The main reason why I love cookies is because it is what made me fell in love with baking. Cookies were the first thing I ever baked, probably because they looked pretty simple to bake. However after baking them a couple of times I figured out things weren’t really as simple as they appear to be. All cookies are baked using 4 basic ingredients – flour, butter, sugar and eggs, everything else is added for flavor and texture. But baking them is not easy as it sounds, especially when you are looking for certain textures.
The most popular cookie in America has to be the Chocolate Chip Cookies and from my understanding everyone here loves a soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie. At first I did not understand the craze because I come from a country where cookies = crispiness. We never ate soft cookies and hence had no idea. In fact this year when I was in India for vacation I baked a batch of soft cookies and someone asked me, so these are not done right? you are going to bake them more and make it all crispy? I really didn’t know what to say, nobody understands a soft cookie in India!
But now I love crispy and soft cookies equally. Crispy for dipping in my tea and soft and chewy cookies as treats. It’s amazing how different baking time, sugar, flour, egg, everything has an effect on the final cookie texture. Well that’s why baking is so exciting 🙂 Let’s talk a bit about cookie science in making these soft and chewy chocolate chunk cookies.
What makes a cookie chewy and soft is the high moisture content in the cookie dough. I don’t think one ingredient can make a cookie soft and chewy, it is the interaction of a number of ingredients which gives a perfect texture to your cookies. Using brown sugar, extra egg yolk, cornstarch and oil all contribute to a soft cookie. How? Let’s see.
# Brown sugar is hygroscopic which means it absorbs moisture from air and ensures that cookies stay soft & chewy. So I used a higher ratio of brown sugar to white sugar in this recipe.
# Egg yolk helps to add moistness whereas egg whites dry out the cookies, so when you add an extra egg yolk you increase the moistness leading to a softer and denser cookie.
# One of the main ingredients for soft and puff cookies is cornstarch. It acts as a tenderizing ingredient and helps prevent gluten development.
# We all know that fat plays an important role in how your cookie will spread. I like using cold, room temperature butter for my cookies and also add 2 tablespoons of canola oil to it. Oil really kept these cookies soft for a longer time. What is cold, room temperature butter? If you press butter with your finger you should be able to make an impression/dent but it should still be firm to touch.
# Now we come to chilling the dough. If you are at a place where it’s really warm, it is a good idea to chill the dough for at least 2 hour or even overnight. Cookie dough which is chilled before baking holds it shapes and results in puffier cookies. I did not chill my dough because a) I had no time, I made these for an event at the last minute b) it was quite cold the day I made these so I thought they would hold well even without chilling.
If you are looking for thick puffy cookies, make sure that the dough is piled high on the baking sheet. Like you can place 1 tablespoon of dough on the baking sheet and then place another tablespoon of dough over it. Also do not bake them for a longer time if you want soft cookies, bake them anywhere between 9-11 minutes and take them out while center is still puffy. Let them cool down on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring them on to a wire rack to cool completely. I baked mine for 11 minutes.
I was able to get 24 cookies out of this dough, you might get more or less depending on how much dough you use per cookie.
* You can add more or less of chocolate chunk depending on taste and preference.
* Bake longer and skip the cornstarch for crispier cookies.
Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3/4 cup butter, [1.5 sticks] unsalted, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons canola oil
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract [i used pure]
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1.25 cups chocolate chunks
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a bowl sift together all purpose flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
- Beat together butter, oil and both the sugars until creamy.
- Add in the vanilla, egg, egg yolk and beat till well combined.
- Gradually beat in the flour mixture. [Add it in 3 parts and not dump it all in one go].
- Stir in the chocolate chunks.
- Chill the mixture for 1-2 hours. [I did not because I had no time]
- Drop heaping tall tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. You can push few chocolate chunk on top of cookie dough for presentation purpose but that's optional.
- Bake at 350 F degrees for 9-11 minutes, I baked mine for 11 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and let the cookies cool down in the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring them on to a wire rack to cool completely.