Everybody makes a chocolate chip cookie and I do mean everyone. They were the cupcake of desserts before cupcakes came along. Many a corporation has been built upon them--Mrs. Fields, Nestle, Famous Amos, etc. They have become as American as apple pie and fill up lunch bags, snack shops and kitchen cabinets everywhere. I won't say my obsession with them runs as deep as it does with a good red velvet cupcake or my search for the perfect burger but it's definitely up there. I don't like the processed bagged ones but the ones baked fresh at local bakeries or restaurants thus when I see one on a menu or in a shop I will give them a try. There are several places in San Francisco that do them well but one of my favorites is done by Cafe Madeleine.
The first thing I like about it is that it is big which is a bonus when I'm paying $1.75 for just a cookie. There are several places where the cookie isn't nearly as big and they want $2!! or more and they are not nearly as good. These are golden brown and slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside even for as large as they are. I learned somewhere that the best way to achieve this is by using lots of butter and refrigerating your dough before cooking, it allows the inside of the cookie to not cook as fast as the outside thus keeping the gooeyness we all love. They use semi-sweet chocolate chunks and they are a plenty so you can get chocolate in every bite which is important since it is a chocolate chip cookie after all. Though my pallet is not quite adept at telling I sometimes think there is just a hint of either cinnamon or possibly nutmeg in the dough which gives it a little kick of difference than other cookies but it is really just a whiff of a hint and doesn't distract from the flavor. Then again I might just be imagining it. Sometimes I do like my cookies with a bit more salty sweet and maybe this cookie could use a little more salt for my taste it still stands above the myriad of other cookies I've had in this town. Plus for myself, if I want, sometimes I will put a little bit of peanut butter on it and take it to a whole new level of goodness.
Fortunately for folks who live here or come to visit, Cafe Madeleine is a local company and they have three locations downtown that are easily accessible including just off Union Square. They also do a wide range of other cakes and pastries (and sandwiches and salads) but for my money always go with the cookie--so far all the ones I've had--and it's been a lot over the last few years--have been consistently scrumptious and worth every penny.