Chocolate chip cookies are the perfect year-end teacher appreciation gift. I’ve made hundreds of batches over the years, and I’ve made every mistake in the book. Here are 10 tips for your best, most gift-worthy cookies ever!
Buy your chips and follow the recipe on the bag – with these crucial tweaks:
1. Buy Hershey semi-sweet chocolate chips, they have the best chocolate flavor and consistent quality.
2. Use unsalted, real butter, and let it come to room temperature first. Hard butter will not cream properly, and melted butter will make your cookies spread too much.
3. Follow the instructions on mixing the dry ingredients and others separately first. The butter and sugar need to be creamed together first, then the eggs added, and only then the dry ingredients, then the chips.
4. They are chocolate chip cookies, but the vanilla is very important. Use the best, strongest vanilla you can find and afford, and use a little extra. If you have plain, store brand, vanilla extract, double it.
5. There is no benefit to beating vanilla, so add it at the end of the mixing of the wet ingredients.
6. Use kosher salt and almost double it – be sure you are using unsalted butter.
7. If the cookies will be a gift, leave out the nuts – some people don’t like them or have allergies.
8. Bake them on a good, thick, insulated cookie sheet so the bottoms don’t get too brown before the tops.
9. Ovens vary, watch your cookies carefully, especially the first few batches.
10. You can bake two cookie sheets at once in the same oven as long as each tray gets to finish the last 5 minutes or so on the top rack so they brown correctly.
11. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about two minutes before you transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. If you try to move them too soon, they will tear, too late and they will stick to the cookie sheet.
Now you have lots of delicious cookies to give away (or eat!). Pack them up in a nice airtight container, get creative in the packing if you like, and you will delight anyone on your end-of-year list.