Chocolate Chip Cookies at Their Best — Adapted From Sunset

Today’s cookies weren’t very attractive. I followed the recipe in the Sunset Cookies Step-by-Step book, but mine turned out darker and thinner than the cookies on the cover and just not very pretty.

Cookies At Their Best

I’m posting the recipe anyway because unattractiveness aside, these cookies are delicious. Also, I used the aforementioned brown sugar substitute (molasses mixed with granulated) instead of actual firmly packed brown sugar, so maybe that had something to do with it. I’ll be curious to see if your cookies look more like the sturdy and handsome cookies pictured on the front of the book. You can see a little bit of them in my photo or click here, to see a picture of the book cover. Good luck!

Cookies at Their Best

Update: Since posting this I’ve made the recipe a number of times and have found that using a heavier hand than I usually do with the flour (5 oz weight per cup rather than 4.5 oz per cup) gave me better results. Now my cookies look like the ones in the first photo.

Chocolate Chip Cookies at Their (Relatively Speaking) Best (from Sunset)

1/2 cup (4 oz) butter, softened (unsalted)
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (7 1/2 oz by weight)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup oats
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped, toasted, walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Beat butter, shortening and both sugars with an electric mixer until very lightly and fluffy – Sunset recommends up to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and lemon juice.

Stir flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon (if using), and oats together in a separate bowl. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture. When well combined, stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Use a scant ¼ cup of dough for each cookie. Drop dough onto cookie sheets, spacing about 3 inches between each cookie, and bake at 350 degrees F. for 16-18 minutes OR, for softer cookies, bake at 325 degrees F. for 17 to 19 minutes.

I always use the 350 degree temp.

Makes about 18 cookies

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  1. Janet says

    Oh my gosh, I have that book! I have not made those cc cookies…however, I did make the heart shaped linzer ones and they are the best. I’ll try your recipe for the cookies next week. I have a ton of cc’s to use. I am eating chocolate without a problem—Yeah! Thanks, Anna!

  2. christine says

    I used the same white sugar/molasses substitution the last time I made chocolate chip cookies (the alton brown chewy version) and had the same problem! They looked just like your cookies – but tasted fine.

  3. Megan says

    Hi–Not related to the cookies, but I’m hoping Anna will see this comment here. What do you recommend for a good chocolate frosting for a birthday cake–not too bitter and not too light–almost like the canned frosting in color and texture. It’s for a family party so it will need to appeal to kids and grownups. I figured you’d be the person to ask!

  4. says

    Hi Megan,

    Here’s a really basic one that tastes very good. I got it from Cooking With Amy. It goes with the stout cake recipe and calls for two tablespoons of stout beer, but you could just use milk.

    Chocolate Frosting

    8 oz unsalted butter, softened
    2/3 cups natural unsweetened cocoa – sifted
    2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, measured and sifted
    2 tablespoons Guinness Stout OR milk
    pinch or two of salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Stir together softened butter, cocoa and 2 cups of the sugar. Add Guinness (or milk) salt and vanilla and stir again. Using high speed of electrix mixer (I use the whipping attachment on my stand mixer), beat icing for a minute. Add the rest of the sugar, adding just until you think it’s the right consistency. Beat for a good 3-5 minutes, scraping side of bowl often, until light and fluffy. Ice the cake.

    Another one I like is an old one from Good Housekeeping. It starts with a rather odd mixture of cooked sugar, flour, cocoa and milk. It’s easy, but you have to get an early start because the cooked mixture needs to cool completely.

    Silky Chocolate Butter Frosting:

    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup all purpose flour
    3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
    1 cup milk
    1 cup butter (2 sticks, salted)
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1 cup bittersweet (Ghirardelli) chocolate chips, melted and cooled

    In a 2 quart saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour and cocoa until evenly combined. Add milk and whisk until smooth – don’t worry if there are a few lumps because they will smooth out as you cook. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Reduce heat to low, cook 2 minutes, stirring all the while. Remove saucepan from heat; cool completely. This should take 40 minutes to an hour.

