Chocolate chip cookies are an easy crowd-pleaser. There are so many different ways to make them. Some people prefer a thin and crunchy cookie and some prefer them to be more soft and chewy.
These cookies are soft and chewy but not big and fluffy. All of this depends on the ratios of the ingredients as well as things like melting or softening the butter.
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Most people add 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla to their chocolate chips cookies. You will find it in many recipes online and in recipe books.
The purpose of vanilla is simply to add or enhance the flavor of a recipe. Vanilla extract is not at all essential to the outcome of the recipe, in the same way as baking soda or flour.
Removing the vanilla from the recipe will not change the texture of the cookies. It will only change the flavor slightly and, to many, it will not be a very noticeable difference.
If you do not have vanilla extract at home and want to make chocolate chip cookies you can simply leave it out.
What Is An Extract?
Extracts contain oils of plants that are dissolved in alcohol and used to flavor foods. You can also find imitation or artificial extracts on the market which are often cheaper. These are extracts that use different ingredients but have a similar flavor than the real extract.
For example, imitation vanilla essence does not use vanilla beans but has a vanilla-like flavor. Vanilla beans can be quite expensive which is why some bakers or companies may use imitation vanilla.
Crazy enough, I recently discovered that the best and cheapest place to get Grade A, whole vanilla pods, is on Amazon. These are the best ones I’ve found.
You may also see vanilla flavoring on the shelf at the grocery store and this is usually a cheaper alternative that is made from a combination of both pure vanilla extract and imitation.
It is also possible to make your own extracts at home with vanilla beans or paste and vodka. Most people do not have this available but it can be great to have at home or even to make and give as a gift.
By the way, if you’re addicted to making cookies at home like me, I’ve recently been cooking my way through “The Perfect Cookie” that I found on Amazon and I’m completely obsessed.
Substitutes For Vanilla Extract
While this recipe simply leaves out the vanilla extract it is also possible to use substitutions. When looking for a substitute for vanilla in cookies or other baked goods you want to use something that will only add a subtle flavor.
- Maple syrup can be used to add extra flavor which, in small amounts, may add a similar flavor to the cookies.
- You can also use almond extract (I like this one by Watkins)but it does have a stronger flavor so keep that in mind when using as a substitute.
- Bourbon or brandy can also be used in baking for added flavor.
- Honey can also be used as a substitute for vanilla. This will give a slightly different and sweeter flavor. However, if you find cookies to be bland without vanilla then this may be a good option.
- Agave syrup is another option that would have a similar outcome as honey.
- You can also use spices to enhance the flavor such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice.
Feel free to check out this recent article we wrote about substituting vanilla extract in cookies for more inspiration!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix-ins
Chocolate chip cookies can be so versatile. You can add many different ingredients to change up this recipe.
You could try different extracts in place of the vanilla for a slightly different flavor or add ingredients that will give them a satisfying crunch.
Here are some chocolate chip cookie mix-in ideas:
- Candy pieces such as M&Ms
- Chocolate chunks
- Peanut butter chips
- White chocolate chips
- Nuts such as walnut or macadamia
- Other extracts (1-2 teaspoons)
- Almond extract
- Maple extract
- Mint extract
How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Vanilla
Step 1: Gather your ingredients and preheat your oven to 350 F.
Step 2: Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
Step 3: In a separate bowl add sugar and softened butter. Mix together with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes creamy and smooth.
Step 4: Add eggs, one at a time, to the butter mixture and blend thoroughly.
Step 5: Add dry ingredients gradually to the creamed butter mixture until dough forms.
Step 6: Mix chocolate chips into the dough.
Step 7: Use a cookie scooper or tablespoon to drop dough onto a cookie sheet.
Step 8: Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
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