I used to have horrible luck with chocolate chip cookie recipes. I'd find one in a cookbook, it would turn out great so I'd put a big star beside it, and then the next time I made it, it was a total flop. I mentioned this to someone at a party one time (yes, our party conversations get wild and crazy like that) and he told me the best cookie recipe is the Nestle Tollhouse recipe. Apparently the key is butter (not margarine), and a mixture of brown and white sugars. I also swear by parchment paper - it keeps the cookies from sticking and it also makes it a lot harder to burn the bottoms. I have adapted the recipe only slightly, but it turns out amazing every time!
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1 c. butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips (I prefer milk chocolate over semi-sweet)
Cream first 5 ingredients, and gradually add dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips (you can also add some nuts if you like) and combine well. Spoon onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (or stoneware if you have it) and bake at 375 F for 10-12 minutes.
I like to make one pan of cookies, and freeze the rest of the dough. Perfect cookies every time!