Winslow's Home in St. Louis. (Photo: Greg Rannells)
From chewy versions made with locally milled flour to crumbly concoctions with large chocolate chunks, America’s best bakers are putting incredible spins on the classic Toll House Cookie.
Winslow’s Home; St. Louis
This rustic urban restaurant and café makes a buttery, shortbread-esque cookie studded with a combination of Guittard semisweet and bittersweet buttons. The locally milled unbleached flour is responsible for the cookie’s signature chew, which pastry chef Cary McDowell prefers over crispiness.
Rustica Bakery, Minneapolis
The bittersweet chocolate cookie is the sleeper hit at this Minneapolis bakery known for its European breads. The cookies are deeply colored and richly flavored with bitter cocoa and Callebaut chips, then baked to a pliable texture with a crackly, sugar-dusted top. Each bite is a decadent treat: “Some people claim they can eat more than one, but I don’t know about that,” says co-owner Barbara Shaterian, with a laugh.
Tartine; San Francisco
The husband-and-wife dream team of bread genius Chad Robertson and pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt created a large, flat chocolate chip cookie that follows the expert bakers’ axiom that darker color means better flavor. Their cult bakery's cookie—made with oatmeal, walnuts and Valrhona Guanaja chocolate—is baked until it’s beautifully deep brown, with a caramelized butter flavor and a distinct crispiness.
MILK; Los Angeles
The signature Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip at this cute ice cream parlor and bakeshop is a rich, molten mass of a cookie, made from three types of chocolate (cocoa powder in the cookie base, plus hand-chopped milk chocolate and bittersweet chunks). The ultra-chocolaty concoction runs on the small side, just 3 inches or so across, but each bite packs dense flavor.
Two Fat Cats; Portland, Maine
When this retro-style bakery says it makes everything from scratch, it’s not an exaggeration: The bakers even prepare their own brown sugar by adding fresh molasses to granulated white sugar. Their cookies—crisp on the edges, soft in the middle, with bittersweet chocolate chips—have a simple, back-to-basics look and taste.
Clear Flour Bread; Boston
Using copious hunks of Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate at her tiny Brookline, Mass., bakery, owner Christy Timon created a big, thick and chewy Chocolate Chunk cookie well-suited for dark-chocolate loving adults. “There’s a pretty powerful amount of chocolate packed in there,” she says. “They’re not really kid cookies.”
Tartes Fine Cakes and Pastries;
This pretty, tiny hidden gem in Old City has no seats inside—just a sliding takeout window where customers pick up jumbo, extra-thick chocolate-pecan cookies. They’re made with high-butterfat butter and Callebaut semisweet chocolate chips, and baked until golden brown for a result that’s crisp-chewy.
Zingerman’s; Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Funky Chunky Dark Chocolate cookies at this iconic delicatessen (which also operates Zingerman’s Bakehouse) have a rich, rounded flavor thanks to organic unrefined muscovado sugar from Mauritius. There’s nothing truly funky about these cookies, but the chunky comes from hunks of Callebaut semisweet chocolate and walnuts pieces, both of which contribute to a firm, dense cookie.
Jacques Torres; New York City
At his five New York locations (plus seasonal pop-ups), former Le Cirque pastry chef Jacques Torres puts an expert spin on the American classic, keeping his dough tender and crumbly by mixing cake and bread flours and refrigerating the dough for 24 hours before baking, which allows all of the flavors to meld. Filled with hefty bittersweet chocolate discs and garnished with sea salt, the oversize result is the platonic ideal of this sort of cookie: golden in color, chewy throughout, and slightly crisp at the edges.
Sugar Bakeshop; Charleston, S.C.
This quaint, ‘50s-style American bakery owned by two New York City expats makes small-batch chocolate chip cookies, chewy inside and crisp on the edges. Ingredients include organic flour, local eggs and Nestlé chocolate morsels.
See more of America’s best chocolate chip cookies.