- Have your ingredients & especially butter at a cool room temperature (65 degrees F). At this temperature butter is most malleable and will create the most amount of air bubbles as its mixed. The more air in the dough, the more rise in the oven, and the fluffier and more delicious your cookie will be.
- Beat the butter & sugar together at a lower speed (about 2 minutes with a mixer paddle attachment). Add the sugar in slowly, this creaming process adds even more air bubbles (imagine the granular sugar making air bubbles in the butter), but don’t mix so long that your butter warms up.
- Use unsalted butter, it is generally fresher, takes out the question of how much salt to add to your dough (sometimes I add a bit extra salt, it adds amazing flavor to your cookies!) and has a lower water content which allows for more air bubbles, more fluffiness, yay!
- Don’t over-mix your dough, it will warm it up which means less fluffy cookies.
- Use good chocolate I generally use Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips.
- And here’s the real secret: refrigerate your dough for 24 hours! (or at least over-night if that’s as long as you can hold out).
- For the cookies with shortening, I would not recommend refrigerating at all. It brings out the shortening flavor, which isn’t great. And the shortening alone, makes the cookie pretty fluffy as it bakes.
- Peanut butter cookies often need 30-60 minutes in the fridge to thicken up in order to form for baking, but over-night didn’t do anything for the flavor. The peanut butter flavor is so present in these, not much other flavor needs to come out in them ;)
This NY Times article, talks about some of these techniques as well as where I first read about the refrigeration theory. The article actually recommends 36 hours, but seriously who can wait that long?