Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies, or The Only Cookies Santa Wants

Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I don't remember the first time I bought a package of Nestlé chocolate chips and made the cookie recipe on the back of the bag, but I figure it must have been sometime in college. And it happened again and again, because before too long, I had the recipe committed to memory. I made cookies for friends, for coworkers, and for boyfriends (until the one guy who told me they were, "okay...a little too salty"...he and I broke up not too long after.) People raved about them, and I felt a little sheepish every time I mentioned that they, too, could bake cookies just like this if they just followed the recipe on the back of the chocolate chips. There's even a whole episode of Friends where Monica and Phoebe attempt to recreate The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever, and they end up being Nestlé Tollhouse cookies from the package.

I'm here to disagree with that, though. No offense to Nestlé at all. Their cookies are classic and they inspired many nights of baking and indulging for me. But as I've grown a little older and a lot wiser, I've adapted their recipe to become exactly what I want a chocolate chip cookie to be: crisp and slightly chewy on the edges, rather than dense and cakey; melty and almost gooey in the middle, with a delicious faintly caramel flavor from altering the ratio of brown sugar to granulated sugar and doubling the vanilla; and a distinct chocolate flavor from chunks, not chips, contrasted by a flaky, salty finish. Because Blake was wrong, and these cookies could never be too salty.

These, my friends, are what I'm officially ready to declare The Best Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies Ever.

Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup of packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of good vanilla
2 eggs at room temperature
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 4 oz bar of milk chocolate, chopped
1 4 oz bar of semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 4 oz bar of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top

Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your standing mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Mix in vanilla, then mix in eggs one at a time. 

Mix in half of the flour mixture until combined, then the remaining flour mixture, and thoroughly mix in, but do not over beat.

Stir in chocolate chunks until evenly mixed.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the surface of the dough, and chill in the refrigerator. I've read some recipes that chill their dough up to 36 hours (!). I typically chill mine overnight, but at least give it a few hours. The refrigerator works its magic on the flavor and the texture of the cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 2" balls and place on the baking sheet evenly spaced out to allow for spreading. 

Bake for 8 minutes, then sprinkle the tops of the cookies with flaky sea salt, and bake for another 8 minutes. 

Cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Jessica BlairComment