Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Last year I started writing about chocolate chip cookies with one word:  INGREDIENTS!  Who knew how prophetic that would be?  We started the summer again this year with chocolate chip cookies, but with ENTIRELY different results.  Our first two classes made cookies that looked like flat lace cookies studded with chocolate chips—they were delicious, but extremely flat.  We increased the amount of flour by ¼ cup for the afternoon classes, but the cookies came out exactly the same.  The second day, I bought new baking soda and baking powder, which we used with our first class.  Our second class reduced the amount of butter (from 2 sticks to 1 ½ sticks)…but the results were the same.  At lunch, I went out and bought an oven thermometer and discovered that my oven temperature was off by 25 degrees.  So, we made more cookies-correcting the temperature, but again, the results were the same.  By the time my fourth and final class came in, I was ready to try anything.  The girls were all from senior hill, so we made three different recipes:  one group made the recipe from the back of the chocolate chips, one group made a recipe that was given to me by someone who lives in Black Mountain (maybe it was an altitude thing?), and one group doubled the amount of baking soda in camp’s recipe.  The recipes were all equally disastrous!  What on earth?!

I spent that evening on the Internet researching reasons for ‘flat chocolate chip cookies’.  Alton Brown has a great episode of ‘Good Eats’ where he discusses flat vs. thick vs. chewy chocolate chip cookies—I read the entire transcript from the show.  The next morning I came in early (camp was done with chocolate chip cookies, but I wasn’t) and made a batch myself—maybe the girls put in 1 ½ cups of flour….maybe they weren’t creaming the butter and sugar….maybe they forgot an egg???  But my cookies looked exactly like theirs.  The only thing I hadn’t changed was the flour…so I drove into town at lunchtime and bought three bags of the same all-purpose flour I had used last year.  With great trepidation, I made ONE more batch of cookies…and stared at the oven as they baked…lo and behold, they turned out perfectly!  It had been the flour all along—a 25 pound bag I had purchased last week at Sam’s Club!  And while they will be hearing from me when I return the rest of the bag next week, what I wanted most was for the campers to hear from me—we CAN make a great chocolate chip cookie.  We DO have a great recipe.  And cooking is a process…and an opportunity for all of us to learn!  Happy baking!



  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In medium size mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
  • Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until all ingredients are fully blended.
  • Add chocolate chips and mix to distribute throughout dough.
  • Use small ice cream scoop to drop rounded scoops onto lined baking sheets.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove and cool on wire rack.

flat cookie

full cookies