Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies
I’ve been on the quest to find the perfect end-all be-all chocolate chip cookie recipe.
And this recipe is as close as I’ve come.
The process of making the dough follows standard cookie-dough making protocol. Beat softened butter and cream it with both brown and granulated sugars. There is a higher ration of brown sugar to granulated, which helps cookies in general stay softer and gives them a richer flavor profile since brown sugar has more depth of flavor than granulated sugar does. Ironically, cookies made with more brown than granulated sugar become softer over time as they absorb atmospheric moisture, rather than drying out.
Beat in an egg, vanilla, and flour. I used two types of flour, both bread and all-purpose flour. The original recipe just calls for all-purpose but because bread flour adds extra chewiness and since my dream cookie is one with a high degree of chewiness, I utilized a combination of bread flour and all-purpose. If you don’t have bread flour, soley using all-purpose is fine. Your cookies may not be quite as chewy nor as thick, since bread flour also lends increased structure to baked goods, but they’ll still be plenty good.
Edited to Add May 2013: I have stopped using bread flour in these cookies and use only all-purpose flour. I find the cookies to be softer, more tender, and moister when only using all-purpose flour.
Where this recipe veers way off the path compared to any other cookie recipe I’ve ever tried is that it uses corn starch, and just two mere teaspoons, but enough to work its softening magic. Cornstarch is not only a softening agent, but it’s also a thickening agent. Just as it thickens gravy or soup, it helps to create thick and puffy cookies. There’s a wide variety of knockoff recipes for the Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies floating around that call for cornstarch, but I’ve never tried them and after making these, I don’t feel compelled to try.
There are also plenty of recipes for ‘pudding cookies’ that incorporate a box of pudding mix into cookie dough, promising super soft cookies as a result. One of the main ingredients in pudding mix is ‘modified food starch’, more than likely cornstarch. I like using pudding mix in banana bread because it creates the softest and most tender, moist, and luscious banana bread ever. Cake flour, a relative of corn starch in that it’s a high starch flour, creates incredibly incredibly soft and tender cakes and pastries. It seems like cornstarch is a magic bullet.
These cookies are so soft, similar to Keebler Soft-Batch Cookies, minus the store-bought taste. And they bake up with the perfect height; not too thick or overly domed and not too thin like flat pancakes.
I was going to make the cookies exclusively using semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I enjoy having a variety of textures and flavors in my cookies, especially when those textures and flavors are of the chocolate variety. I opted to use both semi-sweet chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate chunks, courtesy of a Trader Joe’s 72% Pound Plus bar.
I realized when I made the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies that incorporating over an ounce of chocolate per cookie not only works in theory and that the dough can hold it all, but that the results taste fabulous. So I went ahead and stuffed these cookies to the max with both chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. As the cookies bake, the chips retain their shape more than the chunks, which turn into oozing luxurious puddles.
I used about 2.25 ounces dough per cookie. I weighed each mound of dough, but if you don’t have a scale or don’t want to be bothered, that translates to two heaping tablespoons of dough, and with the chocolate pieces dangling off, possibly 3 tablespoons, still smaller than the New York Times cookies. I learned when I made those cookies that a larger mass of dough allows the cookie center to remain soft and tender since it never gets the chance to dry out or overbake while the edges crisp up.
I chilled the dough before baking it and always advocate doing so because as dough chills, the flavors marry and cold dough spreads less during baking, resulting in puffier and thicker cookies.
I recommend baking 8 to 9 minutes, and not more than ten minutes, period. I found given the size of my dough mounds, my oven, and my taste preferences, nine minutes is the magic number for me. Even though the centers will seem underdone at eight or nine minutes, as the cookies cool out of the oven, they firm up. If you wait to pull the cookies until they look done, as they cool they will set up far too firm and crumbly and won’t stay soft and chewy. Don’t overbake.
If you’re looking for an easy, straightforward, chocolate chip cookie recipe that yields fantastic results, I encourage you to give this one a try. The cookies are as close to my definition of The Perfect Cookie as I’ve come and here are the highlights why I love the recipe:
No specialty ingredients are used – if you don’t keep bread flour on hand, just use all-purpose
No need for hard to find or high-end expensive chocolate – if you don’t keep chocolate chunks on hand, just use chocolate chips, and feel free to add nuts, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, diced candy bar pieces or whatever you enjoy
No two-day waiting period between making the dough and baking the cookies – and dough chilling is optional
Unbaked cookie dough may be refrigerated for up to 5 days prior to baking it or frozen for up to 3 months
No egg plus yolk situation to contend with so nothing is wasted
The overall batch size is manageable, about two dozen
Each cookie is decent-sized, but not ginormous
The cookies get softer, not harder or drier, the next day and continue to stay soft for up to a week
The holy grail of cookie qualities are present – thick, puffy, soft, and chewy
And let’s not forget, there are two kinds of chocolate in every bite.
