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To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the chocolate chips, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
Using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form approximately 14 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly.*
Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 11 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don’t overbake. Cookies firm up as they cool.
Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don’t use a rack.