Monday, April 8, 2019

Dan's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dan's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes approximately 48 cookies


1½ cups Land O Lakes® Butter [3 sticks]
1¼ white sugar
1¼ firmly packed brown sugar (I use dark brown sugar.)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon juice

4¼ cups all purpose flour [510 grams]
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups chocolate chips [18 ounces] (I use semi-sweet or milk chocolate or a combination.)


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla and lemon juice.

Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. With mixer running, add flour mixture to butter mixture, about a half cup at a time. Mix just until flour is fully incorporated. Add chocolate chips and mix briefly.

Drop by heaping tablespoons (#40 scoop), 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are puffed up and just starting to brown around the edges. They will flatten into chewy cookies as they cool.

Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Serve with a big glass of milk.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars: Mix ingredients as if making cookies. Spray half sheet baking pan (11 x 16) with cooking spray. Press dough into prepared pan using butter wrapper. Bake at 375°F for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and cut into bars. Serve with a big glass of milk.

The Story Behind the Recipe

One day, after I finished making a batch of my most-loved Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dan asked me, “Can you make plain chocolate chip cookies? Like, with no nuts or anything like that?”

I didn’t have a tried-and-true recipe for plain chocolate chip cookies.

I thought for half a second about doing an internet search. But the idea of sifting through thousands of versions of chocolate chip cookies didn't appeal to me. (Out of curiosity, I just did a Google search for “chocolate chip cookies.” It yielded over 20 million results.)

But I know a baking guru who's far better than the internet. And she happens to be a dear friend.

I sent a quick message to Becky.

Until recently, Becky was the director of the Land O’Lakes Test Kitchen. I know the folks in the Test Kitchen test and tolerance test and test again each recipe before it becomes part of the Land O’Lakes recipe collection. I knew that if anyone could recommend the best "plain" chocolate chip cookie recipe, it was Becky.

Becky and I together in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen a couple years ago.

Becky recommended two recipes from the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen: Chewy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies and Five Star Chocolate Chip Cookies.

The recipes are essentially the same. The only difference is the size of the final cookie. I gave the recipe a try and baked the smaller-sized cookies. Dan – and the rest of my family – loved them instantly.

I agreed with my family. But I thought, "I can make these better."

Better. This a common theme for both my life and our farm.  Our farm motto is: "Better for our cows, better for our land, better for our family, and better for our community." I'm always asking, "How can I make this better?"

So I did. Borrowing the concept from my own favorite chocolate chip cookies, I added extra chocolate chips, a pinch of cinnamon, and a dash of lemon juice. You can’t taste the cinnamon and lemon, they just add dimension to the flavor profile – much the same way good tea and fine chocolate have nuances of flavor above and below the main flavor notes.

I shared the "better" cookies with my friend, Summer, and she said, “There's something special in these, isn’t there.”

"Yeah, there is," I grinned. "Butter!"

Then I let her in on my secret. There’s no point in keeping a good recipe a secret.

Here's the best part about these cookies, though. I've made this recipe with too much flour, too much sugar,  milk chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, without the cinnamon and lemon juice, with dark brown sugar and light brown sugar... No matter the mistakes or variations, these cookies are delicious.

I was telling Becky one day about how forgiving this cookie recipe is. She said, "That's the sign of a good recipe. And that's why we do tolerance testing – to find the best recipes that turn out every time."

Dan's Chocolate Chip Cookies – as we now refer to them – really are some of the best cookies ever.

I am a Land O'Lakes Cooperative member-owner. I received compensation from Land O'Lakes for this post. All opinions are my own.