The DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies hold a special place in my heart, and now they hold a special place in the top 3 of my favorite choco chip cookie recipes!
The first time I had the famous DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies, I had no idea it was a thing. It was the year 2016, and the location was Rosemead, LA. I don’t remember anymore why I was in LA in the first place, but the fact that I remember my first stay at a DoubleTree Hotel because of their cookies speaks volumes about how much I liked them I think.
So there I was just finished with checking in, and alongside my room key, I was also handed this little brown paper bag. At the time, I was totally exhausted coming off my long haul flight. I was also pretty distracted with getting my luggage in order, so at the start I didn’t quite realize what that little bag contained. All I knew was that it was something warm in my hand, and that it was most probably some sort of welcome treat. Boy was I clueless!
When I got inside my room and dumped down all the other stuff I was holding, that was the only time I realized I was actually holding a hot cookie in a bag. Normally my SOP would be to break a small piece off, nibble on that, and leave the rest for the days to follow. But on this occasion, I didn’t even think twice about taking a big bite. Whether it was due to exhaustion or jet lag, I felt like I needed a little sugar rush after all the traveling.
And after that very first bite, I literally never forgot about these cookies.
Fast forward many years later, it was 2019 and I was scheduled for another trip to California. The moment I saw that we were staying one night at a DoubleTree Hotel, literally the first thing that ran through my mind was: OMG!!! DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies!!! (By the way, the rooms are nice at DoubleTree Hotels, so it’s not ALL about the cookies lol.) I didn’t realize that I had actually unconsciously seared the memory of the cookie I had in 2016 in my mind so vividly I got excited just by the thought of getting to eat it again.
Now that I’m sitting here writing this post, it suddenly hit me that these DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies have had quite an impact on me. I just didn’t fully understand it until now. No wonder it never occurred to make a copycat version. Among the chocolate chip cookies I’ve eaten and baked over the years, this cookie I had in 2016 still stirs up a different sort of fondness in me. I still get the echo of the feeling I had when I first tried it. And frankly, even if I remove the sentimental attachment I’ve formed with these cookies, I still can’t deny the fact that they are darn good.
The simplest explanation as to why the DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies are famous is because they are DELICIOUS. All these years, bakers have been trying to hack the recipe, but now they don’t need to, because DoubleTree Hilton so very generously released the recipe to the world. And I never would’ve known if not for Pepe Samson! (That’s why I sent him some hehe!)
The DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies are a classic chocolate chip cookie. They are just chubby enough to be rightfully chewy, but they aren’t pressured to be THICCC to be in trend. These cookies are the kind to ALWAYS be in trend. They are speckled with the always reliably good combo of chocolate chips and walnuts. The sweetness level of these cookies is the sort that just binds all the flavors of the cookie together, making them addictive rather than overwhelming. Dangerous is what these are!
Interestingly enough, I have a fun new memory in connection to these cookies. You see, when I made these, I sent a few pieces over to my grandma not knowing one of my younger cousins was also there at the time. I actually send my extended family a lot of the stuff I bake, rotating among the different households. This particular cousin has received quite a number of goodies from me throughout the years, but aside from the occasional thank you, he never really gives any specific comments. Not even when I send his family something that I personally felt was especially delicious.
But it was different this time. For the first time ever, he actually sent me a message just to say that the cookies I made were 10/10. He said that it tasted so good even though he ate it reheated; that it still tasted like eating a really delicious freshly baked cookie. (And then he kind of hinted that I should send some cookies to his house again lol.) I was honestly quite pleasantly surprised by the exchange. It’s the magic of this recipe you guys.
Although I took some liberties in my chocolate choices when I made this recipe (more on this in the Recipe Notes section below), I can’t take any credit for the praise because I simply baked the cookies from DoubleTree’s existing recipe. If for some reason you needed some sort of testimonial about whether this recipe is legit, I hope my story is enough proof that we’re all lucky enough to be in on this little secret recipe. It’s an excellent one.
And dare I say, with the tweaks I made, this great recipe managed to get even better?
While the process of making these cookies is pretty much the same as any other, the DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe is interesting in that it uses some ingredients you don’t normally see in a classic choco chipper. More specifically, lemon juice and rolled oats. I did some digging and apparently lemon juice can help amp up the chewiness factor of a choco chip cookie. The rolled oats serve the same purpose as well, and I’m all for that! I love a good crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside cookie!
We start as always by creaming together the softened butter and both types of sugar. You can easily do this by hand or with a mixer. Either way, make sure to properly cream everything until the resulting mixture is creamy and has a light brown hue.
I am currently using regular sugar instead of the finer caster sugar, so the sugar crystals look a lot bigger than what I’m used to after the creaming process. (Lol what a random thing to be fascinated by.)