    In a large mixing bowl, beat softened butter until creamy. Gradually beat in cooled milk mixture, vanilla and melted chocolate. Frost the cake.

  5. says

    I don’t think I could ever get sick of chocolate chip cookies. I have some homemade choc. chip cookie ice cream sandwiches in the freezer. I am obsessed with those babies. These look nice and crispy, perfect for freezing with a mound of carrot cake ice cream in the middle. yummy : )

  6. Megan says

    Thanks, Anna-The second one sounds like exactly what I’m looking for. You’re a lifesaver!

  7. Dana says

    Those look alot like the cookies I grew up with. Who says ugly can’t be tasty?
    I just made a batch of One-Bowl Chocolate Chunk Pecan Cookies from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey…which may well become my go-to recipe. They are so easy and SO good! If you haven’t tried them, they’re definately worth it!

  8. says

    This was my first ever cookbook! When I was little, my mom used to make me the black-and-white freezer cookies, and they were SO GOOD. Recently, I tried the peanut butter cookies (my favorite PB cookie recipe) and the English toffee bars, and both were excellent!

  9. MJP says

    Don’t fear! Those cookies look great. The Ivy Restaurant here in L.A .makes the best CC cookies around and they look like yours!

  10. Anonymous says

    I made these cookies (from the Sunset cookbook) years ago and loved them. Then recently I tried them again and had the same problem (flat, weird cookies). I increased the flour, quite a bit, to almost 4 cups (yikes!) and also added about 1/3 ground oatmeal, and they turned out really well. My advice would be to try 2-3 cups flour and see what you think, then try adding more if necessary.

  11. Joy M says

    Make sure you use fresh baking soda and the cookies will turn out better. Also try the cinnamon. I promise they are good with the cinnamon.

  12. Cindy J says

    Thank you for the recipe. I received this cookbook from my college roommate as a wedding present 20 years. My 13 year old daughter lost that page a few weeks ago and I have been looking for this recipe ever since. I have made some adjustments to the recipe myself.

    I combine the the shortening and butter amounts. My cookbook amounts are doubled compared to this so it is 1 c butter + 1/2 c shortening = 1 1/2 c. I put in 3/4 c regular shortening and 3/4 c butter flavored shortening. Butter makes crisp cookies; shortening makes chewy cookies. I like them chewy.

    I also double the amount of oats, bake a batch and then if needed add a little flour. The oats help stiffen the dough without drying them out.

    I also have recently learned that adding a cup of vanilla pudding helps cookies stay moist. I haven’t tried it with the recipe yet but now that I have the recipe again, I will.

    Do any of you who have the book have the recipe for the Peanut Butter Platters that was on the back of this page? (This is the only PB cookie recipe my husband will eat. He is pretty spoiled in his cookie-ness after 20 years.)


  13. becky says

    I have been making these delicious cookies for years! As a good cookie baker, these cookies have always frustrated me! This is the ONE recipe that I could never get to turn out right (just like yours in the picture. It’s a little comforting to know, it was not me, but the recipe after all. These are the best tasting cookies, though 🙂

  14. Becky Phillips says

    I found your cookie recipe on the web. WOW I have been making these cookies since it came out in Sunset Magazine in the ’70’s. The only thing I have changes in using chocolate chucks, instead of chips. Now I use coconut oil instead of shortening. NO ONE ever takes just one. I keep my recipe in a frame on the wall. Everyone should have this recipe.

  15. says

    Hi Becky! Thanks for the comment. I haven’t made this recipe in a while, but now I definitely want to make it again and perhaps with the coconut oil. I recently purchased a carton of the butter flavored type and am looking for ways to use it. Also, I’m guessing when they developed the recipe they used a heavier 1 1/2 cups of flour. I typically use 4.5 oz per cup therefore my flour had a weight of 6.8 oz. I’ll bet Sunset used a 5 oz cup of flour and used 7 1/2 oz weight of flour and that’s why theirs were thicker and nicer looking. Will try with more flour.

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