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What's With the "Chewy Cookie" Thing?

sandylc Jan 2, 2012 06:10 PM

There are numerous threads here regarding how to make chewy cookies, especially chocolate chip ones. America's Test Kitchen has devoted lots of ink and video time to the creation of chewy cookies. I have always preferred lovely, CRISP cookies over soft or chewy ones. It's beginning to look as though I am the only one to cherish and seek out brown, crisp, caramelized sweets. Any thoughts? Even better, does anyone out there share this preference with me?

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  1. mwerkharder Jan 2, 2012 08:09 PM

    Yeah, Sandy. I never got the soft cookie thing either. I mean, cookies are supposed to be crispy! Otherwise, it's kinda like a thin cake.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mwerkharder
      babette feasts Jan 2, 2012 09:36 PM

      Cake shouldn't be chewy, it should be fluffy.


    2. greygarious Jan 2, 2012 09:20 PM

      I prefer the thin, crisp ones too. An added plus is that melted butter is one good way to achieve them, and usually means everything can be mixed in one bowl with nothing more than a wooden spoon. I melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, or a metal blow over boiling water. By the time I stir in the sugar and vanilla or other extract, the butter has cooled enough not to cook the egg, which I crack directly into the mixture before stirring briskly. Then I dump the flour and other smooth dry ingredients atop the egg mixture, stir again, and fold in the chunky stuff at the end. Line your pan with parchment and you have almost no clean-up.

      I learned in Cookwise that a tbsp of corn syrup improves crispness too.

      1. c
        CanadaGirl Jan 2, 2012 09:24 PM

        I like both, with preferences for individual cookies. But I dont like cakey cookies at all.

        1 Reply
        1. re: CanadaGirl
          Island Jan 5, 2012 05:38 PM

          I'm with you CanadaGirl, both depending on the cookie or my mood, but never cakey. Hate cakey brownies and bars too.

        2. Terrie H. Jan 2, 2012 09:26 PM

          When it comes to chocolate chip cookies, I prefer the buttery, brown sugary, thin and crispy style. Thinking each cookie has it's own personality, so some are better soft and some are better thin and crispy.

          1. m
            mushroomaffairs Jan 2, 2012 09:52 PM

            I prefer soft and chewy cookies. This past holiday I made two kinds of cookies, chocolate chip and vegetable cookies (don't laugh) that had pumpkin, carrot, prunes and zucchini. My chocolate chip cookies turned out thick *and* crunchy but softened overnight while my vegetable cookies came out really soft and stayed really soft to almost being mushy.

            I brought them to a couple of parties and I don't think anyone really liked them, lol. It's kind of funny and a little embarassing to see an entire table full of desserts get demolished but yours. My cookies remained after the apocalypse.

            1. Ditdah Jan 3, 2012 09:54 AM

              I prefer the chewy cookies (assuming we're talking about standards like chocolate chip or oatmeal rasin.) Second choice is the thin and crispy variety, and WAY below that are the soft, cakey style.

              I liked Alton Brown's show on the different styles from a number of years ago (called "Three Chips for Sister Marsha" or something similar.) It explained the ways to adjust cookie recipes in order to get the texture you prefer.

              1. s
                Steve Jan 3, 2012 10:29 AM

                Right out of the oven, only slightly cooled, all cookies are soft and chewy. It's a sign of freshness.

                Soft and chewy is pretty much the only thing that will make me swoon, though a combination of chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside works too.

                I don't care for those permanently soft boxed cookies which taste like they are made with Downy Cookie Softener.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Steve
                  goodhealthgourmet Jan 3, 2012 12:28 PM

                  though a combination of chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside works too.
                  that's my holy grail for the chocolate chip cookie and its kin - crisp edges & surface with a slight chew to the interior. heaven.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    sbp Jan 3, 2012 01:21 PM

                    Bingo. Crispy AND chewy.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                      livetocook Jan 4, 2012 07:10 AM

                      Yup that's mine too. YUM!!!!

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        mattstolz Jan 4, 2012 12:32 PM

                        And THIS is why I will stop in Levain every time I am in NYC.

                        multiple times.

