The perfect cookie is solely based on individual preference. No cookie is judged more closely and regularly than the chocolate chip. Everyone’s perfect chocolate chip cookie is different. Some folks are crisp cookie fans, and others are soft cookie fans.
In general, all chocolate chip cookie recipes are the same. They usually include flour, eggs, butter or oil, sugar, a leavening agent, and chocolate. However, the ratio of ingredients and the type of ingredients used can change the result of a chocolate chip cookie. Learn chocolate chip cookie science so you can create your perfect cookie! Using just a few alterations, you can turn a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe into your favorite kind of cookie!
• Use less butter relative to flour.
• If you do not reduce the butter, adding more flour to chocolate chip cookie dough will create a stiffer dough that spreads less in the oven. The cookie will be denser with a chewy middle.
• Consider using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour for a softer, thick cookie.
• Replace one teaspoon of baking soda with 2 to 3 teaspoons of baking powder. Replacing the baking soda with baking powder creates a soft, cakelike cookie.
• Increase the amount of liquid (add milk) to make the cookies spread more.
• Reduce the amount of moisture-holding ingredients, like flour.
• Using only white sugar produces a thin, crunchy cookie.
• Reduce the amount of moisture-holding ingredients, like flour. Lower moisture means crispier cookies. Fat (butter) also drives out moisture. When you reduce flour, the fat in the cookie dough will increase.
• Use melted butter in the cookie dough to help create a cookie that spreads.
• Bake the cookies for a longer time at a lower temperature so they will have the opportunity to spread, dry, and become crisp.
• Replace some white sugar with brown sugar.
• Firm the dough to prevent it from spreading too much while baking. To firm the dough, chill the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes.
• Make bigger cookies and bake them at a higher temperature for less time. Take them out of the oven once the edges have browned, but the centers are still pale.
5. More flavorful
• Cook (brown) the butter. Let it cool until solid before creaming with sugar.
• Include vanilla and salt. In a recipe that uses 2 1/4 cups of flour, add 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 3/4 – 1 teaspoon of salt.
• Chill the dough for 24 to 36 hours to bring out the caramelized flavor in the recipe.
• Use hand-chopped chunks, not chips.
• Sprinkle dough balls with flaky salt before baking.
The following cookie tips guarantee better cookies with every batch you bake.
1. Line a cookie sheet with a non-stick silicone mat or parchment paper.
2. Use room temperature ingredients unless otherwise noted in the recipe. This includes eggs, butter, and other dairy products.
3. Be sure the ingredients are fresh and of the finest quality. Inexpensive butter can contain up to 19 percent water, making it harder for the eggs and butter to emulsify and contribute to excess spreading.
4. Softened butter should be soft but still slightly cool to the touch. When you press it, your finger will make an indent. However, your finger will not sink into the butter nor slide.
5. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until it is light and fluffy (3 to 5 minutes). The mixture should not be grainy when you rub it between your fingertips.
6. Correctly measure the ingredients. Fluff or sift the flour. Spoon and level the flour or, better yet, weigh it. Measure liquids in a clear measuring cup. Pack the brown sugar.
7. Bake with large eggs. Adding eggs one at a time helps ensure that the eggs mix with the butter to emulsify the fat.
8. When adding in dry ingredients, be sure to mix until just combined. Do not overmix the cookie dough, or the cookies will be tough!
9. Folding cookie add-ins by hand reduces the chance of overmixing the dough. Reserve some add-ins and press them onto the outside of the cookie dough before baking.
10. If a recipe calls for chilling the cookie dough, do not skip this step! Chilling cookie dough hardens the fat, enhances flavor, and decreases overspreading.
11. A cookie scoop portions the dough in a uniform shape and size to ensure the cookies will evenly bake. Always leave at least two inches between each dough ball to allow them room to spread.
12. One way to ensure cookies always turn out perfectly baked is to set a timer for two minutes less than the recipe states. Keep an eye on the cookies to avoid overbaking.
13. Let the baking sheets cool to room temperature when baking cookies in batches. To cool a baking sheet quickly, run cool water over the bottom of the pan to cool it while keeping the top dry.
14. Once you pull the cookies out of the oven, let them set on the cookie sheet for 2 to 5 minutes. This allows them cool enough so that they will not break when you slide them onto a spatula to move to a cooling rack.
15. Cooling racks prevent cookies from getting soggy by allowing air to circulate evenly on all sides of the cookies.
You can make your cookies the way you like them by doing a few things differently. Now is the perfect time to start making cookies with confidence!
Written by Vicki Hayman, MS, University of Wyoming Extension Nutrition and Food Safety Educator