Yield
Makes 15 cookies

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Improving upon a classic is a tough task. Improving upon a classic cookie is even more challenging. A standard chocolate chip cookie recipe follows the same general formula for good reason! Why mess with perfection?

However, if pressed, I can name a few characteristics of a chocolate chip cookie that I'd emphasize or amplify. I like texture and crunch, but I still love the soft chewiness of the interior of a chocolate chip cookie. I like sweetness, but not a one-note sugary flavor. I like the caramelized, earthy flavor that brown sugar imparts, but not too much of it.

 

I've tinkered with the classic cookie template in every way you can imagine. I've added shredded coconut and toasted nuts and three kinds of chocolate. Sometimes I toss in cacao nibs, or malted milk powder, or even Grape-Nut cereal. Today's variation is one of my favorites, yet. It doesn't depart far enough from a typical chocolate chip cookie to merit new categorization, like becoming an oatmeal cookie or a "kitchen sink" cookie.

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Adding a bit of cornmeal, toffee bits, and flaky sea salt merely amplifies the best parts of a classic chocolate chip cookie while preserving its essence. Cornmeal adds a slight grit and texture to the batter. Toffee echoes, and repeats back, the earthy sweetness of brown sugar without adding too much extra sweetness. A sprinkling of flaky sea salt balances the sugar and gives the resulting cookies a certain je ne sais quoi.

Try this recipe, and I imagine it'll earn a place in your regular repertoire. It's simple and straightforward enough for kids (and those who prefer the classics), and interesting enough for more adventurous dessert lovers. And, the cookie dough is exceptionally good. So the baker who gets to swipe a few fingerfuls along the way (you) wins.

How to Make It

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt and mix. Add the eggs and beat until smooth.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cornmeal and beat until just mixed, scraping down the bowl as you go. Add the chocolate chips and toffee bits and beat until just combined.
Drop the batter by spoonfuls (I used a tablespoon cookie scoop) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Leave at least 2 inches between the cookies as they will spread a bit.
Sprinkle the top of each cookie with flaky sea salt (I like Maldon), and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Let cool on the sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

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