Meredith Tomason, Nestlé Toll House’s Master Baker, shares chocolate chip cookie secrets


What are the secrets to the best chocolate chip cookie recipes? Meredith Tomason, Nestlé Toll House’s Master Baker, shares some tips, tricks and recipes.

Creating the best chocolate chip cookie recipes might seem daunting. For Meredith Tomason, Nestlé Toll House’s Master Baker, her impressive resume showcases her pastry talents. As an expert in her field, she understands that home bakers might need a little extra guidance in the kitchen. With a little confidence, everyone can start exploring flavors beyond the traditional vanilla.

The Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip recipe is iconic. Who hasn’t flipped over a bag of those chocolate morsels and followed the directions to a bake a batch of cookie goodness? While that classic chocolate chip cookie recipe ingrained into the baking recipe world, that traditional recipe can evolve.

Just like savory cooking, world flavors are influencing desserts. From spicy ingredients to exotic flavors, the old-school, traditional recipes are getting a flavor infusion. While no one is saying that the traditional recipe is retired, these modern takes add a bit of excitement.

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Meredith Tomason. Since I am always looking to improve my baking skills, I had a few hot questions that could, hopefully, improve my chocolate chip cookie recipes.

In some ways, everyone has a preferred style of chocolate chip cookies. Some prefer chewy and others prefer a crunchier texture. I asked Tomason her preference.

"Personally speaking, I enjoy a chewy chocolate chip cookie with some crunch around the outside and with chocolate chunks rather than chips. Luckily for me, working with Nestlé® Toll House®, our iconic cookie recipe is known for this duel texture of chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I’ll leave the idea of a crunchy cookie for a Gingersnap or Florentine!"

Putting aside the texture preference, I have struggled with a consistent bake on my cookies. Sometimes they are too thin. Since I had a baking expert to ask, here’s the reason why cookies might be too thin. Tomason said:

"Thin cookies are usually a sign of butter that is too warm or overly whipped. The key to working with butter in chocolate chip cookies, or other cookie recipes that call for creaming together the butter and sugar, is that the butter needs to be warm enough to be whipped and mixed, but still be able to hold some shape and retain the air pockets that are created when the whipping occurs. Believe it or not, butter does play a role in cookie structure and shape! I do not recommend microwaving your butter, but rather leaving it out at room temperature for about 20-30 minute before you plan to make your cookies."

Since butter seems affect the end result, the type of butter should matter. Tomason said,

"For all baking, including cookies, cakes and other sweet treats, I only use unsalted butter. Salted butter varies in salinity depending on the brand, and can therefore be difficult to gauge. Also, most baking recipes are created with unsalted butter in mind, and many baking recipes call for salt in the recipe. Working with salted butter means you may run the risk of having overly salted sweet treats. No one wants that! Higher fat European butters are delicious when spread on toast, or used in icings, but the extra fat does not necessarily come through in taste or texture in cookies or other baked goods."

Coconut, Curry and Siracha Chocolate Chip Cookies photo Nestlé Toll House provided by

In honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, Tomason shared some recipes that push the flavor profile of chocolate chip cookies. One example is her Coconut Curry and Sriracha Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I was curious where she found this recipe inspiration. She said,

"The Nestlé® Toll House® team wanted to come up with a fun savory spin on the traditional Chocolate Chip Cookie, with a spicy Eastern inspiration. Curry and coconut both work quite well with chocolate on their own, as they are both strong enough flavors to stand up to and compliment the richness of chocolate. The Sriracha adds a kick of heat and another savory note to the cookie. Curry powders vary in terms of ingredients used, heat, and complexity. I would recommend using one with higher levels of ginger, cinnamon, and coriander, which will play nicely with the other ingredients in the cookie."

Just like a successful savory recipe, flavor balance is key. Tomason had these comments about flavor balance.

"One of the main reasons that I truly love my job is that I get to experiment with flavors and different combinations in baking. It is truly satisfying to me to find a great balance of flavor; it’s almost like solving a riddle. That being said, I recommend lots of experimentation when baking with new ingredients or flavors. Everyone is different and may enjoy different combinations or levels of heat or savory or floral notes, and some combinations make work better than others. Try different things and see what works best for you. The key is to take notes and to keep track of the different batches to make sure you don’t get confused, and also so that you can replicate it again when your guests come over and you want to “wow” them with your new creation."

Almond Flour Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, photo provided by Nestlé Toll House

In addition to flavor exploration, more people are looking for gluten free recipes. Tomason recommended a recipe using almond flour, almond flour dark chocolate chip cookie. In this recipe it uses dark chocolate chips. I was curious why she choose the dark chocolate for this recipe. She said:

"Almond flour is an excellent flour alternative in baking. Of course it has a nice lightly nutty flavor, but it does also have a natural sweetness. Most of the time when I use almond flour in cookies or cakes that involve chocolate, I pair it with a bittersweet or dark chocolate to balance and play off the sweetness of the almonds. These two flavors really pair nicely and in some ways help intensify and heighten each other’s flavor profiles."

After speaking with Meredith Tomason, I feel a little more confident going into my next baking attempt. Sometimes the journey is just as fulfilling as the end result. After all, you do get to eat all the chocolate chip cookies. Even if they aren’t Instagram perfect, those cookies will still taste delicious.

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