The next step after that is adding in the eggs, all at once, alongside the vanilla and lemon juice. Yes we use a really small amount of lemon juice here, but what you need to remember is that we’re not looking to add a lemon taste to these cookies. We are after the chemical reaction between the lemon juice and the baking soda that we will add later on. This will help to improve the cookie texture.
So in this step, we are aiming to fluff up our dough. Beat the ingredients together until you get a light and fluffy mixture like this:
Now we can fold in the dry ingredients, plus a touch of cinnamon for some extra flavor. I also don’t often see cinnamon being added to choco chip cookie recipes. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally as you mix so that everything gets incorporated properly.
At this point, we don’t want to overmix the dough. All of this is to maintain good texture, so stop mixing once everything looks fairly combined but you still see some streaks of flour there. We’ll be mixing in more things anyway. It will all come together, you’ll see.
Now that we’ve got our dough base down, it’s time for the final add-on’s. After baking so many chocolate chip cookies, I have determined that this is one of the rare times the term “stick to one” should be thrown out the window. These days, when people ask me what chocolate they should use for their choco chip cookies, I encourage them to use a mixture of chocolate chips and chopped regular chocolate.
With the chips, you get that solid chocolate you can bite into. With the chocolate, you get that Instagrammable chocolate melt in the center of your cookies when you break it in half. There is nothing wrong with getting the best of both worlds in your chocolate chip cookie.
DoubleTree specifies the use of Nestle Toll House Semisweet Chocolate Chips in their recipe, but since this isn’t very accessible here in the Philippines, I just used some good old Hershey’s semisweet. I have managed to source the Toll House choco chips in the past, but they are only available in HUGE packs online. For the chocolate part, well you guys all know I’m an advocate of Auro Chocolate, so I used their 64% chocolate coins here. I didn’t chop them so that I could get bigger pockets of oozing chocolate.
The ratio between choco chip and chocolate is up to you, but a good rule of thumb is to use half and half. At the time I baked this batch, I used about 1-1/2 cups of chips and chocolate coins for the rest. Another thing to keep in mind is that using good quality chocolate will always yield tastier cookies. Of course, you gave to use good quality walnuts too! Toast them before adding them in! Mix the add-on’s just until distributed, and no more.
This recipe requires no refrigeration so you can go straight to portioning them onto your baking sheet. I used a regular ice cream scoop for this. It’s equivalent to a little less than 3 tablespoons per scoop. Space them 2 inches away from each other to give them room to spread. I like to sprinkle some sea salt on top of my cookies before popping them into the oven. DoubleTree doesn’t do this, but you can if you like. They will be delicious either way.
These are baked at a lower temperature than normal, 300°F (150°C), for 20+ minutes. Oddly enough, most cookies are baked at a higher temperature so they don’t spread too much before they set around the edges, but these don’t spread to a flat disk despite not being refrigerated.
The biggest advantage I noticed with these cookies being baked at a lower temperature is that they spread out more evenly. I feel like the lower temperature actually stops these cookies from spreading too fast and too much rather than the opposite. Even the chocolates and walnuts spread out nicely throughout the cookie.
You’ll want to take the cookies out once the edges look golden brown and are set. The centers will still be soft. I like to cool them inside the pan for about 15 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer to a rack to cool completely. They will set nicely as they cool down. You can eat them warm, like the way DoubleTree likes to serve them.
And just so I can show you the effect of using a combo of chocolate chunks and chips, here’s a photo of the cross section of one of the DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies I made:
You’ll notice there are whole bits of chocolate chips inside, but at the same time you get pockets of oozing chocolate as well. It’s like a lovely surprise as you bite into the cookie, adding to the overall eating experience. You get some crunch from the walnuts, a bit of a bite from the chocolate chips, but you also get a really nice smooth mouthfeel from the melty chocolate. Boy am I glad I won’t have to fly all the way to America just to get to eat these again!
DoubleTree Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2¼ cups flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Good pinch of cinnamon
- 2-2/3 cups chocolate chips/chunks of choice*
- 1¾ cups chopped toasted walnuts
- Sea salt, to top (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line baking sheets with parchment.
- In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. (About 2 minutes on medium speed if using a stand mixer.) Add eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice, then beat until light and fluffy. (Another 2 minutes on medium speed using a mixer.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, then use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients in until just combined. Some streaks of flour on the dough is okay at this point. Do not overmix. Add in the chocolate chips/chunks and the walnuts, then fold just until distributed into the dough.
- Portion dough using a scoop equivalent to about 3 tablespoons, then drop onto baking sheets, spacing at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until edges are golden brown but center is still soft. (Sprinkle with sea salt before or after baking, if you like. DoubleTree does not add sea salt on top of their cookies.)
- Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for about 15 minutes**, then move to cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat until all dough has been used up. You can also freeze the portioned rounds of cookie dough. There's no need to thaw them before baking. Just place them on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake a little longer.
**DoubleTree cools their cookies in the pan, but I prefer the wire rack. Do what you think is best. Adapted from Doubletree by Hilton Newsroom
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