March 8, 2013

Flat & chewy dark chocolate chip cookies

I never get tired of making cookies.  They're just easy, and the gratification is practically instant because it happens every step of the way for me - from the prepping and mixing, to baking, to eating and sharing.  And when snow is falling outside and the sight of Spring seems far, far away, why not get in the kitchen and bake some cookies.  

When you think of cookies, there's always the American icon: the chocolate chip cookie. There are countless variations and you probably have your favorite already but I think there's always cause to try another recipe if only for an excuse to sample more chocolate chip cookies!
My favorite kind of chocolate chip cookie is soft and chewy, preferably fresh from the oven and cooled just enough to handle but still warm and soft in the center, with a bit of crispness at the edges.  I like a little bit of nuts thrown in for texture and taste but I often make plain ones since my 7-year old appears to be a purist.  Sometimes we compromise by adding oatmeal.

Last summer, I tried a thin and chewy chocolate chip cookie by making Pioneer Woman's malted milk chocolate cookies.  They were seriously delicious, exceeding my expectations, and so perfect for ice cream sandwiches.  This cookie recipe here is very similar to that.  It is likewise thin (or flat), soft, and wonderfully chewy.  But instead of milk chocolate, it's pure dark chocolate this time.

I could have tweaked that malted milk chocolate cookie recipe by omitting the malt and swapping out the chocolate but I wanted to try the recipe in The Perfect Finish by White House executive pastry chef, Bill Yosses.  This book grabbed by attention in part because it's co-written with Melissa Clark of the New York Times and because I've still got the White House gingerbread house on my mind since hearing about it during Christmas!  
Next time someone asks me what kind of chocolate chip cookie I like, I'll have to add these flat, soft, and chewy kind to my list because they are quickly becoming a favorite.  I love how the cookie dough puffs up while baking and settles down as it cools to create a slightly crisp, caramelized edge surrounding the soft and chewy center.  This type of cookie also keeps very well and I don't feel the need to microwave/warm them up before eating straight from the cookie jar.

I had to make ice cream sandwiches with these cookies (hey, we can pretend it's warm outside!) because this type of flat, soft cookie is just excellent for it.  I love how the cookies stay soft - and so easy to eat - even after freezing.

I think this cookie dough would be great with some chopped toasted nuts added in or some ground up oatmeal in place of some of the flour for a little added texture.  No matter how you shake it up, just make sure you use some to make ice cream sandwiches!

The recipe you see below is for half the original.  With this half recipe, you can make 28 cookies.  I use a small ice cream scoop.

For these flat cookies, I like to use chopped chocolate rather than chocolate chips for more chocolate distribution since the chopped chocolate melts and spreads as opposed to chocolate chips, which retain their shape.  I went with 60% cacao chocolate.  And call me crazy but I actually used a little less chocolate than the recipe calls for!  Instead of 7 ounces, I went with about six, which is a good cup and enough, in my opinion.
The recipe is very similar to the Pioneer Woman's version.  The biggest difference is we're using bittersweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate and to take that into account, this recipe calls for a bit more sugar.  And when it comes to the sugar, it relies heavily on brown sugar for the moisture and soft chew. 

I pulled mine out of the oven right around the 8-minute mark, when the edges are just browned and the center still looks wet.  Bake it a few extra minutes and you'll end up with a crisper cookie (not what I want).  As the cookies cool, the center sets but remains soft while the edges are browned and deliciously caramelized.
I freeze a handful of the cookie dough scoops and stock it away so I can bake up some fresh ones at a later time.  Even though these can keep for up to a week in an airtight container, fresh cookies are always a good thing.  By the time you read this, the excess supply is long gone...


Flat and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The Perfect Finish by White House executive pastry chef, Bill Yosses  (The following is half the original recipe)

- Approximately 28 cookies -

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60-66% cacao recommended), coarsely chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (you could use 1 cup of chocolate chips but I prefer chopped)
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional; if you use it, I recommend toasting first)

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add egg and mix to incorporate.  Scrape the bowl, as necessary.  Mix in the vanilla.

