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What's With the "Chewy Cookie" Thing?

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. 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

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

      :)

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: CanadaGirl

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

        2. 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. 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. 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. 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

                  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

                    Bingo. Crispy AND chewy.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

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

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

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

                        multiple times.

                        1. re: mattstolz

                          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

                            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

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

                      3. 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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                <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

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

                          2. 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

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

                            2. 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

                                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

                                  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

                                  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. 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

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

                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                      It is sometimes.

                                      1. re: EWSflash

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

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          Biscotti is just Italian for "cookies".

                                          1. re: Wawsanham

                                            Actually, it means "cooked twice".

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

                                            1. re: Wawsanham

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

                                        2. re: sueatmo

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

                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                            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. 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

                                          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. 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

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

                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                              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. Not really a cookie fan.

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

                                            1. 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

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

                                                1. re: EWSflash

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

                                                  1. re: viperlush

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

                                                2. 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

                                                    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

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

                                                      1. re: danna

                                                        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

                                                          yes Brits shorten lots of words.

                                                  2. 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

                                                      Yes! I like molasses cookies "underbaked" too.

                                                      1. re: mattstolz

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

                                                        1. re: montrealeater

                                                          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

                                                            weirdo.

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

                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                              Me too! It had me recoiling in horror.

                                                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                Thank you for your support! :-}

                                                        2. 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

                                                            Mmm, warm cookie dough.

                                                            1. re: pinkpoodle

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

                                                            2. 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

                                                                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

                                                                  that's the spirit! :-)

                                                                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                    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

                                                                      oatmeal cookie crumbs are great in yogurt!

                                                                    2. re: danna

                                                                      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

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

                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                          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

                                                                          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

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

                                                                      2. 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

                                                                          +1

                                                                        2. 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

                                                                            > 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?
                                                                            http://www.midelcookies.com/products/...

                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                              I make small, light, thin, crisp gingersnaps.

                                                                          2. 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

                                                                              Here you go:

                                                                              Gingersnaps

                                                                              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

                                                                                Thanks for the recipe! So sweet of you =]