The Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment

It started on Pinterest. I saw a pin about making chewy chocolate chip cookies. Then another on soft chocolate chip cookies. There’s a difference? Yes. So, I thought, “What if I make the softest chewiest chocolate chip cookie ever?” And I thought some more. For about a week, I tried to talk myself out of it. I’ve cut back on meals out and other vices in order to shed a few unwanted pounds and I did not need to be thrown off track by chocolate chip cookies. But countless times a day, all I could think about were soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies. I had to make them.

So, I conducted a little experiment. I used every trick I found to make them. I turned it into yet another of my Frankenrecipes. It was a huge risk, of course, because this was baking, not cooking. And there is more science in baking than cooking. Before I tell you how they turned out, here’s an overview of the methodology.

First, I started with this honey chocolate chip cookie recipe from Saveur that substituted honey for brown sugar.

Second, I substituted (kind of) corn starch for the baking powder (actually, I still used some baking powder; more on that later). Dozens of pinners bragged of their soft corn starch cookies.

Third, based on tips from America’s Test Kitchen, I used melted butter instead of sotftened butter and started the cookie-making process the same way I start my banana nut bread.

soft_chocolate_chip_cookie

The results? I very soft, very round, very beautiful cookie that was not particularly chewy and a little bit too sweet for my taste and not really satisfying (Mr. Eats disagreed; he LOVED these cookies). Here’s the science:

  1. Using honey instead of brown sugar results in a sweeter dough. And, personally, I missed the brown sugar. I would not make this substitution again.
  2. Reducing the amount of baking powder results in a cookie that is reluctant to brown. The science of that is explained at Serious Eats. A pale cookie tastes fine, but you may have a tendency to overbake if you’re waiting for browning as an indicator. So, I used a ¼ teaspoon baking powder. It was not enough.
  3. Using corn starch instead of baking powder results in a fluffy dough. It was disarmingly fluffy. Off-putting. Like, how-is-this-gonna-be-a-cookie fluffy.
  4. Even after reading about the melted butter, I’m not sure what difference it makes. I do know that it’s easier than using softened butter since I rarely remember to set butter out to soften and I even more rarely properly soften butter in the microwave.

So, here’s the recipe (as baked and with notes and as a half-batch). Cooking as is will produce a fine cookie, but I think it could be better.

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
yield: 3-4 dozen cookies

Ingredients
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

¾ cup white sugar
1 ½  tablespoons honey (or ½ cup brown sugar, packed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 egg
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon corn starch (+½ teaspoon baking soda)
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to to 375º F.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, honey/brown sugar. Add vanilla, salt and egg and beat again.

3. In a separate small bowl, combine flour, baking soda/corn starch, and gradually add the dry ingredients until a dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Drop rounded 1-tablespoon portions of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (optional) about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes on the middle rack. Remove to cool on a wire rack. 

 

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3 Responses to The Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment

  1. Even though you didn’t love these cookies, they sound like they’d be totally up my alley. Want!

  2. jen says:

    so…..did u not find the “ultimate” soft and chewy cookie recipe cuz thats what i was hoping for

  3. They sure LOOK fantastic – but I wholeheartedly agree about the brown sugar versus honey piece. I love the taste of brown sugar as a sweetener and I think they have the ability to take cookies to whole other level of deliciousness!