Everybody has a favorite, basic chocolate chip cookie recipe. If you don't, just look at the back of a bag of chocolate chips or check out Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies. The recipes are similar with some small variations. With a few tricks up your sleeve, though, you can take your next batch from hum drum to "I want some!" Start With the Best Stuff This is no time to cut corners. If you want the best-ever chocolate chip cookies, you have to begin with high-quality ingredients. Use name brand flour, sugar and other staples. If your carton of eggs is more than a few days old, run to the store for a fresh dozen. Bypass the margarine and shortening, no matter how buttery and rich it promises to taste. Go with only real, 100 percent natural butter. Invest in actual, authentic chocolate chips; the milk chocolate chips taste the best. If the bag says "chocolate flavored," just leave them on the shelf and keep looking. You must use honest-to-goodness vanilla extract, as well. Yes, it is a bit pricier than that imitation vanilla flavoring, but perfection doesn't come cheap. Once you have all of your fresh, top-of-the-line ingredients on hand, you can move on to the confidential category. Secret Ingredients When your BFF asks how you made such amazing cookies, you can let her in on some of your inside tips. If you want to be known as "Queen of the Killer Cookies," though, keep these surprise mix-ins strictly to yourself. You already know that you need to use real vanilla extract, but you can up the ante by doubling or even tripling the amount called for to kick the smooth, sweet flavor up a notch. Pulverize about 3/4 cup of oatmeal in your food processor until powdery like flour and toss it in with your dry ingredients. This easy extra adds just the right amount of chewiness. A teaspoon of pure lemon juice stirred in with the eggs will boost the flavors as well. Finally, ignore the recipe if it instructs you to soften the butter — melt it instead. Use a double boiler or melt it in the micro, but be vigilant to keep it from browning or burning. Of course, chocolate chips are no secret ingredient. There is a secret on how to use them, though. Use at least as many chips as your recipe calls for, but reserve about half of them when whipping up the cookie dough. Pour them into a bowl and set them in the fridge for the time being. Wait Before You Bake Even after you have all of the perfect ingredients perfectly blended, there are still some tips that will put your cookies over the top. When your dough is ready, pop it into the fridge and leave them there for at least 30 minutes. The chilled dough is easier to work with and provides more uniformly-shaped cookies. Prepare your cookie sheet and remove the chilled dough and reserved chips from the fridge. Use a small ice cream scoop or a measuring tablespoon to scoop out dough for each cookie so that they will all be the same size and bake up evenly. One by one, roll each blob of dough into a ball to produce perfectly round cookies. Dip one side of each ball into the bowl of chocolate chips and place the balls onto the cookie sheet about two inches apart from one another. The chips atop the cookies will give them that bakery-quality, crammed with chocolatey goodness appearance. Remove the baked goodies from the cookie sheet and allow them to cool on a rack. Rinse off the sheet in cool tap water to brush away crumbs and bring the pan's temp back down. Your cookies will win you rave reviews, but don't be surprised if you are volunteered to bring them to every event. Looking for a batch of great cookie recipes? Check out our collection of cookie recipe ideas! More Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes Have fun with these unique spins on traditional chocolate chip cookies: Pecan Double Chocolate Chip Cookies 5-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Double-Chocolate Chip Cookies Triple Chip Cookies Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free!) Featured Recipe: Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies What secret ingredient or method have you tried with your baking? Was it a win or a fail?