The perfect oversized chocolate chip cookie, this recipe for Copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies is going to be your new go-to.
My very first ‘big girl’ job – other than working odd jobs for my dad and his work – was at Panera Bread. I was 16 and it was an eye opener into what the real world was like. My job included everything from register, to ‘barista’, to cleaning the dining room, to making the green tea and lemonade, to my all time favorite – making the famous chocolate chip cookies.
Have you ever had one of those cookies? They’re the size of your whole hand, deliciously crisp around the edges and perfectly just barely cooked in the middle. While a baker would come in each night and make the bread, bagels, and pastries fresh, it was up to the employees to bake the cookies throughout the day. On slow days, my manager would have us cut up the frozen discs into fourths and hand out the mini cookies to customers. We all would sneak handfuls off the trays throughout the day, probably not leaving many to hand out.
Since my days there, I almost always purchase a cookie each time I’m there, savoring my ideal chocolate chip cookie, and I’m forever on my own search to remake them.
Most recipes I post on this blog I make twice, maybe three times testing to get it right. For these Copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies, I’ve made this recipe well over 10 times trying to get it right. Adding things, taking them out, changing amount, doing research – it feels like my first ‘big girl’ blogger recipe.
This recipe makes a super soft dough, so I’m sorry to say you do need to let it chill. To make the perfect shape, scoop your dough into about 18 balls (these are going to be big cookies – mine we each 3 scoops with a cookie scoop smushed together) roll them out and them – this part is important! – press them down with the back if a measuring up until they’re about half of an inch thick. This allows for the perfect size and an even cookie. Refrigerate them until they are totally cold and firm before baking. You can also freeze them and use them individually, but you might need to add an extra minute to your bake time.
As for chips, traditionally the Panera Chocolate Chip Cookie only uses mini chocolate chips, but I like to mix it up a bit. My favorite combo has been one heaping cup of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips and one cup of 60% cocoa bittersweet chips (I like these from Ghiradelli since the size/shape is perfect.) But I also enjoy 3/4 cup minis, 1 cup milk chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup chunks – either semi-sweet or dark. Or you can simply use 2 cups of semi-sweet minis.
These cookies are the perfect cookie. Ooey gooey and dense in the center and perfectly crisp right around the edge. It’s the only cookie I adore both warm and cool, and to be honest, I might even love it more cooled. The edges dry out and crisp up even more and the center solidifies to create the most amazing almost chewy melt in your mouth cookie.
Make them big and take them out about a minute before you think they’re done. Leave them on the tray until they set up – they’ll continue to cook a little more but won’t over cook.
Copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks of butter + 5 Tablespoons, softened (I used salted)
1 1/4 cups of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature is best
1/2 teaspoons of salt (more if using unsalted butter)
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3 1/4 cups of flour, carefully measured so as not to pack it in
2 cups of chocolate chips (see above note for types and combinations)
- Cream the softened butter until light and fluffy. Add in sugar and beat 2 minutes on medium-high until super fluffy. Add in vanilla, combine, and then add in eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated each time.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl before slowly adding to your butter mixture.
- Once combined, fold in chocolate chips.
- If the dough is too soft, refrigerate for about 20 minutes before forming. Form into disks (see above photo) and freeze or refrigerate until solid, at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes on a non-stick pan. DO NOT over bake. Cookies will look underbaked. Allow to sit on tray for at least 5 minutes to continue baking and firm up. Enjoy!
These Copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies are going to rock your world – trust me. Get ready to fall in love with the most perfect chocolate chip cookie ever!
Okay, so tell me – what was your first job? What is your favorite bought food you’re dying to recreate? Let me know in the comments!
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