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.–David Leite

A close up shot of a few of David Leite's chocolate chip cookies on a wire cooling rack
An empty parchment-lined baking sheet with a chocolate-smeared spatula resting on it
Seven of David Leite's chocolate chip cookies cooling on wire racks

David Leite’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

4.89 / 121 votes
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.
Servings18 servings
Calories520 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 day 12 hours


  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate discs or Valrhona fèves at least 60 percent cacao content
  • Sea salt


  • Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  • Using a stand 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 the flour mixture and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. 
  • Drop the chocolate chunks in and incorporate them without breaking them. You may have to do this by hand with a spatula. 
  • Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. (I vote 36 hours.) Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

    ☞ 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. You can also freeze the balls in a resealable plastic bag.) 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 wire rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with the remaining dough. Eat warm, with a big napkin.



Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 520 kcalCarbohydrates: 73 gProtein: 7 gFat: 25 gSaturated Fat: 15 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 7 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 54 mgSodium: 290 mgPotassium: 196 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 42 gVitamin A: 423 IUCalcium: 48 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2008 David Leite. Photo © 2008 David Leite. All rights reserved.

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 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.

Originally published May 22, 2009

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I just made the dough and its sitting in my fridge. I can’t wait to try these cookies. I know they’re probably best warm but will they taste okay a few days later? I plan on giving some as a gift.

    1. BR, they are best warm, and they lose something at room temperature. Why not tuck a note inside the gift tin suggesting the recipient heat the cookies in a low oven for 10 minutes or so until warmed through?

  2. David, I can confirm that me and 2 other tasters found the frozen dough baked up into cookies just as delicious as the original version. If I were to taste them side-by-side, perhaps I would have noticed a difference between the two. I must confess that this dough was in and out of the freezer, fridge, and cooler (!) over the course of a week! I even tried cooking them on aluminum foil over a BBQ grill, and while they were homely, they were still yummy. Or perhaps it’s just that one doesn’t notice a small loss in texture of the dough that binds together the large flat discs of good chocolate, highlighted with the sprinkle of sea salt, eaten warm.

    David, they are just the ultimate chocolate chip cookie, exactly as you christened them.

    1. Rachel, I so happy to hear you found no difference. Anyone else out there have the same experience? Perhaps my problem was I had them in the freezer for several weeks. That could have made a difference.

      1. 5 stars
        We’ve vacuum-sealed the dough (in pre-portioned scoops) and frozen it—the cookies are stil delicious (how can a warm cookie be bad?). But I find they tend to lose something over the “fresh” dough. They aren’t as crispy/chewy/gooey as the refrigerated dough. But, they are very handy for when you are in need of a cookie fix and don’t want to mix up a whole batch.

        Having said that, the cookie dough is perfect because you can make a couple after 24 hours (yum) and then the next day (even better) while waiting for the 72 hours to go by. I just have to make sure someone doesn’t eat all the dough before we get to baking them into cookies.

        1. Leanne, I find the same thing happens when I freeze the dough. I think the sugar has more time to melt, resulting in a less interesting cookie. The “fresh rest” of 24 to 36 hours in the fridge is what give them their ultimate taste and texture.

          1. What i have tried is to do the 36-hour rest in the fridge and THEN package them for the freezer in logs. Baking them when they are cool but malleable makes for an excellent cookie–truthfully, i found them to be just as excellent as the non-frozen batch. And oh, they are excellent…best CC cookies EVER!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you, David:)