Because just when you think these cookies can't get any better, they do.
When it comes to the chocolate chip cookie, it doesn't take much to achieve face-melting levels of deliciousness. After all, it's a dessert that tastes pretty amazing even when made with the recipe on the bag of chocolate chips. But that doesn't mean that you should be content with mere excellence. Fact is, since these cookies start out brilliant, you only need one or two simple tricks to make them even better—and customize them to suit your taste.
1. BROWN YOUR BUTTER
Most chocolate chip cookie recipes start by creaming softened butter with sugar. But what happens when you brown the butter until golden brown and let it cool until solid before blending it with the sugar? You get nutty depth that works perfectly with the cookies' butterscotch flavor. And that's a good thing.
2. WHISK COFFEE GROUNDS OR ESPRESSO POWDER INTO THE FLOUR
Almost every chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for whisking together the dry ingredients—and that's the perfect opportunity to add a little coffee to the mix. Just add a teaspoon or two of freshly ground coffee or instant espresso powder, and you'll score amazing mocha notes.
3. USE HAND-CHOPPED CHUNKS, NOT CHIPS
Sure, you can buy chunks of chocolate and fold them in instead. But why deprive yourself of the joy of random large and small bits of chocolate running through your cookie? Chopping it yourself creates a range of sizes, and that means surprise in every bite.
4. STIR CRUNCHY CEREAL INTO THE DOUGH
When you think about it, cereal and chocolate chip cookies already have plenty in common: They're both best with plenty of milk. Take that affinity even further by folding a handful of your favorite crunchy cereal into the dough. You'll get a great dose of crunchy-chewy texture, along with the flavors of the cereal you choose. (Pro tip: crispy rice cereal wins.)
5. FOLD IN YOUR FAVORITE SNACK FOOD
Calm down, calm down—we're not suggesting you fold Doritos into your cookies (though, actually, that might not be so terrible). But simple sweet or salty snacks? Bring it. Caramel or regular popcorn, salty potato chips, and pretzels are especially good ideas; just break up any large pieces by roughly crushing them as you add them to the dough.
6. SPRINKLE DOUGH BALLS WITH FLAKY SALT BEFORE BAKING
It might be old hat by now, but it's still true: Salt makes cookies taste better. There's salt in the dough, of course, but for an extra hit and a nice crackly texture, sprinkle your dough balls with flaky salt (we love Maldon) before baking.
7. DIP COOKIES IN MELTED CHOCOLATE
Now, once your cookies come out of the oven, there's still opportunities to upgrade. Just melt more chopped chocolate with a couple pats of butter over low heat in a small saucepan, whisking just until smooth and silky. Then do some dipping. We like to dip in just half of each cooled cookie before letting them set on a rack set over a baking sheet. Then all you have to do is try to wait until the chocolate sets before you eat one. Go ahead. Try.