The Ultimate Thick Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie: Your Quest for Perfection Ends Here with this Recipe

The cookie above left is smooth, while the other had the jagged-edge technique.

What can be more satisfying than finding what you were seeking for years? The perfect chocolate chip cookie can be elusive, despite its simplicity and iconic status.

I found that the traditional Toll House Cookie recipe (on the back of the chocolate chip package of the same name) yields serviceable cookies but did not produce the thicker, chewy toothsome variety, which I prefer.  I am not even considering the time my mother used baking powder instead of baking soda in the Toll House  recipe she made – under duress, for a school bake sale – resulting in rock-hard disks, which may have been over-baked, as well.   (To avoid being accused of being an ungrateful son, just past Mother’s Day, my mother frequently has told this story, without my prompting….)

Over the years, I occasionally would discover a bakery or home baker who created the ideal cookie:  one that has a minimally crisp circumference, contrasted by a soft, chewy pliable interior, yet filled with more-than-enough chocolate chips and the nutty counterpart of pecans or walnuts.  The nut-component truly is optional, but I will dare to take a stand and declare that I am 100% pro-nut.   However, I never did find a recipe to produce the ideal treat.  I even bought a cookbook nearly 25 years ago – and still have it – entitled enticingly, The Search for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. This book promised to reveal the paragon of chocolate-chip-iness, yet none had the exact texture I craved.  Many of the award-winning recipes are good, and there were some interesting variants on the classic…just not “The One”.

Crisp perimeter with a satisfyingly chewy thick interior

Five years ago, I purchased The New Best Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen (AFK).  One of the first recipes I tried was the “thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie”.  Finally, I was able to attain my long-desired state of chocolate- chip nirvana at home.

The ATK recipe is precise and scientifically tested.  ATK tested the various permutations of this genre and found the very best combination.  As with some of their recipes, not every pain-staking step is absolutely necessary (see below).  This cookie achieves its texture from melted butter (as opposed to creamed room-temperature in most recipes), more brown sugar than white (two-to-one), and an extra egg yolk.  Careful attention to baking time is vital, i.e., a slightly underbaked cookie is actually done, while one looking “done” is probably over-baked.

I have two comments about the ATK recipe.  First, I used dark-brown sugar for more depth of taste; light-brown sugar is an option, but it would be a paler and a bit less flavourful – so, why use it?   Second, the “jagged-edge” technique is good for appearance and not terribly time-consuming; nonetheless, it can be skipped with no loss in the cookie’s interior texture – see the first photo for the difference in the smooth dough ball (top) and the jagged-edge variety for contrast in appearance.  I think this technique is more a subjective matter for the cookie’s appearance.

Prior to separating into two jagged pieces to form a ball

You need not seek perfection any longer.  To make your chocolate-chip cookie dreams come true, give the ATK recipe a try.  It is the ultimate in this most important of dessert genres.

Whether in the 1950s or today, this is a perfect afternoon snack.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
From The New Best Recipe (America’s Test Kitchen)

Makes about 18-24 large cookies.

These oversized cookies are chewy and thick, like many of the chocolate chip cookies sold in gourmet shops and cookie stores. They rely on melted butter and an extra egg yolk to keep their texture soft. These cookies are best served warm from the oven but will retain their texture even when cooled. To ensure the proper texture, cool the cookies on the baking sheet. Oversized baking sheets allow you to get all the dough into the oven at one time. If you’re using smaller baking sheets, put fewer cookies on each sheet and bake them in batches.

Ingredients

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks, or 6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm

1 cup packed (7 ounces) light- or dark-brown sugar (NB: dark-brown is better!)

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 – 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (NB:  I used a scant two cups – why skimp on the defining characteristic of these cookies, I say – “more is more” in this case…)

1 cups of chopped pecans (NB:  I use pieces from a bag of halves and just manually break the few big pieces)

Plenty of chocolate chips mix into a soft wet dough.

Directions

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray  or use a non-stick silicon mat, e.g., Silpat.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll a  golf-ball size of the dough into a ball (or use a two-tablespoon ice cream scoop), for standard-sized cookies, or use a scant 1/4 cup amount of dough for larger cookies. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy (and look a little bit wet in the middle), 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a spatula.

