I prefer mine to be a little bit chewy, a little bit gooey, with a buttery-caramel undertone. I’d take spread over a too-thick, cakey dough. And I definitely think that the chocolate chips should be prominent.
Tessa from Handle the Heat made a fun guide to chocolate chip cookies. I’m sort of a test-kitchen nerd, so this is totally up my alley. I love that she makes a control batch (Nestle Tollhouse recipe) before she starts playing with variations.
Of course I also sort of love that it further validated my choice for best chocolate chip cookie recipe: the drop cookie from the ever-classic Joy of Cooking (result pictured above). Not to brag or anything but they did pretty darn well at a chocolate-chip-cookie bake off back in the day…
Two tricks I generally use? If the dough seems a bit tacky, I add a tablespoon of flour to reduce spread. And no matter what the recipe says, I check-in on cookies the moment I smell them; if they are starting to brown at all, I pull them out. But that’s with the caveat that I’d choose an underbaked- over an over baked-cookie any day.
[Top two photos my own; third via Handle the Heat]