There were two major influences on this recipe: the Nestle Toll House back-of-the-package recipe (which I think we can all agree is pretty much The Standard as far as chocolate chip cookies go) and a recipe from Christina Tosi’s cookbook Milk Bar Life.
It’s thanks to Christina’s recipe that I discovered the wonders of this one special ingredient that makes all the difference.
Have you ever used powdered milk in cookies?
Before coming across Christina’s recipe, it had never occurred to me to use milk powder in anything except my California Emergency Earthquake Preparedness Kit.
But nibbling on the first cookie in the batch, I was amazed by the subtle caramel flavor and slightly chewy texture it gave the cookies.
Right then and there, I decided that milk powder deserved a spot in more of my cookie recipes — and particularly my signature chocolate chip cookies!
Milk powder, also called powdered milk, keeps forever in the pantry (which is why it’s so good in emergency kits). Even once the package is opened, milk powder will keep for several months if kept in an airtight container.
Aside from the milk powder, this is a pretty straightforward adaptation of the Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe — though I daresay I’ve managed to make a few improvements on the classic.
I prefer an equal mix of brown sugar and regular white sugar, just like the original recipe, but I’ve found that I like ever-so-slightly more flour in my cookies.
This gives the cookies a sturdier structure that is both satisfying to eat and also less likely to crumble when squished into a lunchbox or shipped to a friend.
I also highly recommend giving the batter at least a 30-minute chill in the fridge before scooping the cookies and baking them. This lets the dough have time to hydrate and firm up.
If you’re in a rush, it’s fine to bake them right away, but they will spread out more and have a thinner, more delicate structure.
Bake these cookies only until you see that the tops are fully puffed and the edges are starting to look toasty, then let them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.
As they cool, the puffy dome will collapse on top of the chocolate chips inside, giving the cookies their signature crinkled, craggy appearance.
These chocolate chip cookies are absolutely irresistible on the day they are made: the edges are buttery and crispy, the middles are soft and chewy, and the chocolate chips are perfectly semi-melty.
They lose some of their crispness overnight, becoming softer. But I promise they are no less delicious and no less capable of satisfying your cookie cravings.