If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, the saying goes, but once in a while we get inspired and take a break from routine. So we whipped up a batch (ok, two!) of our best Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies—as well as a shortcut version made with our chocolate chip cookie mix—and had some fun. Here are the nine add-ins we’re totally obsessed with right now.
1. Orange zest. A hint of bright citrus adds a fresh burst to cookies and pairs especially well with dark chocolate chips. Use a microplane to zest an orange and sprinkle some into your batter (a little goes a long way).
2. Candy bars. Sorry not sorry! When it comes to baking, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing. Coarsely chop your favorite candy bars and add a handful into the batter. We’re especially fond of peanut butter cups because, you know, peanut butter and chocolate make everything better.
3. Dark chocolate or cocoa nibs. Milk chocolate might be the standard but we love to sub dark chocolate chips in our cookies, or at the very least, fold in a few chunks of chopped dark chocolate or cocoa nibs for an even richer chocolate flavor.
4. Toasted nuts or coconut. Toasting slivered almonds and pecans brings out a richer flavor, which tastes delightful in fresh cookies. We also love to stir intoasted coconut—shredded or shaved work great, just watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn—for a little tropical flair.
5. Liqueur. Try your hand at boozy baking by adding a splash of your favorite liqueur—we’re fond of Irish cream and coffee flavors.
6. Candied ginger. We find the hot, chewy bite of candied ginger to be irresistible in some of our favorite cookies, and chocolate chip is no exception.
7. Cereal or granola. This is great use for that last handful of cereal or granola at the bottom of the bag, and it also adds a nice crunch factor to just-out-of-the-oven cookies.
8. Nut butters. Peanut butter is a long-standing favorite in chocolate chip cookies, but we love the subtle richness of a big spoonful of almond and cashew butter too. And, yes, chocolate hazelnut spread is also perfectly acceptable!
9. Dried fruit. Cherry chocolate chip, anyone? If you’re looking for an especially sweet, chewy chocolate chip cookie, just throw in a small handful of your favorite dried fruit—from sour cherries to unsulfured apricots.