpower will hold out. This truly is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe of all time.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour I use White Lily
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 stick unsalted grass fed butter at room temperature I use KerryGold
- 3/4 cup of leaf lard if you can find it if not, regular lard is fine
- 1/2 Tablespoon baking soda
- 1/2 Tablespoon of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste
- 2 cups of chopped dark chocolate
- Sea Salt for sprinkling on top
In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream together butter, lard, sugar, and dark brown sugar until light and creamy. Reduce speed and slowly add the eggs in one at a time.
When eggs are incorporated, add in vanilla bean paste and set aside.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
With a hand spatula, slowly incorporate flour mixture into butter mixture until well combined.
Add in your chocolate.
Remove from mixing bowl and place on a piece of plastic wrap, molding the cookies into a tube. Seal the ends of the cookie dough tube and place in the freezer for 10 minutes or overnight.
When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. If you aren't using a Silpat for your cookies, line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Take your cookie dough out and slice the desired amount of cookies off and place on your silpat.
Place cookies in the oven and keep a watchful eye, being sure to turn the cookie sheet 4 minutes in. Total bake time should be 7-8 minutes.
You want to pull these cookies just as their edges are starting to brown.
Remove from oven and let them cool for at least 5 minutes. Centers will be soft but will hold up to the touch.
Keep remaining dough in freezer for future use.
Adapted from Anne Quatrano's Summerland