Erika’s Top Chef Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Sorry to interrupt the Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Chocolate Giveaway, but I needed to tell you about Erika from Top Chef’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies – the ones that were so good, a judge requested the recipe.

big chocolate chip cookies

Bravo put Erika’s recipe on their website and it’s written the way a normal person might scratch something down on a recipe card. She doesn’t put the size of the scoops, whether the butter is unsalted or salted, the weight of the flour, the temperature of the butter or how long to bake the cookies, but she was detailed enough to say “345” as the temperature, which is interesting. I baked the cookies at 345 and 350 and didn’t get much of a difference, but 345 makes the recipe unique so we’ll stick with it.

Oh, and remember that shot where she was kind of kneading the dough? Well, I think it was for cinematic appeal or else she was just trying to incorporate the chips into a huge amount of dough, but not really kneading it at all. I tried kneading some of the dough before baking and the dough that I’d handled roughly spread more. The best cookies were the ones that I mixed gently (as usual). I also got a much nicer looking cookie when I used dough with rough, raggedy edges as opposed to smooth.

cookie dough balls raggedy vs. smooth

Despite the butter mystery (I went with unsalted and increased the salt to ½ teaspoon because I knew it wouldn’t hurt), I think the cookies turned out like Erika’s or at least good enough that I’d definitely make this recipe again. Whatever ratios she used are on the money.

Here’s a link to Erika’s Chocolate Chunk Cookie Recipe on Top Chef. Below is the method I used for making the cookies.

Top Chef Inspired Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2 sticks Land O Lakes unsalted butter, cool room temp
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt ( I used ½)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 c AP flour (11.45 oz)
1 ½ c chocolate chips (Ghirardelli bittersweet chips)
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 345 degrees F.

In bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cool butter until it is creamy. Beat in the sugar and brown sugar and cream for about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add the vanilla and the eggs and beat just until eggs are incorporated, being careful not to beat a lot of air into the batter. I did this partially with the paddle and partially with my spatula scraper. With mixer still on low, add the salt and the baking soda and scrape bowl. Add the baking powder and stir until it’s mixed in, then add the flour gradually until it’s incorporated, being careful not to over beat. Stir in the chocolate and the walnuts.
Scoop the batter into raggedy balls using a quarter cup size measure. Make sure they’re rough and not smooth. To be safe, you can gently shape large balls, pull them in half, then put the raggedy split sides up (and old trick from Cooks Illustrated). Put them on a plate in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours.

Bake the dough. Preheat the oven to 345 degrees F.
Arrange 8 dough balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until cookies appear set. Let them cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack.

Makes 16-18 cookies

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  1. says

    Yum. I’ll be trying these. The little indiscretions are probably to protect her for giving the exact recipe. They look great.

  2. says

    oh yay — i’m sooooo happy you made these!!! i was hoping they would post her recipe on i will DEFINITELY be making these very, very soon!!! 🙂

  3. Holly says

    I’m so glad you found this recipe and posted it! After watching that episode of Just Desserts, I was thinking about how much I would love to try Erika’s cookie recipe – especially after they were requested by the guest judge. Thanks!

  4. Janice says

    I’m on the island. Does Fuzz still love monkeys? Anyhow, do you think it’s the altering the Tollhouse recipe with the addition of baking powder,less flour,fewer chips or bake temp that make for a substantially different cookie? When I first looked at the pic I thought it would be closer to Deryl Bear not Tollhouse. Mind I’m looking at thus on my phone ;-). I’d be baking these in a heartbeat but for lack of an oven. BTW those pumpkin brownies look awesome!

  5. C L says

    Definitely going to make a batch of Erika’s cookies. I am in charge of the “cookie booth” at the neighborhood Harvest Festival this year, and wasn’t going to make CCCs to give away, but these are beginning to change my mind. 😉

  6. says

    i don’t have the tollhouse in front of me but … i don’t see anything unique about this recipe. i thought the judge [who annoyed me] was just larding it on, IE, oh these cookies are so good i must have the recipe

  7. says

    TG, I think the baking powder did a little something here. Plus, the recipe has more flour to make the cookies sturdier. For some reason, I think a lot of this cookie’s success lies in the technique. That is, not over-creaming, making the cookies large (making them small would give a whole different, probably cakier texture) and definitely adding the walnuts.

  8. Tanis says

    I did make these. Very good, but all of the same flavors as a typical Tollhouse choc chip cookie, so they were not really unique except for their size. I don’t typically make them so large, so that was different, and the addition of wonderfully toasted walnuts was very nice. I had to cook mine for 17-18 minutes instead of 15 tho.

  9. says

    I made these last night too, following the recipe from bravo (which left a bit to be desired, directions-wise.) I followed the same basic technique that you did, including toasting the walnuts.
    They came out good and we enjoyed them, but I must say I still think it’s odd that the judges were so over the top in their praise. It made me wonder if the other contestant’s items were mainly really bad?

  10. Docksider says

    I’m making a second batch. First ones went too fast. These are better (IMHO) than some other chocolate chips because they are not too sweet and not too hard.
    I did not chill before cooking.

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