The Chewy Recipe: Chocolate Chip

June 26th, 2009 by katie

I will leave you for the weekend with a simple chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Although it’s not that simple because these were some of the best chocolate chip cookies we’ve had-declared by all to be “a keeper.”  It started out simply enough.  My kids wanted to make cookies and although I wanted to make cranberry, pistachio, white chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, they weren’t having it.  So we settled on the classic.  I have an old standby but decided to try a new recipe.  I turned to Bridget’s chocolate chip cookie comparison for advice.  Bridget is a much more seasoned (and brave!) baker than I and her site The Way the Cookie Crumbles is full of these comparisons-cakes, cookies, brownies, you name it!  Since I am too afraid of failure to experiment, and too ignorant of the nuances of baking to understand my results (other then tasty or less tasty), I rely on Bridget.  She said Alton Brown’s The Chewy was her favorite and so that’s what I made.

These really were fantastic chocolate chip cookies.  They were sweet and buttery with just enough chocolate and a hint of salt.  They had all the right textural layers, from crunchy to chewy to soft.  Luckily the recipe only makes about 18 large cookies.  They require slightly more work than my typical cookie recipe because the butter is melted before creaming it with the sugar and the dough needs to be chilled before you can actually make the cookies.  My kids couldn’t quite figure this out.  They kept asking where the cookies were and looking confused when I told them “in the refrigerator.”  Otherwise, it’s the pretty standard cookie process.

I did things a little different this time in that I actually followed the recipe which means I used unsalted butter and bread flour because I had them.  Normally I would have ignored these specifications and they probably would have been fine.  I really liked the hints of salt from the kosher salt so I would probably try to use unsalted butter again but the bread flour part-I can’t promise.

The Chewy

makes 18 large cookies, prep 10 min plus time to chill, cook 36 min, adapted from Alton Brown

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Melt butter, add to mixing bowl.
  2. In another bowl combine flour, salt and baking soda.
  3. Add sugars to mixing bowl with butter.  Cream butter and sugar on medium speed.
  4. While mixing on medium speed, add eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  5. Slowly add in flour until well incorporated.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Chill dough until firm enough to scoop. I originally chilled until the dough was cold, about 2 hours.  I have also chilled the dough just long enough to heat the oven, see update below.
  8. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  9. Grease your cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper. I used a Silpat so I can’t comment on which is better.
  10. Place cookies evenly on baking sheet, giving them room to spread.
  11. Bake each sheet 8-12 minutes or until golden and puffy.  The recipe says 14 minutes but my first tray was done at 12 and my second tray was done in 10 (smaller cookies were done in 8 minutes).  Although I slightly under bake my chocolate chip cookies so the centers are still a little gooey.

A few things you don’t want to hear: I think the texture of this cookie probably changes dramatically depending on both the size of the cookies and the amount of time you let the dough chill.  The warmer the dough the more the cookies will spread.  I chilled my dough until it was cold and used a large cookie scoop meaning my cookies were thick and didn’t spread as much.  The result being they were not nearly as chewy as they were melt-in-your mouth.  Next time I will try smaller cookies and try not chilling the dough so long just to see the difference.

Update: This time I made smaller cookies and only chilled the dough long enough for the oven to preheat. The cookies were thinner and definitely chewier.  The flavor was the same and I got about double the yield.  I didn’t have any trouble with the cookies spreading too much, so feel free to chill for a shorter period of time if you are having a cookie emergency.

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Posted in Desserts, Easy, Snacks/Appetizers

15 Responses

  1. Kaitlin

    these look delicious. strange question – do you think 2 TB of buttermilk would totally ruin this? i have to get rid of about half a carton before i start travel next monday, and would hate to throw it out, but don’t know if it would completely change this recipe. what do you think? bad experiment idea? 🙂

  2. Ann

    I’ve always wanted to make Alton’s stuff but never have since he’s so meticulous and knowledgeable about everything. Good to know he’s right!

  3. Steph

    I wonder how big of a difference the bread flour actually makes with the chewiness. It’s the reason I haven’t made these because it seems like an extra special ingredient. If you make these with all purpose flour, I can’t wait to hear your review!

  4. allen

    To quote from the actual show: (transcript from goodeatsfanpage.com)

    “The water from the melted butter will combine during agitation with the higher protein of the bread flour therefore producing gluten … which is chewy. Also, since bread flour can absorb much more liquid than all purpose flour, more moisture will stay in the cookie.”

    The chilling is there for the following reason (again quoting from the show):
    “Cold dough spreads slowly giving the cookie time to climb before setting.”

    I have personally made all three of these recipes (the chewy, the thin, and the puffy) and find the chewy to be one of the best cookies I have ever made.

  5. Margaret

    I always make my chocolate chip cookies with half unbleached and half whole wheat flour. I am a bit of a health nut but my kids actually like the texture with whole wheat added better.
    Jessica Seinfeld has a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with chick peas that are awesome. The cooked chick peas end up tasting like macadamia nuts.

  6. Bridget

    Interesting that you mention the bread flour issue – I just baked batches of these with all-purpose and with bread flour to compare them, and the bread flour really did make them a lot better. They were chewier, less greasy, and just overall had better structure. I’ll write up a blog entry on that, and some other things I tried, eventually.

  7. Joel

    “To quote from the actual show”

    So sayeth the Alton, so let it be done.

  8. Stacy

    These look so good (and very interesting that bread flour makes such a difference. You DO learn something new every day)!!! Of all of the fancy sweets in the world, good old fashion chocolate chip cookies are my favorite by far!

  9. moe

    you can make your soft and chewy just by adding a small package vanilla pudding to the dry mix before mixing everything together on regular cookie recipe, or if your cookies are to hard put in zip baggy with a slice of bread over night, they will be soft the next day, also works for hard store bought cookies.

  10. Kimberly @ How to Cook Blog

    I have tried this recipe years ago when it first aired from Alton Brown – these cookies rock – quite easy and worked so well! He rocks!!!

    Kimberly 🙂

  11. Martha

    I’ve had good success making chewy chocolate chip cookies with King Arthur all-purpose flour which has a higher protein content than most other AP flours. Chilling the dough which allows more time for liquid to get absorbed into the flour is key too.

  12. Jennifer

    I have made Alton Brown’s recipe for the chewy as well and have also received the best compliments on any baking i’ve done. I think that the key is the kosher salt. just the right amount!

  13. Tessa

    I made these too and I also noticed a difference in texture but didn’t realize then it was the chilling time that was the factor. I made 3 batches (I only had one cookie sheet!) and the ones that were made later definitely had a different texture, I see now from your observations it was probably because they were chilled longer.

    Anyways, I love your blog and your photos are gorgeous!

  14. Jeannette

    You can let the dough chill for 24 hours or longer. I usually do (and have let it go for up to 3 days even), making the dough on one day and then baking small batches throughout the coming days. It seems easier somehow to make a dozen here and there and then we always have fresh cookies!

  15. Leah

    Iv’ made these cookies twice and both times the cookies come out pretty flat.

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