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34 responses to “The Ultimate Thick Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie: Your Quest for Perfection Ends Here with this Recipe

  1. Hi, Thank you for sharing this recipe. I would really love to try this, because hubby is a chocolate chip cookie-holic.

  2. Chocolate chip cookies are always irresistible!

  3. Guys who can cook are charming! I’m impressed :=) Your cookies look so good!

  4. Dan, I love these cookies, and Cooks Illustrated! Great post.
    Theresa

  5. The Tollhouse cookies recipe on those packages weren’t meant to be chewy cookies. I used to have the same problem as you since I also prefer chewy cookies. Melted butter does the trick or more brown sugar vs. white sugar.

    Anyway, I since I can’t find an email link on your site, I’ll just leave the message here.

    I’ve been warned by Denise, auther of the blog “Quickies On The Dinner Table” about a virus threat on some members of Foodbuzz. Here’s her message:

    “Hey – don’t go to Kristi Rimkus’ blog – there’s an active threat onher site. I and Biren from roti n rice got warnings when we went there this evening.

    Don’t know if you know but a few people have already lost their blogs because someone is maliciously and randomly planting viruses on blogs. Silvia Gregori from Citron et Vanille is one of the victims.

    I’m running a complete PC scan right now and will not be returning to FB until I get a reply from them about this situation – I emailed them about it a few minutes ago. Tell all your blogger friends please, so people won’t continue to lose their blogs. Write to FB too if you can – so they will have to do something about this and stop the son of a b***ch who is doing this. “

    • Hi, KM. Thanks for the warning and your email, which I’ll leave up for others, for now. I suggest people be diligent about whatever firewall and browser they use. Dan

  6. That’s exactly what I look for in a choc chip cookies – thick & chewy. Thanks for sharing the ultimate recipe with us :)

    • Hi, Emily. Thank you and you’r welcome. Maybe I should do a poll, but it seems there are far more chewy-cookie lovers than those who like the Tollhouse original. Dan

  7. Dan was kind enough to bring over these wonderful cookies and a pick axe. Didn’t have to use the pick axe, cookies as he said…so good. My favourite combo.
    The pick axe…a loan for use on our common rocky isle.

    • Hi, Kip. Thanks for the real-life validation – and for the loan of the pick axe, too! I like the cookie’s texture, not that different from the look of the rocky conglomerate of our shores here (OK, the cookies are chewier!). Dan

  8. Hey Dan, these photos depict how you describe the cookie, which I appreciate. I also like the food composition. I’m still working on food composition and styling-it frustrates me a bit.
    By the way, it does seem that America’s Test Kitchen has some seriously tried & true recipes. I watch the show sometimes and have used the recipes.
    By the way, the problem that the Kitchen Masochist Girl/Lady is speaking of is real and is spreading quickly. Be Careful!

  9. so glad you made these. i’m in dire need of a great chocolate chip recipe that is moist and chewy!

    • Hi, Krissy. Thanks for stopping by again – try this recipe and let me know what you think. I literally have stopped experimenting with all other CC cookie recipes (OK, there’s that NYTimes one I think I might try some day…). Dan

  10. Chocolate chip cookies are the best! :)

  11. My favorite chewy cookies recipe! I’ve made this many times and it is well loved by my family (so much that the baker usually end up with one cookie only ^ ^). I used to have a problem with uncooked middle part of the cookies, so I made the center area of the dough a bit flatter and it solved the problem. Thank you very much for sharing!! :)

    • Hi, Irene. I appreciate your comment and technique advice. The flat middle sounds like a good solution to the uncooked issue. I agree that is simply a great recipe.

      Thanks very much,

      Dan

  12. Really delicious cookie, Dan! I used a fresh whole vanilla bean and hazelnuts as substitutions and they both worked really well. I also didn’t realize the butter was meant to be melted and creamed the butter with the sugar instead. I still experienced amazing results. Thanks for giving me my new go-to CC cookie recipe!

  13. I just made these… Uhhh-mazing! Just like you, I have been in search of the ultimate thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie and this, my friend, is it! Thanks so much for the recipe!

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  22. I have the cookbook this recipe came in. Its amazing! Best chocolate chip cookie recipe out there. These will not deflate while they’re cooling like all the others I have tried. I used a little bit more salt and half light brown sugar and half dark brown sugar. Did not use nuts because my kids hate them. I also prefer chocolate chunks over chocolate chips. AMAZING!!!

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