                        1. re: mattstolz
                          goodhealthgourmet Jan 5, 2012 08:51 AM

                          sigh. i'll never know the joy of a Levain cookie because i didn't find out about them until *after* my celiac diagnosis. make an extra stop for me next time!

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            mattstolz Jan 5, 2012 06:27 PM

                            based on my food loves, i am obviously NOT celiac (knock on wood hard for that one! sorry ghg...) but i can only imagine that it would totally be worth whatever consequences in order to experience these cookies at least ONCE.

                      2. re: Steve
                        sandylc Jan 4, 2012 12:50 PM

                        Love the Downy Cookie Softener remark. Can you say grocery store cookies?

                      3. viperlush Jan 3, 2012 10:48 AM

                        I don't discriminate when it comes to cookies. But I do want my chewy cookies chewy, my crispy cookies crisp, and cakey cookies cakey.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: viperlush
                          sandylc Jan 3, 2012 10:55 AM

                          That sounds like something I would think! But it begs this question: "Which cookies, to you, are supposed to be chewy?"

                          I LOVE LOVE LOVE me some crisp and delicious chocolate chip cookies, for example.

                          1. re: sandylc
                            viperlush Jan 3, 2012 11:14 AM

                            Oatmeal raisin should be chewy
                            Snickerdoodles and sugar cookies should be crispy
                            Black and whites should be cakey

                            Chocolate chip should be warm out of the oven.

                            1. re: viperlush
                              hotoynoodle Jan 3, 2012 12:00 PM

                              i cannot abide black and white cookies. they are imposter cakes with a stingy amount of frosting.

                              sables and sugar cookies, as well as any kind of spice-driven treat, like ginger or cinnamon, should be crisp. also lemon cookies.

                              peanut butter and oatmeal should be chewy.

                              unless somebody uses really good chocolate (supermarket chips totally suck now), i don't even want the cookie. if it IS good stuff, then i'm ok either way.

                              slightly OT, but i also don't like "molten" cakes. they are just half-baked batter and always taste of egg. yuk.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                viperlush Jan 3, 2012 12:10 PM

                                <i cannot abide black and white cookies. they are imposter cakes with a stingy amount of frosting.>

                                I love black and whites because I prefer cake to cookies so I see them as a nice comprimise. I am not a big fan of frosting and prefer the icing on a black and white.

                                And I agree with you on the molten cakes. And I would add that flourless cakes feel undercooked.

                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                  sandylc Jan 3, 2012 12:31 PM

                                  Oh, those "molten" cakes really need to be put out of my misery! Gross! Unbaked warm cake batter - often for a premium price!!!

                          2. i
                            Isolda Jan 3, 2012 12:02 PM

                            You're not alone, but we may be in the minority. I always overbake my cookies a bit out of fear of chewiness, and my family always asks for the chewy kind. But to me, crunch is what it's all about.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Isolda
                              sandylc Jan 3, 2012 12:31 PM

                              Yeah! One more for the cookie sanity and tastiness team!

                            2. s
                              sueatmo Jan 3, 2012 12:10 PM

                              I don't generally want moist cookies, but that is how commercial bakeries bake theirs. I wonder if it is because they use HFCS, which might have an effect on moistness? I attribute a desire for homemade chewy or moist cookies to the influence of some commercial cookies on the general taste. I like a chewy oatmeal cookie, and a tender Mexican Wedding cookie, and a fudgy or cakey brownie, but almost others I expect to be crisper rather than moist. Also, homemade cookies have gotten bigger than they used to be. And possibly sweeter.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: sueatmo
                                goodhealthgourmet Jan 3, 2012 12:33 PM

                                I wonder if it is because they use HFCS, which might have an effect on moistness?
                                yup. HFCS is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts and holds water molecules...so it acts as a humectant, retaining moisture in baked goods. sugar is hygroscopic as well, but to a lesser extent than HFCS.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                  sandylc Jan 3, 2012 12:46 PM

                                  There is the perception by some that soft = fresh. I remember that my Dad used to go to the store and squeeze the Wonder Bread, then say in an awed voice, "Fresh!" The mass producers of grocery store cookies many be capitalizing on that perception by artificially softening up their cookies so that they will be perceived as fresh for a longer period of time.