The more the merrier.
Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies
These are my favorite chocolate chip cookies. They’re soft, tender, moist, with pillowy centers and chewy edges. There’s a secret ingredient, which keeps them super soft and tender: cornstarch. I use two types of chocolate in them; chocolate chips and chocolate chunks, for extra depth and flavor. Feel free to make this dough in advance, refrigerate it, and bake it off up to 5 days later for fresh hot cookies exactly when you want them.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed (I use light)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour* (all-purpose flour may be substituted and used exclusively in place of bread flour)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
6 ounces (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces bittersweet or dark baking chocolate, chopped into bite-sized chunks (I use Trader Joe’s 72% Pound Plus bar)
*edited to add May 2013 – I prefer these cookies using exclusively all-purpose flour and have stopped baking them with a combination of all-purpose and bread flour. I am leaving the recipe up as I wrote it back in 2012, but note that I prefer all-purpose because the cookies are softer, more tender, and more moist.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 3 minutes.
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flours, corn starch, baking soda, salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
- Add the chocolate chips and chunks, and either fold in by hand or beat for a few seconds on low speed.
- Using a 2-ounce cookie scoop, form heaping mounds weighing 2 1/4-ounces each (weighed on a scale, which is approximately a scant 1/4-cup measure. Dough mounds will look large for their weight because there’s lots of chocolate pieces adding bulk). Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days.
- Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat, parchment, or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on the baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart; I bake 8 cookies per sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges, even if slightly undercooked in the center, noting the tops will not be browned and will be pale. Do not cook longer than ten minutes as cookies will darken and firm up as they cool (The cookies shown in the photos were baked for 8 minutes, rotated once midway through baking, and have chewy edges with soft pillowy centers).
- Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
Recipe adapted from Anna Olson of the Food Network Canada
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New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Jacques Torres) – I learned many valuable lessons when making these cookies, from loving bread flour in cookies to detesting cake flour in them; to baking cookies bigger to stuffing in extra chocolate. The cookies are very good, and I loved them on the first day, and I wrote extensively about my thoughts overall on them
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies – Based on principles from the Cooks Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip, but I also added peanut butter and oatmeal, creating a soft and moist cookie, with plenty of chewy texture. Because the cookies call for melted butter, no mixer is required and the higher ratio of brown to granulated sugar keeps them just as soft on day 4 as on day 1
Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies– These are likely my favorite cookies I have on my blog and are essentially the white chocolate chip version of the cookies above, and I love either version depending on my mood whether I want white or semi-sweet chocolate chips. Of all the cookie recipes on my site, people write to me the most frequently about these telling me they made them and really enjoyed them
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Skillet Cookie – This cookie combines three of my favorite cookies into one – chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal. The edges bake up crispy and chewy, and sweetened condensed milk is baked into the cookie, keeping the interior a literal hot, sweet, and gooey mess
Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies – I used chocolate three ways in these soft, chewy, moist and tender molasses cookies. All that chocolate pairs perfectly with robustly-flavored molasses and the intensity of spices used, making these a new holiday favorite
Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies – These cookies are much more than the sum of their simple parts and ingredients. I adore them and want try using the dough as a base for chocolate chip cookies. I’ve played around with it and used it as the base for another recipe coming up with great success, but not with chocolate chips. The beauty of these soft, extra chewy, and easy cookies is that the batch size is only 11, because I don’t need huge batch sizes laying around
Edited to Add – May 2013 Three Recipes that all use this cookie dough base (with all-purpose flour, no bread flour)
Have you ever tried the using cornstarch in cookies or are you tempted to try it?
What’s your favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies? Or any cookie that is an absolute favorite?
If you have a favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies, I’d love to hear why you love it so much and links are welcome. Or tell me about your cookie trials, tribulations, what’s worked and what hasn’t.
I still like the Cooks Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, and these cookies are the closest version I’ve blogged about.
However, the cornstarch cookies are softer, thicker, puffier, chewier, and overall they’re a very easy recipe to make. Some recipes you really have to think about and get very precise about, but with these, there’s nothing tricky about them and the results are fabulous.
Thanks for the Tiny Food Party Cookbook Giveaway entries for three winners