Though everyone has their tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe, I wanted to offer my go-to recipe when I'm saving pennies or trying to use what's in the house without going in to the store.
In my world, this makes 6 cookies (using an ice cream scoop to create the dough balls)... perfect if baking for one!
Here are the basics, with substitutions in parenthesis... (I now use a scale when I bake - but since this was developed with cups and measuring spoons... there you go...)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
(you can swap this out for 4 Tbs. coconut oil or 3 Tbs coconut oil + 1 Tbs of coconut manna... those you need to melt completely. It will produce a slightly chewier cookie with more height. If you're using butter, it really needs to be soft but not melted - or it will flatten the cookies out completely, even with dough fridge time)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp baking soda
(we're in high altitude - so I've made these with 1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp with no noticeable change... )
just shy of 1 c. light brown sugar
(I prefer 1/2 dark brown sugar and 1/2 sugar (closer to over 3/4 cup than shy of 1 c.) - this gives you "light brown sugar" and a chewy cookie inside with a crisp outside - If you like totally crisp cookies, use all white sugar. If you like chewier cookies, go with 100% brown sugar - they will have a slightly carmel-y taste)
(You can use an egg sub - but for vegan friends, I usually go to a whole other recipe... that naturally doesn't ask for something to be something else)
1 tsp pure vanilla
(non-negotiable... this is what makes the non-chocolate part of the cookie as good as the chocolate part... I lean further into a healthy splash... over 1 tsp but under 2)
+1/4 tsp kosher salt
(doesn't have to be kosher or sea salt - but it's a different flavor than iodized - and if iodized is what you have, use 1/8 tsp... because it's 2x as potent)
1 1/4 c. flour (or slightly under, depending on temp in kitchen and altitude)
(these in the pic were made with whole wheat pastry flour. Something I've never made them with, but was the only flour available on the shelf when we were at the store stocking up... I'm a fan of King Arthur flours - but went with Bob's Red Mill on this one - AP is perfect - but really any mix - including nut flours will work... you can also do a mix of 3/4 flour + 1 c. oats... totally flexible - what you're looking for is the texture. If it looks dry, the cookies will be puffy and dry. If it looks wet or too creamy, the cookies will flatten out when they bake)
(I'm a fan of chopping up a bar of chocolate... whatever chocolate you like... my fav is parts milk and dark (1:2) - but Brian's is hard core dark chocolate - really though, any bar will do - it's less expensive than the chips, and when you chop it up, there are different size chunks which is perfect - add enough to taste... depending on your ratio preference of dough to chocolate)
1. cream butter/coconut butter with sugar(s) until creamy
2. add egg and mix until it's super fluffy - has to be, don't skimp on the stirring
3. add vanilla, salt, soda - mix in
4. add flour + chocolate - mix in and taste (I know... raw egg... but you have to adjust for salt... it needs to offset the sweet)
really you can add anything here... coconut, nuts, dried fruit... whatever is your most favorite concoction
5. scoop into dough balls and only slightly flatten with palm of hand - on a silpat lined baking sheet (it's the only thing I use, cannot speak for how this will go without a silpat) - and stick in fridge while you heat the oven... dough must be hard before you put it in oven or cookies will flatten
(as you can tell since I've mentioned it several times now, flat cookies do not meet my standards, though in a pinch they will still disappear...)
6. oven temp... well... the original recipe calls for 325-degrees for 11-13 minutes. I've baked them at 350 and here in Montana it's 375-degrees... you're looking for them to puff up and be slightly firm to touch on the sides... If you pull them out too early, they'll deflate - still great flavor, but they'll be flat and chewy. If you let them go too long - they'll totally be crispy. Your best bet is when you smell them baking, - go check, and probably pull them out and let them cool on the hot pan - if you think you might have cooked them either perfectly or too long, immediately put them on a cooling rack.
That's it. Enjoy...