When Alli Hawes, TODAY's senior food stylist, bakes these cookies for the staff, everyone moves on them like vultures. They're perfectly browned and crispy on the outside and so melty and gooey on the inside, thanks to her one genius trick.
"These cookies are a variation on the Nestle Toll House recipe which I have been using as my master recipe guide since I was a little girl," she says. "My love of baking and the perfect chocolate chip cookie has led me to make adjustments with each batch. This recipe has gotten pretty close to my perfect cookie with a chewy, soft center and a crunchy outside. My secret is to scoop the cookie dough and freeze the scoops before baking. This recipe makes a large batch of cookie dough that can be stored in the freezer and is ready to bake at any time."
She's majorly downplaying these cookies. We've never tasted anything like them. Seriously.
For a caramelized flavor, swap the butter with room temperature brown butter: Cook butter in a saucepan until lightly browning on the bottom and remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
For a heartier texture, swap the flour with ground old-fashioned oats.
For more add-in ideas, use bittersweet chocolate chips or pieces and/or nuts, dried fruit, etc.
Alli also makes an amazing kale salad — get the recipe here.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the mixture is mixed well. (An electric hand mixer can also be used instead of a stand mixer.)2.
Add the vanilla and combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl in between additions, until combined.3.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter, a third at a time, and mix on low until the batter just comes together — it's very important to be careful not to over-mix at this point.4.
Using a spatula, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure that the batter is uniformly mixed.5.
Add the chocolate chips and mix into the batter.6.
Scoop golf ball-sized mounds of dough, in tight rows, onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (I like to spray nonstick spray on the baking sheet in order to secure the parchment paper in place.) Once all of the dough is scooped, add place the tray in the freezer. Once frozen, store the dough balls in a freezer-safe container until you're ready to bake.7.
To bake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the frozen dough scoops on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray and bake 9 to 12 minutes, until golden brown on the edges and lightly browned on top. Let cool before eating.