                                  This is, of course, a different angle from great home bakers who just prefer their own lovely baked goods to be soft or chewy.

                                2. re: sueatmo
                                  sandylc Jan 3, 2012 12:33 PM

                                  I like my oatmeal cookies light and crisp! As for cookies being sweeter, how true! I generally reduce the sugar in homestyle cookie recipes by about 25%.

                                3. chowser Jan 3, 2012 12:32 PM

                                  There is crisp because there's a lot of butter and I like that. There's crisp because they're overcooked and I won't eat those. I like viperlush's list of what should and shouldn't be crisp, chewy and cakey. I generally don't like cakey but do like a good whoopie pie.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: chowser
                                    sueatmo Jan 3, 2012 12:53 PM

                                    Nope, I don't want dried out crisp either. That's not a good cookie.

                                    1. re: sueatmo
                                      EWSflash Jan 3, 2012 06:10 PM

                                      It is sometimes.

                                      1. re: EWSflash
                                        chowser Jan 4, 2012 04:14 AM

                                        Overbaked cookies? Or something like biscotti? The latter can be wonderful, the former not so much.

                                        1. re: chowser
                                          Wawsanham Jan 12, 2012 10:46 AM

                                          Biscotti is just Italian for "cookies".

                                          1. re: Wawsanham
                                            linguafood Jan 12, 2012 11:10 AM

                                            Actually, it means "cooked twice".

                                            And my guess is we all know what chowser meant - biscotti di Prato.

                                            1. re: Wawsanham
                                              chowser Jan 16, 2012 01:12 PM

                                              Yes, I know but I'm writing in English and referring to the term in the English definition.

                                        2. re: sueatmo
                                          sueatmo Jan 4, 2012 07:20 AM

                                          Overbaked, to me, is not a nicely made cookie.

                                          1. re: sueatmo
                                            sandylc Jan 4, 2012 12:49 PM

                                            Maybe we need to define "overbaked"? I think a cookie needs to be browned. Caramelizing the sugars in the dough is a delicious thing to do. Pasty, underbaked flour is unpleasant to me. French baked goods are always extremely well-browned. I always especially make sure that my Christmas spritz cookies have a nice tan bottom on them so that they don't taste raw.

                                      2. rockandroller1 Jan 3, 2012 12:54 PM

                                        I *hate* the chewy cookie trend, which has been ongoing for some time now. I think they're gross and just feel like they're not done enough. OTOH, this has completely stopped me from eating cookies just about everywhere, which is good for my waistline.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: rockandroller1
                                          sueatmo Jan 3, 2012 01:06 PM

                                          You mean cookies at coffee shops and such? Yes, they seem to be chewy and/or moist. I try not to indulge in these ever, but they sure look like they are awfully moist. For some reason I seem to believe that some chocolate chip cookies sold at the grocer are moister than I would like. I don't buy these, so I don't know where I've tasted one of these though.

                                        2. Monica Jan 3, 2012 01:17 PM

                                          I love chewy cookies. Love the magic it creates between my teeth.
                                          A while ago, someone was raving about Tate's cookies and gave me some to taste. I didn't like them at all. Way too crunch for my taste.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Monica
                                            GraydonCarter Jan 4, 2012 05:53 PM

                                            Same with me and Famous Amos cookies. I didn't get the attraction. Why so famous?

                                            1. re: GraydonCarter
                                              sandylc Jan 4, 2012 06:20 PM

                                              They were probably delicious when they were conceived in the home. It is likely they were corrupted along the way in the manufacturing and distribution process - "improved" - !

                                          2. r
                                            racer x Jan 3, 2012 05:44 PM

                                            Not really a cookie fan.

                                            But when I do eat cookies, I much prefer soft and chewy.
                                            Not even close.

                                            1. EWSflash Jan 3, 2012 06:07 PM

                                              They're both good. It's called a MATTER OF PREFERENCE. Jeez Louise, so a lot of folks like chewy cookies- please don't get your knickers in a twist over it!

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: EWSflash
                                                sueatmo Jan 3, 2012 06:26 PM

                                                That's right. It isn't against the law to have a preference, and to state said preference.

                                                1. re: EWSflash
                                                  viperlush Jan 3, 2012 06:41 PM

                                                  Why yes. That is why the OP is asking if anyone shares the same preference.

