The secret ingredient you should be using in your chocolate chip cookies

Who doesn't love a freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie? Hand anybody a plate of these and they're going to go all Cookie Monster, om-nom-nom 'til the cookies are gone. So beloved are chocolate chip cookies that it's hard to believe they haven't been around forever, but they only date back to the 1930s when they were invented at a restaurant called the Toll House, which is why they are sometimes called Toll House cookies.

While the original recipe — the one printed on bags of Nestle chocolate chips — is just about perfect, still, there are always those who seek to improve upon perfection by adding or changing just one magic ingredient. Luckily for us, food blogger Tessa Arias at Handle the Heat took it upon herself to test the most popular ingredient tweaks to the classic Toll House recipe: replacing butter with shortening, substituting cake or bread flour for all-purpose flour, and adding cornstarch or an extra egg yolk.

Her verdict? The secret ingredient that made the very best chocolate chip cookies was the one also endorsed by celebrity chef Alton Brown: bread flour. Bread flour makes for the thickest, chewiest cookies, and Arias suggests you substitute at least half of the all-purpose flour for bread flour in your chocolate chip cookie recipe. If you don't use any all-purpose flour, though, you may need to adjust the proportions a bit — her recipe called for using 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of bread flour in place of 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Alton Brown's chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe also calls for using only bread flour, and he too promises that "extra chewiness" will be attained.

While the bread flour substitution will totally transform your chocolate chip cookies' texture, there are plenty of other preparation hacks you can use to make sure your cookies are sheer perfection. And if your platonic ideal of a cookie is one that will practically cover the entire plate, there's always bakery-style jumbo chocolate chip cookies to consider.