“For so many of us, chocolate-chip cookies are the cookies we grew up with,” says Dorie Greenspan, baking expert and renowned cookbook author. “One bite, no matter whether it’s a great or average cookie, brings back childhood and good memories.”

Few things can challenge the taste of nostalgia, but why settle for something "average" at this point? If we live in a culture where “chocolate-chip cookies are just about built into our American cultural DNA,” according to Greenspan, shouldn't we hold them to a higher standard? To turn out chippers that are worthy of your recollections, you’re going to have to rely on your own instincts, your pantry, and your oven.

And Dorie, of course. 

The baking whiz—whose next book is aptly titled Dorie’s Cookies—has a few tips of her own to help resolve your home-cooking frustrations and set you on track for impressive cookie specimens. These might be cookies that are crisp, or ones that are chewy; they might be big, or small, or cake-y kind of cookies. But they must be sweet, salty, and chocolate-y all at once, says Greenspan. "With a good chocolate-chip cookie, every bite is different. I love that element of surprise."

Here is the complete guide to making chocolate-chip cookies at home.