                                                  1. re: viperlush
                                                    sandylc Jan 3, 2012 07:07 PM

                                                    That's right - I often feel all alone in my crisp cookie quest!

                                                2. s
                                                  smartie Jan 4, 2012 04:49 AM

                                                  crispy biscuit person here too! Biscuit as in UK biscuit. Yes always crispy I can't get used to chewy cookies - I have to get my fix of McVities Digestives and Rich Tea biscuits from Publix every so often - luckily in S Fl they have a British section in most all the Publix's.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: smartie
                                                    EWSflash Jan 5, 2012 07:20 PM

                                                    Wow- interesting! As a granddaughter of a Deep Southern woman, I got used to biscuits that weren't crisp- and when I end up with crispy biscuits I dont' like them. Is it the same recipe or just a preference having to do with humidity and heat?

                                                    1. re: EWSflash
                                                      danna Jan 6, 2012 05:47 AM

                                                      by "UK biscuit", smartie means "cookie", I believe.

                                                      1. re: danna
                                                        EWSflash Jan 6, 2012 06:05 PM

                                                        Is the familiar term "bikkie"? I had a boyfriend whose mom was from Margate England, and she used to ask her boxer, Bonzo if he wanted a bikkie.

                                                        1. re: EWSflash
                                                          smartie Jan 15, 2012 06:51 AM

                                                          yes Brits shorten lots of words.

                                                  2. mattstolz Jan 4, 2012 12:43 PM

                                                    I do happen to be one of those people who prefers the softer chewy cookies in almost all circumstances... but there are a few cookies that i love crispy and crunchy as well. especially of note are homemade oreos and girl scout cookies!

                                                    but when it comes to chocolate chip, they are absolutely the best when thick, warm out of the oven, and goo-ily underbaked. i cook mine in a hot oven so that the outside gets slightly browned and the inside is still a mess of melted chocolate chunks and hot cookie dough haha

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: mattstolz
                                                      CanadaGirl Jan 4, 2012 02:15 PM

                                                      Yes! I like molasses cookies "underbaked" too.

                                                      1. re: mattstolz
                                                        montrealeater Jan 8, 2012 10:56 AM

                                                        Yes. Your second paragraph describes cookie nirvana for me, too. Who are these crunchy-cookie loving weirdos? :)

                                                        1. re: montrealeater
                                                          sandylc Jan 8, 2012 11:23 AM

                                                          As a crunchy-cookie-loving weirdo, I have to say that the description in the paragraph in question is incomprehensible to me!!

                                                          1. re: sandylc
                                                            mattstolz Jan 8, 2012 01:04 PM


                                                            (kidding! every cookie has its place in my kitchen!)

                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                              rockandroller1 Jan 12, 2012 12:19 PM

                                                              Me too! It had me recoiling in horror.

                                                              1. re: rockandroller1
                                                                sandylc Jan 12, 2012 12:26 PM

                                                                Thank you for your support! :-}

                                                        2. p
                                                          pinkpoodle Jan 4, 2012 01:16 PM

                                                          I'm okay with cookies that are supposed to be chewy. What I totally cannot stand is when people underbake a cookie to make it chewy. There is nothing worse than a cookie that's practically raw inside.

                                                          I'd rather have a crunchy cookie anyway.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: pinkpoodle
                                                            chowser Jan 4, 2012 03:04 PM

                                                            Mmm, warm cookie dough.

                                                            1. re: pinkpoodle
                                                              EWSflash Jan 5, 2012 07:23 PM

                                                              Yes, there is something worse- overcooked prime rib, and crunchy pies. They exist. I hope you never have to experience either.

                                                            2. danna Jan 5, 2012 12:47 PM

                                                              I'm afraid i have to say that most of you on this thread do not truly love cookies. ALL cookies are good, crisp, chewy, soft, cakey, underbaked to be soft, raw dough.

                                                              I love cookies unconditionally. You may send me your rejects. ;-)

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: danna
                                                                GraydonCarter Jan 5, 2012 01:53 PM

                                                                During college my mother sent me a "care package" of my favorite oatmeal cookies, and I never told her that what arrived was a big box of crumbs. And how I enjoyed those crumbs.

