One of the staples in the baking industry is making cookies. Yet there’s a whole lot of chemistry when you decide to make cookies.
Even if you collect the best recipe and follow it to the dot, due to subtle differences in ingredients, process timings, and just the temperature of your kitchen, you can turn out to have an entirely different result than mine.
Universally agreed upon, there are two types of textures of cookies; crunchy and chewy. If you want to learn how to make cookies chewy, then we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started.
What Makes a Cookie Chewy?
It’s all about the moisture content. The key difference between a crunchy and a chewy cookie is the moisture that hits your tongue when you take that first bite, making it soft and chewy rather than brittle and crunchy.
So the obvious trick here is incorporating the techniques that hold on to the moisture starting from the ingredient list, to the batter mixture, and lastly, to the finished results coming out of the oven.
The Ingredients Makes All the Difference
The subtle difference in the quality of the ingredients makes the desired change in the cookies coming out of the ovens. After all, it’s nothing but baking science. Thus the recommended list of ingredients are as followed:
Brown Sugar over White
The primary sweetener in any baking recipes, brown sugar contains a lot of moisture than its white counterpart. However, overusing the brown sugar can lead to flatter cookies. The sugar evaporates, letting the cookies spread more. And the edges become thin, thus burn faster and turn crispier.
Moreover, the sweet spot is the proper ratio of mathematics. Even though most of the recipes mention white sugar, the trick is to incorporate brown sugar with 70:30 ration with the white.
If the recipes require two cups of sugar, keeping 1 and a half cup brown white, the half-cup white sugar helps to retain the moisture better. Brown sugar also gives a caramelized effect to your cookies, which is an absolute win-win.
Butter over Any Shortening
Many people find it surprising since the grease from shortening is supposed to keep your cookies moist and soft, but we are here to debunk the myth. Shortening also spreads your cookies, making it flatter and thus, crunchier.
Pure butter, on the other hand, has more moisture content than any shortenings and makes your cookies rich, moist and flavourful while never flattening it out. It is made of 80% fat and 20% of water.
The water helps with making the cookies comparatively chewer than if you had used shortening, which is 100% of fat—the magic of science.
Chose Your Flours Carefully
When choosing your flours, the thing to look out for is gluten. Gluten usually forms most often in all-purpose flour, and unfortunately, most recipes mention it. Gluten leads to tougher and stronger cookies. None of that ‘melt in your mouth’ business, which is a disappointment.
The trick here is using a 1:1 portion of cake flour and all-purpose flour. Cake flour contains considerably less amount of gluten, resulting in soft and tender cookies.
A pro tip is incorporating cornstarch into the recipe. Corn starch helps to keep the gluten from fully developing. For every cup of the flour mixture, half a teaspoon of starch does the trick.
Double the Yolks
It’s common knowledge that the egg yolks contain more moisture than the egg whites. Thus, using two yolks instead of one whole egg for the recipe will help your cookies with the extra moisture content. Beating them well will give a proper rise when they are done.
Add in Molasses/Honey
For that extra mile, add in the molasses. If you don’t like the taste molasses, fret not; honey will do the same trick. Apart from being a natural antioxidant, molasses or honey further sweetens and makes your cookies extra chewy.
How to Make Cookies Chewy | Tips for You to Follow
The techniques you use to bake, as well as the utensils you are using, make a great difference in the cookie chemistry. Thus, a few tricks are listed to perfect your baking skills to get the perfect cookies out of your oven.
Use the Right Measuring Systems
It must seem very obvious, but seriously, even if you’re baking cookies for the hundred times, never eyeball it. Check out different recipes, don’t just stick to one, and make sure to utilize your elementary math to have perfect ingredient ratios. Stick to the system the recipe recommends; imperial or metric.
Conversion of one system to another has human errors, which can cause a major issue in the cookie chemistry. Use the measuring tools for liquid and dry ingredients separately. A dry measuring cup can never be as accurate as a liquid measuring cup.
Rest the Dough
It is not the most necessary trick, but certainly the most fruitful. Resting your dough in the fridge overnight does wonders for the chemistry of the cookie. This helps to evaporate the contents of the water, and increase the sugar content, making it chewy and flavourful. The resting also ensures even baking of the cookies.
One of the crucial steps in baking cookies is how long you would bake them. Obviously, over baking here is a big red flag. Not only will it evaporate all the moisture stripping away from the cookie, but it will also make it brittle and dry instead of making its chewy.
However, you cannot underbake either, as the cookie recipes incorporate a lot of eggs and underbaking would leave them raw, which is not only unpleasant but also unsafe according to the FDA health regularities.
So what’s the sweet middle spot? Usually, for an egg to cook fully, the oven must reach 160 F in the oven, which is relatively easy to reach in a hot oven. Then we move on the duration. Look at what the recipe requires. If it asks to bake for 10 minutes, check at the eighth minute.
Usually, the edges of the cookies bake faster, but it’s the center of the cookies you should concentrate on. If it’s dull, the batter is still raw, and if you take it out then, it would most likely fall apart since it’s mostly raw flour, butter, and eggs. If the center is shiny, it means the cookie is now cooked and safe to take out of the oven.
Another pro tip is intentionally lowering the temperature when baking. Most recipes ask for 350-degree Fahrenheit as the optimal temperature but lowering it to 325 degrees and baking it for a longer time helps it retain the moisture.
Consider Cookie Sheets
One mistake most people make is thinking cookie sheets and baking sheets are the same: they are not. Baking sheets have grease onto them, which burns the edges and ends of the cookies much faster compared to the middle section, leaving it raw and not done.
Cookie sheets are typically low rise and lighter in color. Make sure not to use it for anything else except baking cookies keep the cookie sheet in its optimum state. Another tip in ensuring even baking could be the usage of the parchment papers.
According to a recent survey, 65% of Americans prefer chewy cookies over crunchy ones.
Yet as we all can agree, even the littlest mistake can result in dry, non-chewy cookies. But like all things amazing, baking chewy cookies requires multiple trials and errors. It’s all a learning process till you get that perfect recipe and the perfect techniques to make all of our favorite types of cookies!
Nevertheless, I hope you have managed to learn how to make cookies chewy from our guide. Good luck.