David Leite’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Say hello to the chocolate chip cookie recipe that started an Internet craze and made bakers rethink how to make cookies. They originally appeared in the July 9, 2008 edition of the New York Times in an article written by our Fearless Leader, David Leite. What makes them so damn special is the dough is refrigerated for 24 to 36 hours for a more complex flavor and greater variation in texture. Sea salt is the finishing touch.

Say hello to the chocolate chip cookie recipe that started an Internet craze and made bakers rethink how to make cookies. They originally appeared in the July 9, 2008 edition of the New York Times in an article written by our Fearless Leader, David Leite. What makes them so damn special is the dough is refrigerated for 24 to 36 hours for a more complex flavor and greater variation in texture. Sea salt is the finishing touch.

Seven of David Leite's chocolate chip cookies cooling on wire racks

Are these chocolate chip cookies the ultimate, unsurpassed, perfect specimen? The consensus is yes. But, hey, don’t take our word for it. Bake them for yourself. Originally published May 22, 2009.David Leite

Video: How to Make NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Video courtesy of New York Times

David Leite’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Quick Glance
  •  15 M
  •  1 D, 12 H
  • Makes 18
5/5 – 60 reviews
 PRINT RECIPEBuy the  cookbook

Want it? Click it.

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds.

Drop the chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. You may have to do this by hand with a spatula.

 TESTER TIP: To make handling the dough easier, you can form the dough into balls now and refrigerate in a resealable plastic bag.

When you’re ready to bake, fire up the oven to 350° (176°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

Scoop six 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto a baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Bake the cookies until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. You’ll know the cookies are done when the tops have the caramel folds of a Shar Pei.

Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with the remaining dough. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

    HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

    • Lusting after these cookies but groaning and bemoaning over being gluten-free? Dry your tears and try Shauna James Ahern’s gluten-free version of the cookies. If only we could fix all your problems so easily!

    Recipe Testers’ Tips

    I’ve searched high and low for several years trying to find the greatest chocolate chip cookie recipe. Thankfully, David Leite has done the footwork for us. I’ve made this recipe several times now, and the very first time I made it, I knew I had encountered some otherworldly magic.

    This chocolate chip cookie is THE cookie against which all cookies should be measured. I’ve made these to impress friends and colleagues and even to help me woo my new wife. When you give these cookies to friends or family, expect EVERY comment to be overwhelmingly positive. Every single person who has tried one of these cookies has had the same reaction: “OMG! This is the best cookie EVER!”

    When I make this recipe exactly as it’s written, it makes huge 3 1/2 ounce cookies—just 1 perfect cookie per person is a great dessert, nothing more needed.

    Exactly one month ago, I made these cookies for my annual Christmas cookie exchange at my friend Anita’s in Cincinnati. I started by making 40 pounds of cookie dough. (I decided to make 1 1/2 ounce cookies, which are a normal size. I had to adjust the baking time because the cookies were less than half the size the recipe called for. Exactly 13 minutes at 350ºF worked perfectly. My yield was between 40 and 42 cookies per batch.) Needless to say, I won the cookie exchange. I made far more dough than was needed, so I divided the leftover dough into 1-pound batches, rolled the dough into 12-inch logs, and tightly wrapped them in the plastic wrap. Next I filled 1-gallon resealable plastic bags with the cookie logs, forcing the air out, and stacked the logs in the freezer. The cookies I made with the frozen dough tonight are as perfect as the cookies I made from the unfrozen dough a month ago.

    On a final note, the cookies are wonderful warm, but they’re delicious a few days later, cold. I promise you, if you make these cookies, you’ll soon find yourself referring to them as “My Cookies.”

    I will go to this chocolate chip cookie recipe again and again because these are the best I have ever baked. I had some fleur de sel I used to sprinkle on the top. This sure did bring out the sweetness of this ultimate cookie! Nice and gooey right out of the oven. Of course, this is the only way to have them. Yum….Thanks, David.

    I rarely give a recipe a 10, but having made this chocolate chip cookie recipe for the last 6 years, literally hundreds of times, I can say above and beyond all other recipes, this one deserves a 10. This is my tried-and-true, fail-safe, go-to, wow-them cookie recipe.