                                                                1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                  danna Jan 5, 2012 02:22 PM

                                                                  that's the spirit! :-)

                                                                  1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                    viperlush Jan 5, 2012 02:34 PM

                                                                    I tried making some pecan tassies this Xmas for my dad. About 1/4 came out looking good, 1/2 were ugly, and 1/4 were so stuck in pan and undercooked that I had to toss them. The ugly ones tasted great crumbled up on my morning yogurt w/ a sliced banana. I have to remember to make more "oops" cookies in the future.

                                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                      sandylc Jan 5, 2012 05:34 PM

                                                                      oatmeal cookie crumbs are great in yogurt!

                                                                    2. re: danna
                                                                      chowser Jan 5, 2012 01:59 PM

                                                                      I'm a cookie snob. I only eat them if I REALLY like them and find very few that I love. They have to be worth the calories.

                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                        sandylc Jan 5, 2012 02:02 PM

                                                                        That's a really good point, and an idea to carry through all types of food & drink.

                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                          chowser Jan 5, 2012 03:32 PM

                                                                          That's my general rule of thumb on whether to eat something--if it's high in calories, it has to be worth it.

                                                                        2. re: chowser
                                                                          CanadaGirl Jan 5, 2012 05:58 PM

                                                                          Agreed. And if butter isn't high on the ingredient list, I'm probably not going to like it. My friend makes her "famous" chocolate chip cooked with SHORTENING!! Such a waste :(

                                                                          1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                            sandylc Jan 5, 2012 06:08 PM

                                                                            Ugh! My mom does that. It isn't delicious.

                                                                      2. f
                                                                        FitMom4Life Jan 6, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                                        I like certain cookies chewy, and certain cookies crispy. I pretty much assumed everyone has these same preferences. No biggie.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: FitMom4Life
                                                                          EWSflash Jan 6, 2012 06:05 PM


                                                                        2. m
                                                                          MouseAndFork Jan 6, 2012 06:19 PM

                                                                          I believe in cookie diversity. There is a place for all cookies, chewy and crispy, under the sun -- with a glass of cold, cold milk. My current favorites are triple ginger (chewy), and anything with lemon. Now you may favor icky-poodle health cookies, or think that Chinese moon cake is a "confection," and I won't argue with you. You go right ahead and enjoy your treats -- more cookies for me!

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: MouseAndFork
                                                                            GraydonCarter Jan 7, 2012 12:44 PM

                                                                            > triple ginger (chewy)

                                                                            I agree. However, have you tried "Swedish Style" Ginger Snaps? They are supposed to be crispy and thin. Have you had the kind that are so hard you think you are going to break a tooth?

                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                              sandylc Jan 7, 2012 06:50 PM

                                                                              I make small, light, thin, crisp gingersnaps.

                                                                          2. y
                                                                            youngnsassy Jan 15, 2012 12:58 AM

                                                                            I used a recipe I found online for Gingersnaps and they turned out soft and chewy.. Ugh. A bite into the meaty crystallized ginger does NOT go with a soft and warm texture.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: youngnsassy
                                                                              sandylc Jan 15, 2012 07:14 PM

                                                                              Here you go:


                                                                              ½ cup granulated sugar, for the dough
                                                                              ½ cup granulated sugar, for the cookie balls
                                                                              ½ cup brown sugar
                                                                              8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened
                                                                              1 large egg
                                                                              1/3 cup molasses
                                                                              2 teaspoons ground ginger
                                                                              ½ teaspoon ground allspice
                                                                              1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                                                                              2 teaspoons baking soda
                                                                              ½ teaspoon salt
                                                                              ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
                                                                              2 ¼ cups unbleached flour

                                                                              Oven 325 degrees.

                                                                              Cream ½ cup white sugar, brown sugar, and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Mix spices, baking soda, and S&P with the flour, then stir the dry stuff into the creamed stuff. Chill dough for 30 minutes.

                                                                              Roll dough in ¾-inch balls, then roll them in the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar. Flatten balls slightly on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let stand on sheet for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

                                                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                                                youngnsassy Jan 15, 2012 09:22 PM

                                                                                Thanks for the recipe! So sweet of you =]

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