Baking delicious, soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies is a lot of fun. Here is a step-by-step guide and recipe for making chocolate chip cookies.


Here's what you need and my favorite tips:

* High-quality ingredients. Butter is better.

* Light-colored, flat baking sheets with no lip or edge (the lip causes cookies to burn at edges since heat becomes trapped and bakes them unevenly). The light color of the cookie sheet allows for soft and chewy cookies; a dark or black sheet causes cookies to become crispy on the bottom.

* Parchment paper for top of the cookie sheet. It's not necessary, but it reduces cleanup time and eases transferring the cookies because you can slide the paper directly off the hot sheet to the kitchen counter to cool.

* An inexpensive oven thermometer. Most oven-temperature dials are inconsistent or incorrect and can bake at temperatures too high or too low.

* Good oven mitts.

* A long, flat metal spatula to transfer the cookies (plastic spatulas will squish your cookie's edge when you try to transfer it to a cool surface).


* Always monitor the accuracy of your oven temperature by monitoring the internal-temperature gauge.

* When placing cookies in the oven, make sure to place the cookie sheets evenly in the oven-that is, one sheet on the center shelf, and the second sheet directly under the first, so the cookies have plenty of area to bake properly.

* If you use a convection oven, you will need to adjust baking time as the cookies will bake faster by 1 or 2 minutes.

* Turn your oven light on so you can check for doneness without opening the oven door.


Here's a recipe for about 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies:


* 2 and 1/2 cups of flour

*1 teaspoon of baking soda

* 1/4 teaspoon of salt

* 1 cup of brown sugar

* 1/2 cup of white sugar

* 1 cup softened butter

*2 large eggs

*2 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


*Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

* In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk.

* In the large bowl of an electric mixer, blend the sugars at medium speed. Add the butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix at medium speed until just blended. Do not over-mix.

* Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and blend at low speed until fully combined. Do not over-mix.

* Press the scoop into the dough and against the side of the bowl to ensure that the scoop is fully and densely packed. Wipe the excess from the rim and release the cookie ball onto the cookie sheet.

* Place 12 rounded cookie balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches (about 2 finger widths) apart. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

* Check the cookies to ensure that they are baked. The best way is to gently tap on the center of a cookie. If it is firm to the touch and does not sink in, they are done.

* If they are fully baked, transfer immediately to a cool surface with a spatula and eat, or share to your heart's content.


To make sure you are never empty-handed, take any unbaked scooped cookie balls, place as many as can fit onto a cookie sheet, cover with plastic food wrap, and stuff into the freezer. Once the cookie balls are frozen, gather them up and place into a zip-locked freezer bag and keep them in the freezer.

Making chocolate chip cookies is fast and easy, and you're an instant hero!