    But last month, to my shock and horror, my batch of these cookies spread out thin and did not have the same amazing texture as all the previous batches. Baffled, I made them again with the same poor results. Truly a crisis! I sent out a 911 email to my fellow Leite’s Culinaria recipe testers. After confirming I was using the same brand of chocolate, flour, and butter as always, David Leite asked me to call him. David went through each ingredient and asked a lot of questions, about my scale, my ingredients, including was my baking powder still good (who knew you could test your baking powder by adding a spoonful to hot water, if it fizzes it is good), and everything was fine. He then picked up on the fact I keep my huge Sam’s Club bag of flour in the garage. With the current heavy rains and humidity, it had definitely picked up moisture. He then explained how if my flour had added moisture and I am weighing my flour, I was not only adding less flour than intended (part of the weight is water weight), but I was adding undesired water to my dough. I purchased new flour that I now store inside the house and attempted the recipe again. Perfection.

    Thank you, David, and all the testers who continually help me improve. Hope this information helps someone else.

    HUNGRY FOR MORE?

    #leitesculinaria on InstagramIf you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Seven of David Leite's chocolate chip cookies cooling on wire racks

    Are these chocolate chip cookies the ultimate, unsurpassed, perfect specimen? The consensus is yes. But, hey, don’t take our word for it. Bake them for yourself. Originally published May 22, 2009.David Leite

    Video: How to Make NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Video courtesy of New York Times

    David Leite's Chocolate Chip Cookies

    • Quick Glance
    • (60)
    • 15 M
    • 1 D, 12 H
    • Makes 18
    Print RecipeBuy the  cookbook

    Want it? Click it.

    Ingredients


    Directions

    Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt into a bowl. Set aside.

    Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. 

    Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. 

    Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. 

    Drop the chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. You may have to do this by hand with a spatula. 

    Tester tip: To make handling the dough easier, you can form the dough into balls now and refrigerate in a resealable plastic bag.

    When you’re ready to bake, fire up the oven to 350° (176°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

    Scoop six 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto a baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

    Bake the cookies until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. You’ll know the cookies are done when the tops have the caramel folds of a Shar Pei. 

    Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with the remaining dough. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

    Print RecipeBuy the  cookbook

    Want it? Click it.

      How To Make Gluten-Free Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

      • Lusting after these cookies but groaning and bemoaning over being gluten-free? Dry your tears and try Shauna James Ahern’s gluten-free version of the cookies. If only we could fix all your problems so easily!

      Recipe Testers' Reviews

      I've searched high and low for several years trying to find the greatest chocolate chip cookie recipe. Thankfully, David Leite has done the footwork for us. I've made this recipe several times now, and the very first time I made it, I knew I had encountered some otherworldly magic.

      This chocolate chip cookie is THE cookie against which all cookies should be measured. I've made these to impress friends and colleagues and even to help me woo my new wife. When you give these cookies to friends or family, expect EVERY comment to be overwhelmingly positive. Every single person who has tried one of these cookies has had the same reaction: "OMG! This is the best cookie EVER!"

      When I make this recipe exactly as it's written, it makes huge 3 1/2 ounce cookies—just 1 perfect cookie per person is a great dessert, nothing more needed.

      Exactly one month ago, I made these cookies for my annual Christmas cookie exchange at my friend Anita's in Cincinnati. I started by making 40 pounds of cookie dough. (I decided to make 1 1/2 ounce cookies, which are a normal size. I had to adjust the baking time because the cookies were less than half the size the recipe called for. Exactly 13 minutes at 350ºF worked perfectly. My yield was between 40 and 42 cookies per batch.) Needless to say, I won the cookie exchange. I made far more dough than was needed, so I divided the leftover dough into 1-pound batches, rolled the dough into 12-inch logs, and tightly wrapped them in the plastic wrap. Next I filled 1-gallon resealable plastic bags with the cookie logs, forcing the air out, and stacked the logs in the freezer. The cookies I made with the frozen dough tonight are as perfect as the cookies I made from the unfrozen dough a month ago.

      On a final note, the cookies are wonderful warm, but they're delicious a few days later, cold. I promise you, if you make these cookies, you'll soon find yourself referring to them as "My Cookies."

      I will go to this chocolate chip cookie recipe again and again because these are the best I have ever baked. I had some fleur de sel I used to sprinkle on the top. This sure did bring out the sweetness of this ultimate cookie! Nice and gooey right out of the oven. Of course, this is the only way to have them. Yum….Thanks, David.

      I rarely give a recipe a 10, but having made this chocolate chip cookie recipe for the last 6 years, literally hundreds of times, I can say above and beyond all other recipes, this one deserves a 10. This is my tried-and-true, fail-safe, go-to, wow-them cookie recipe.