On low speed, add flour mixture gradually until just combined.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate and walnuts (if using).  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Set oven racks to the top and bottom thirds of the oven.

Scoop cookie dough using a small ice cream scoop or into rounded tablespoon balls, placing the cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart (I make 8 per cookie sheet).  Bake the cookies, rotating the position of the pans halfway through the baking time, until the edges are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.  (To make sure my cookies are soft, I pull them out when the center is still wet but the edges are brown, after about 8 minutes, as they will continue to firm up when cooling.)

Remove from the oven and let cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the pans before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

You can store the cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.  You can also freeze unbaked cookie dough rounds for up to a month.

- Please don't forget to grab a few of these cookies and make ice cream sandwiches!  Just add a scoop of your favorite flavor ice cream on top of one cookie before gently pressing another cookie on top.  Then wrap your creation in plastic wrap and pop it in the freezer for a bit so the ice cream sets up again.  Right before you're ready to dig in, unwrap and let the ice cream sandwich sit a few minutes at room temperature.



  1. Monica, these look beautiful! I was thinking as soon as i saw that they were chewy that they would make perfect ice cream sandwiches...and i scroll down and THERE THEY ARE! I love chewy cookies for those b/c they just don't have as big a dryout/crumble factor as the crispy counterparts; they just blend right into the ice cream and stay put. Love these.

  2. Thanks, Shannon! Maybe I'm just weird but I find it amazing that these little cookies are so nice and chewy that they practically look sticky when I pull them apart. I wish I understood the science behind all this better.

    And you totally nailed it on the sandwich factor!! I didn't discover the magic of these thin cookies for ice cream sandwiches til last summer. I love that they're relatively contained and don't make a huge mess when you eat 'em (I have a 7 year old!). I have so much to learn but it's so cool to pick up these little things!!

  3. Your ice cream sandwiches are truly picture perfect!

  4. These are SO perfect for ice cream sandwiches, you're right! Man, now i"m totally craving one. I much prefer chewy cookies to crisp ones.

  5. Soft cookies are just a total comfort. These look amazing!

  6. I'm so glad to be among you soft/chewy chocolate chip cookie and ice cream sandwich lovers! : )

    Elizabeth, I visited your site and the Nutella cookies had me drooling! I LOVE Nutella...wanted to leave a comment but I can't because I'm not using the browsers required! I think I need to technology upgrade but I'm clueless on that stuff!

  7. Hi Monica! I love eating cookies and whenever I bake cookies, I tend to over-indulge myself! So hard to control especially when they come out of the oven and so warm and soft... I seriously cannot stop eating. I could be baking a lot more if I don't a chubby gene. ;) I'd love to live next door hoping that you could stop by for a cookie every time you bake... :)

  8. Haha - I doubt you have any sort of "chubby gene" to worry about, Nami! You are so right about warm chocolate chip cookies being irresistible fresh out of the oven. And I'd LOVE to have you as a neighbor!! I would be bugging you about Japanese cuisine non-stop! : )

  9. This is my perfect cookie dream. Have to make these right away!

  10. I hope you make them, Dorie. I have to say these kinds of thin, chewy choc chip cookies are pretty darn good. I love that they keep well too and stay moist and chewy for a few days. : )

  11. hey! thank you for the recipe,
    i've made this twice and family and friends LOVE THEM!
    was wondering about something
    in your recipe it says use small ice cream scoop (which is 2 TSP) OR roll into 1 TBSP
    which is correct?

    1. That's great to hear. You can essentially make the cookies any size you like...a small ice cream scoop that scoops 1 1/2 tbsp is my favorite size for small but rolling them into just about 1 tbsp or so is just fine. You can make any size, just leaving space for the cookies to spread and just watch for doneness.



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