Most people like to use self-rising flour. I never use self-rising flour as it tends to always make recipes different than what is expected with the finished product. Some people are fine with having less than perfect results but I am not one of them. Instead, go with an all-purpose flour and add your baking powder or baking soda or both if the recipe calls for it. This ensures that you have the correct of amount ingredients for the recipe.
Baking soda can also cause issues with the rising in the dough. Make sure you store your baking soda properly. Store it in a dry and cool place. After I open mine, I pour it into a plastic bag and keep it in the cabinet with the rest of my baking ingredients. This ensures that the humidity in the air does not cause it to go bad.
Butter, butter, butter! Never use margarine. Margarine and vegetable spreads have more oil in them and can cause your cookies to come out with a burnt bottom or will have an oily consistency and texture in the end. It usually leaves you with burnt bottoms and mushy tops. When making cookies from scratch, always use creamed butter aka stick butter. I personally like to use salted cream butter (stick butter in the grocery that is either salted or unsalted). Most recipes call for salt in them with unsalted butter but using the salted butter tends to make them taste superb with that extra added umph to them.
Salt can destroy your recipe if you add to much. Coarse sea salt is the best for baking as it is not so fine and powdery that you wind up with a really salty flavor. Coarse sea salt also helps during the baking process in the oven as the bigger pieces will melt in with the dough giving you an even flavor throughout.
Eggs are an arguable subject. Everyone knows that cage free brown eggs taste the best, right? Don't believe me cook one and compare it with your standard white egg. They have a richer flavor and a darker yellow color. Therefore, I love cage free brown eggs for everything that I have to use them with and chocolate chip cookies are no exception.
Sugar always has people on the fritz when they see light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, or granulated sugar. Light brown sugar and dark brown sugar are simply granulated white sugar with molasses added to it. Your taste preference will differ upon how much you like molasses. I do not care much for syrups so when a recipe calls for dark brown sugar, I will substitute the dark brown for light brown and double what the original amount was only for the brown sugar. This gives your cookies a carmelized flavor without the deep molasses undertones.
Vanilla extract is one of the few items you should really splurge for period. Imitation vanilla can give your baking a light vanilla flavor or nothing at all as where a true vanilla extract will really give you a vanilla flavor and has a very strong odor such as that while your baking, your house will smell like heaven. If you can purchase vanilla beans where you are and have vodka on hand, make some homemade and send me a bottle!
Chocolate chips are the main ingredient. You can't go wrong with whatever chocolate you find that you personally like. However, I use semi-sweet because the batter is always super sweet. The semi-sweet will not overpower the sweetness to where you are chugging a gallon of milk to quench your thirst. Dark chocolate chips are also a very good suggested chocolate because as said before, the batter is already really sweet.
Now try to bake your cookies and see how much you like them with these recommendations. If you don't like them, change what ingredients you want to your preferences. Though I do have to warn you that once you try these suggested tips, you won't bake any other way.