      But last month, to my shock and horror, my batch of these cookies spread out thin and did not have the same amazing texture as all the previous batches. Baffled, I made them again with the same poor results. Truly a crisis! I sent out a 911 email to my fellow Leite's Culinaria recipe testers. After confirming I was using the same brand of chocolate, flour, and butter as always, David Leite asked me to call him. David went through each ingredient and asked a lot of questions, about my scale, my ingredients, including was my baking powder still good (who knew you could test your baking powder by adding a spoonful to hot water, if it fizzes it is good), and everything was fine. He then picked up on the fact I keep my huge Sam's Club bag of flour in the garage. With the current heavy rains and humidity, it had definitely picked up moisture. He then explained how if my flour had added moisture and I am weighing my flour, I was not only adding less flour than intended (part of the weight is water weight), but I was adding undesired water to my dough. I purchased new flour that I now store inside the house and attempted the recipe again. Perfection.

      Thank you, David, and all the testers who continually help me improve. Hope this information helps someone else.

      HUNGRY FOR MORE?

      #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

      Comments

      1. Hello,

        I have made this recipe many times with great results. I would like to know if this recipe could it be adapted to make a double chocolate cookie? In other words, mixing cocoa powder with the flour. I’ve seen other recipes for cookies like that of course, but I want a double chocolate version of the “ultimate cookie.”

        1. Here is my update, as promised:

          I used the recipe from the NYT double chocolate chip cookies, with the following specifications:

          1) Instead of all-purpose flour, I used 50/50 mix by weight of bread flour (Signature Select) and cake flour (Softasilk)
          2) For the cocoa powder, I used Hershey’s special dark dutch processed.
          3) For the brown sugar, I used C&H golden brown sugar.
          4) For the chocolate disks, I used Imperfect Foods 85% dark chocolate discs
          5) Dough rested in the fridge for 40 hours.

          The cookies are very large, bulky, with big breaks. From a looks perspective, these look top notch.

          They are much, much less sweet than the normal recipe. One bite, in particular, felt almost unsweetened.

          Our coffee mugs had chocolate fingerprints everywhere. It’s impossible to avoid having chocolate fingers when eating. Paper towels are highly recommended.

          They were very satisfying. Neither of us wanted a second cookie afterward, unlike the normal recipe where we feel like we could have another quarter cookie.

          If David or others at the Culinaria or in the comments section here want to take this as a starting point, I’d be very interested hearing more in the quest to find the “perfect double chocolate chip cookie.”

          1. Julian,

            The cookies look great. A few thoughts:

            1. The chocolate has too high of a cocoa content. It’ll add to the sense of the cookie being “unsweetened.”
            2. As we discussed, 40 hours is too much.
            3. I’d up the brown sugar a bit and lower the granulated sugar.

        2. Julien, it certainly can be. We’ve never done it, so I can’t give you precise substitutions. I would start with any similar chocolate-chocolate chip cookie recipe, let it rest 36 hours, and see how that goes!

              1. I…. wow. I’ve been making these cookies for years and thought it was 3 days the whole time. I’ll bake them now!

      2. Hi David, Thank you for sharing – 5 stars! I’ve read hundred of articles online and everyone is contradicting one another on the purpose of baking soda vs baking powder. Can you weigh in on what you believe they do? I’m interested in what contributes to cookie height, cookie spread, cookie browning and what the point is of having both? It’d be great to hear from an expert such as yourself.

        1. Jay, they both act to leaven or raise the cookies, but they do it differently. Baking soda (an alkali) starts to work immediately when it interacts with any acid in the cookie. The molasses in the brown sugar is acidic and the two interact, giving lift. Baking soda also contributes to browning and a chewy-crisp texture. Now, baking powder has both baking soda (an alkali) plus an acid. When it’s moistened (by the eggs and butter), it produces carbon dioxide gas that lifts the cookies. It also gets a second boost from the heat in the oven, offering even more lift. It also offers some tenderness to the cookie.

          Bottom line: too much baking powder and the cookies are too cakey (hence the lesser amount in the recipe); too much baking soda and the cookies spread, are thin, and crispy.

      3. I am a serious cookie monster and have been wanting to try this recipe forever but never had the will power to wait the 24-36hrs. I finally made a batch yesterday while snowed-in and OMG… These are perfection! Only change I made was in the chocolate, half was freshly chunked from a bittersweet Callebaut block and the rest were Ghirardelli chips. My only regret is waiting so long to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing it!!!

        1. Thanks, JV! We’re delighted to hear that you felt it was worth the wait. Yours look perfect!

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