Originally Posted by lilmissbakesalot
You aren't supposed to over cream the butter and sugar for cookies. Definitely mix them until combined and uniformly creamed, but you don't want to make them fluffy like you would when making a cake unless you are after a cakey cookie. I don't like cake-like cookies at all... they have a dry mouth feel for me.
You want to make sure that your butter is soft, but not soupy soft like gbbaker said and mix until there are no traces of butter left and you have a uniform mixture. Then add your eggs and vanilla and mix until combined and you have a nice uniform mixture but not a fluffy one... again you will get too much air in your cookies and they will be more cake-like. Add your dry ingredients and mix until almost combined and then toss in your chips and finish mixing.
That's what I do anyway and it makes for a really nice cookie.
Never wishing to contradict people's opinions as their opinions are very important to them, I will say that some may not quite understand that creaming is an essential to the science of baking...as a professional foods teacher for years, I must respectfully disagree with the above explanation of creaming. The basic science of food has not changed, even though we have new innovations in the commercial world of additives.
The creaming of the fat and sugar is what makes the bubbles for the cake or cookie to rise...the temperature of the fat is what is the key...thus, if you want a flat cookie, more butter is used (due to its melting point and also, its temperature when it is incorporated into the sugar). If one wishes to halt that spreading of this particular recipe, then the fat must be altered (that is why shortening is added or other fats). The sugar is what is cutting into that fat to make the bubbles...it takes a while to do that...not less time as purported... (and some sugars react different depending upon their size).
This was a forum on the Toll House Cookie that was around before most of us were born. I notice that some kept insisting that people change a recipe and add more leavening...it is important to remember that leaveners simply enlarge the air bubbles that already exist in the batter; they do NOT create more.
*A cake or cookie will rise when leaveners, such as baking soda and/or baking powder, are moistened from liquids and heated. They release carbon dioxide which is attracted to the air bubbles and expand or 'blow' them up like balloons. If not done the way it should be, the result will be a baked item that has not risen to its fullest capacity or potential... or one that will first rise really puffy in the oven and then fall, causing it to be flat. That occurs with this cookie recipe quite often.
It is baking science; sometimes people who watch cooking shows on the TV get that confused. There is a distinct difference. We do not see any pure "baking" shows because those in the know, are positive that they would be boring to the masses and those with short attention spans...they make "decorating food" shows...
Please understand that this confirmed information comes from several decades of successful baking and making every mistake in the book because I always thought, "I can do/make this better"... hope this helps when trying to bake new recipes. One can pretty much know that certain types of baked goods are successful when they are done in the science in which they were designed...
Sorry to go on about this, but since the food arts have not been incorporated into the curriculum for years now, most of us are learning by trial and error in the kitchen or by someone on YouTube. Hope that helps!