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Soft Chocolate Chip Salted Vanilla Cookies

Chocolate chip cookie recipe at Happy Simple Living blog
Soft Chocolate Chip Salted Vanilla Cookies

Throughout my adult life, I’ve been on a selfless, never-ending quest for the Holy Grail of chocolate chip cookie recipes. The recipe I’m about to share with you is very close to my ideal—soft, chewy, full of melty chocolate, enhanced with nice vanilla notes, and balanced with the heightened flavor kick that comes from a generous dash of sea salt. Because the cookie dough is made with pulverized oatmeal, the cookies are light brown—meaning you can easily sneak in some whole wheat flour. I used Kamut, a flour made from an ancient wheat grain, which added a nice, nutty flavor.

I’ve made a lot of changes, but the original recipe that inspired this version came from one of my very favorite cookbooks – Ann Hodgman’s Beat This.

Her recipe for “The Only Chocolate Chip Cookies” was inspired by the Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe that supposedly cost some poor sucker $250 and made the internet rounds many years ago.

If you’ve been hoarding a bottle of really good vanilla, now’s the time to break it out because you’ll really notice and appreciate the flavor in these cookies. The secret to chewy, soft cookies is to slightly undercook them, and to do that you may need an oven thermometer so you can get your oven heat to just the right temperature.

Shall we get started?

Warm chocolate chip cookies from Happy Simple Living blog

Soft Chocolate Chip Salted Vanilla Cookie Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (1 and a third 12-ounce bags), divided
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and line a large cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.

In a food processor or blender, combine the rolled oats with 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips (reserve the remaining chocolate chips to add later). Process until the mixture is powdered.

In a the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand-held mixer, combine the butter, sugar and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.

In another mixing bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt and whisk until combined. Gradually add this flour mixture to the butter mixture while beating with the mixer. Then add the pulverized oatmeal-chocolate mixture. The dough will get pretty stiff at this point, and you may need to use your hands.  Finally, add the remaining chocolate chips and combine well—and you will need to do this by hand.

Roll the dough in golf-ball sized balls and arrange on the parchment-lined cookie pan. If you’re a control freak like me you may want to flatten them just a little bit, so they’re less likely to spread into weird shapes or run into each other.

Chocolate chip cookies at Happy Simple Living blog

Bake for 11 minutes, quickly turning the pan around halfway during the baking process. You’ll have to have a little faith when you remove the cookies from the oven, because they might not look quite done. The tops should be covered with little cracks, and you don’t want the edges to get browned.

Baking chocolate chip cookies at Happy Simple Living blog

Put the cookie sheet on a wire cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool for about five minutes before you transfer them from the pan to finish cooling. This recipe makes about 36 cookies.

To keep the cookies soft, store them in a tightly covered container and try to eat them within 72 hours (this is never a problem in our house), when they are at their freshest and yummiest.

Isn’t a cookie jar full of homemade cookies one of life’s best pleasures?

A cookie jar full of chocolate chip cookies at Happy Simple Living blog

Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, or any cookie baking secrets you’d like to share? Drop a comment below!

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 16 books, including Small Bites, 101 Things To Do With Bacon, and BERRIES. She enjoys sharing ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, and home projects. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

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