Okay, here goes: My favorite holiday cookie is a classic chocolate chip cookie.
Yes, chocolate chip cookies. A decidedly non-holiday cookie. But hear me out: As a baking blogger, one of my favorite things to do over the holidays is bake a batch of homemade cookies to give to friends and family as presents. Not only do I save some money with my holiday shopping, but my cookie boxes are also always a hit! People always appreciate the time and effort it takes to make baked goods from scratch — not to mention the fact that nothing beats the taste of fresh, homemade cookies, too.
- Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, the spices (if using), 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda together in a medium bowl.
- Place 1 stick melted or browned unsalted butter, 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until just combined. Add 1 large egg and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and beat until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl once more, and beat on low speed for 30 seconds more. Increase the speed to medium-low, add 8 ounces chocolate all at once, and beat until evenly distributed throughout, about 1 minute.
- Use a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop to portion the cookie dough into balls, placing them at least 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until the edges have set but the centers are still gooey, about 10 minutes. The cookies will look puffed when you pull them out of the oven, but will fall and crack into the perfect cookies as they cool. Immediately sprinkle with the flaky sea salt.
- Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the cookies cool until the edges and bottoms of the cookies have set and feel firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bake the remaining dough or freeze it to bake later. Serve the cookies warm or at room temperature.
Storage: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.