You know you’re getting old(er) when trends start to reappear from your childhood. Like skinny jeans, legwarmers, and (gasp) shoulder pads. Some say you should only follow a trend once in your lifetime. Sometimes, however, a trend returns with such popularity that eventually you just have to embrace it. Like wide-leg jeans, leggings, and big sunglasses. I remember thinking I would be glad when the capri trend passed – that’s what my mother wore when she was young – and now they are a fixture in fashion.
As far as the cookie world goes, I’d say chocolate chip cookies are one trend that never went out of style. These are probably the most baked cookie by home bakers and bakeries, and everyone is looking for the perfect recipe for them. Everyone has their own opinion about how they should taste, though. Some like them thin and crunchy, some like them puffy and cakey, and some like them chewy. My preference is crispy on the outside and soft in the center.
I’ve tried a lot of chocolate chip cookie recipes, starting with Toll House when I first began baking. And until now, I just hadn’t found one that wowed me. But when I tried this recipe for Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from Cook’s Illustrated, I stopped looking.
These cookies turn out thick but not cakey, and slightly chewy in the middle but still soft. I like to use dark brown sugar in mine, to give them a deeper flavor and color, but I have made them with light brown and they are just as good. The technique for shaping these is just as important as the recipe to give them that ‘bakery look’. It seems a little weird at first, but once you get the hang of it, it gets to be kind of fun.
And I say, if you really dig a trend, you can find a way to make it work for you no matter what your age (or cookie preference).
Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Cooks Illustrated
To ensure a chewy texture, leave the cookies on the cookie sheet to cool. You can substitute white, milk chocolate, or peanut butter chips for the semi or bittersweet chips called for in the recipe. In addition to chips, you can flavor the dough with one cup of nuts, raisins, or shredded coconut.
makes 1 1/2 dozen 3-inch cookies
- 2 1/8 cups bleached all-purpose flour (about 10 1/2 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup brown sugar, light or dark (7 ounces)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 – 2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi or bittersweet)
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
- Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips.
- Form scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding each side of dough using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, push halves back together at their base, again forming a single cookie, without smoothing the uneven top. Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper lined cookie sheets, about nine per sheet. (Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month – shaped or not.)
- Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15-18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). (Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.