Sometimes simple is best. The chocolate chip cookie is a prime example. It's not fussy or fancy, and you can stir up the dough in under 10 minutes, but it tastes like the best thing on Earth when warm out of the oven with melty chocolate chips.
I know everyone has their own idea of a perfect chocolate chip cookie. Some like them chewy, some like them think and crisp, and some like them thick and puffy. In our house, we like them slightly chewy. To achieve a chewy cookie use a higher brown sugar to white sugar ratio, for a crisp one, less brown more white does the trick. I know this because Alton Brown said so! Here is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. For Alton's other versions click here.
OH, I almost forgot to mention a major perk of making homemade cookies! The dough is waaaay better than that pre-made dough you get in a log at the grocery store. Don't eat it if you're pregnant or have immune system issues, etc...
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma "Cookies"
*I increased the brown sugar and reduced the white by 1/4 cup each.
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl; set aside. *I'll admit I never do the sifting part. I find it works just as well to whisk the dry ingredients together.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, cream the butter until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the sugars and continue beating until the mixture is no longer gritty. *I can never seem to get it to this point so don't worry about it. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until blended.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed or stir with a wooden spoon just until blended. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts, stirring just until blended.
Drop tablespoonfuls of the dough onto baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies until golden brown around the edges, about 12 minutes. Let cool briefly then cool on wire racks. Eat warm!