Chewy chocolate chip cookies
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Chewy chocolate chip cookies

The secret to perfect thin and chewy cookies

Chewy chocolate chip cookies (Photo by Jessica Grann)
Chewy chocolate chip cookies (Photo by Jessica Grann)

This recipe was updated on Feb. 28 to include the addition of the eggs. That step was omitted originally.

This recipe feels like it’s been 25 years in the making. We all have our preferences for chocolate chip cookies. Some are thick and fluffy, while others are thin and crispy. I love a thin yet chewy chocolate chip cookie.

There are so many tips and tricks floating around, and I’ve tried every different egg, sugar and flour ratio out there. I’ve melted butter, made brown butter and even tried half butter and half shortening. The addition of cornstarch seems to be the trick to getting a chewy cookie.

Finding a recipe that turns out a consistently awesome result took so much longer than I imagined, but I finally have one to share. If your favorite version is thin and chewy like mine, my recipe will stay in your recipe box for life.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter (don’t use salted, even if you’re in a pinch)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 whole egg, plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon fleur de sel salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

I always advise baking with room-temperature dairy products and eggs. You can take the butter out of the fridge the night before and leave it on the counter, as long as your kitchen isn’t sweltering hot. I usually place the eggs on the counter an hour before I bake. If you’re in a pinch, you can fill a small bowl with hot tap water and add the whole eggs (in shell) to the water. After 7-8 minutes they will have warmed up enough to bake with. Room-temperature ingredients blend better in the mixer, which means superior results.

Measure the flour, baking soda and cornstarch into a medium-sized bowl, and whisk the ingredients for a few seconds to blend them well.

Place the butter in a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low for about 2 minutes before adding in the brown and white sugar. Mix for a minute on low, then turn the speed to medium and cream the mixture for 2-3 minutes. While mixing, add the egg, then 10 seconds later add the egg yolk. Mix to combine.

Turn the mixer speed back to low and add the flour mixture, one spoonful at a time. I use a large serving spoon, the same size that I would use to serve mashed potatoes.

Add 1 spoonful every 15 seconds. Spacing out the addition of the flour ensures that the cookie dough is well blended. It usually takes about a minute and a half to add all the flour.

After all the flour is added, turn the mixer speed back up to medium, and mix for 2-3 minutes. Turn the speed back to low and add 1 teaspoon of sea salt followed by 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and mix for an additional 30 seconds, until just combined.

Turn the mixer off, remove the bowl and mix in the chocolate chips (and optional nuts) by hand. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or put it into an airtight container to store.

This cookie dough is best when it rests in the refrigerator overnight, but if you’d like to bake the same day, refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 4 hours. Letting it sit overnight yields the best results.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator 1 hour before baking.

You don’t need to use a fancy cookie scoop, but it does make it easier to get more uniform results.
Otherwise, use a tablespoon (soup spoon) to scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. I like to scoop all of the dough into portions in the beginning and put the balls on a plate until it’s time for baking. You can make smaller or larger cookie sizes. I occasionally use an ice cream scoop to get very large cookies — simply adjust your baking time and make notes for next time.

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and place the wire rack in the center of the oven.

Space the cookie dough balls about 4 inches apart. I typically fit 9 balls on a large baking sheet. I have different baking sheets, and they all turn out different results. Baking time will depend on your oven and the type of cookie sheet you use.

Only bake one sheet of cookies at a time. I know this takes longer, but one tray at a time works best in a standard oven.

Start checking the cookies for doneness at 11 minutes. You don’t want them to be overdone. They can look soft and a little doughy on top — as long as the edges and bottom are not turning too dark and are just lightly brown and crispy looking. Baked goods keep baking after you remove them from the oven.

Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before using a spatula to remove the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Cool for an hour before storing. You can store these in a metal tin for a week — that is, if they last that long. Enjoy and bless your hands! PJC

Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.

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