My Dad Cracked the Code to the Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

As far back as I can remember, there was baking. When I was growing up, my mom's side hustle was being a cake decorator. She would take cake orders from people and work (she and my dad met at the post office where they worked for their entire careers) and create really beautiful, elaborate cakes. My dad would bake the cakes and my mom would decorate them.

My sister and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my parents. They were always baking something, but we would end up either taking it to a family function or giving baked goods away. We didn't have a house full of cookies, and my parents were very health-conscious, early 80s health food enthusiasts, which is a nightmare when you're a child. But the loophole in our kitchen was that if you could bake it from scratch, then we could have it.

I distinctly remember finding a box of unsweetened chocolate in the cupboard when I was 6 or 7, and I was like, "Ooh they left the chocolate here unattended." And so I tried to sneak a bite and was like, "No, not it." But I looked at the back of the package and saw a recipe for brownies. So I made my first batch of brownies unattended, and that really unlocked my sweet tooth and was a core memory and experience for the baker I am today.

<p>Courtesy of Joy Wilson</p>

Courtesy of Joy Wilson

Growing up, my sister and I mostly assisted my dad in the kitchen. For example, she and I would hold the rolling mat steady on the counter for my dad when he made pies. He would tell my sister and me about how butter had to be cold, how the pie crust had to be cold when it was rolling out, how thick it needed to be, etc. But years later, when I started Joy the Baker and baking became my career, he and I started doing a bit more collaborating.

Our most recent collabs is a children's book called The Life-Changing Magic of Baking, which he and I wrote together. It's a beautifully illustrated book for 6-12-year-olds that preaches the power (and life lessons) of baking through my own experience growing up in the kitchen with Cliff and Patty.

But the book is just the most recent example of my dad and I teaming up in the kitchen. Another prime example is the recipe that is now known as the Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie on my site.

Related: Donna Kelce's Chocolate Chip Cookies

<p>Courtesy of Joy Wilson</p>

Courtesy of Joy Wilson

My Dad's Tips for the Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before we get to Cliff's tips (or Cliff Notes as they're called on Joy the Baker), you should know that this recipe started as Lock in a Box Chocolate Chip Cookies, because my dad said the recipe was so good that you had to lock it in a box.

My dad's a Virgo, so he loves precision and dialing it down to the smallest detail. In the 90s, after much tinkering, he created the first version of the cookie, which included a couple of tablespoons of Orville Redenbacher's popcorn oil, which added this fake buttery taste to the cookies. And in the nineties, that was the Wilson Family cookie, and it was great.

My dad thought he was done with this cookie, but years later I took his recipe and instead of the popcorn oil, I browned butter and made Brown Butter Lock In a Box Cookies. And my dad was like, oh, wait a minute. Let me try that. So he took that idea and perfected it to his level, and now it's the Wilson Family Chocolate Chip Cookie. We're all very proud of it.

To make the ultimate Cliff Wilson-approved chocolate chip cookie, here's what you need to know, straight from the man himself.

Weighing is the way to go. Ingredients should be precise, and for this, I recommend using a digital scale and measuring the ingredients in grams. For example, 1 cup of sifted flour weighs less than 1 cup unsifted flour, and depending on how you spoon or scoop unsifted flour into a measuring cup, you’re going to come out with a different weight almost every time. Weighing the ingredients guarantees accuracy.

Remove liquid where you can. Reduce the amount of liquid in an ingredient without sacrificing the essence of that ingredient. Browning a stick of butter (113 grams) evaporates about 23 grams of water from the butter. That’s significant! And what you gain is more robust flavor. A win-win! Also, egg white is 90% water, so if the cookie recipe calls for 2 eggs, discard the white of one of the eggs. It will yield drier cookie dough and produce a flavorful, tender, and chewy cookie.

Take it easy on the chocolate. Cut back on the chocolate chips. WHAT? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? It’s a chocolate chip cookie, for crying out loud! Why would you do that? My answer is, it’s a chocolate chip cookie, all right, but it’s still a cookie. I’ve discovered that one heaping cup of chocolate chips (about 209 grams) is just the right amount needed to make you thoroughly enjoy the browned butter, the chewiness, the saltiness, and the actual gumption of the cookie and still know you’re eating an astonishingly delicious chocolate chip cookie. Add chopped cashews, pecans, or walnuts to the dough for that extra pazazz. But don’t go nuts (ha-ha bad joke), ½ to ¾ cup is sufficient.

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