You've Probably Been Overbaking Your Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft and chewy cookie lovers, take note. This tip will change your chocolate chip cookie game.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Rose Nguyen. Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Rose Nguyen

Invented in 1938 by restauranteur Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts, the chocolate chip cookie was created strictly as an accompaniment to ice cream. It would soon rival apple pie as the favorite dessert for Americans. Chocolate chip cookies are a matter of personal preference, and whether you need a crispy or soft cookie, it cannot be argued that a combo of both is what cookie perfection is all about.

Cookie Preferences

The cookie must have crisp, golden, buttery edges that shatter in my mouth, a gooey, tender center that makes your eyes roll back in my head, and plenty of pockets of melty dark chocolate throughout. Bonus points for a little flaky salt on top. I would choose a "perfect" chocolate cookie over any fancy dessert any day.

Basically, I like my chocolate chip cookies on the softer side. I won't turn down a cookie with a fluffy, cake-like texture, or one that snaps cleanly into two pieces, but the cookie of my dreams is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. If you agree, and can't quite nail that perfect texture when you make chocolate chip cookies from scratch, take a closer look at your favorite recipe's bake time.

WATCH: Here's How to Make the Perfect Batch

Don't Over Bake Your Cookie

Many chocolate chip recipes, including our All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies, include a range of baking times. Our recipe calls for the cookies to be baked at 350˚ for 10 to 14 minutes, or "until desired degree of doneness." If you're an experienced chocolate chip cookie baker, you can probably tell the desired degree of doneness just by the aroma of the cookies baking. But if you're not a pro, what does that mean?

A Tender Center

If like me, you're a fan of tender centers, err on the side of underbaking. After about 10 minutes, the cookies should be golden brown around the edges but still soft in the centers. The cookies will continue to cook a bit on the hot cookie sheet if you leave them there for one or two minutes before transfering them to a cooling rack. If you think the cookies are perfectly baked straight from the oven, transfer them to a cooling rack immediately.

Crispy Cookies

If you're a fan of crispy cookies, let the cookies bake a little longer and at a lower temperature. There are other considerations here as well. Using low-moisture ingredients such as granulated sugar and vegetable shortening will get you to the level of light and crispy. Adding milk will also help the cookies spread in the oven and produce crispier edges.

Whether tender or crispy, eat 'em while they're still warm for maximum happiness.

Cookie Variations

All sorts of goodies can be added to Rebecca's recipe to create other signature cookies. Here are a few of our staff favorites.

Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Cookies: Prepare recipe as directed, beating in 2 cups coarsely crushed pretzel sticks with morsels.

Cranberry-White Chocolate Cookies: Substitute 1 (12-oz.) package white chocolate morsels, 1 (6-oz.) package sweetened dried cranberries, and 1 cup pistachios for chocolate morsels. Proceed as directed.

White Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Cookies: Prepare recipe as directed, beating in 1 (7-oz.) bag white chocolate-covered mini pretzel twists, coarsely crushed, with morsels.

Almond-Toffee Cookies: Substitute 6 (4-oz.) chopped chocolate-covered toffee candy bars and 1 1/2 cups toasted slivered almonds for chocolate morsels. Proceed as directed.

Turtle Cookies: Substitute 1 (7-oz.) package milk chocolate-caramel-pecan clusters, coarsely chopped, and 1 (12-oz.) package dark chocolate morsels for semisweet chocolate morsels. Proceed as directed. Note: For testing purposes only, we used Nestlé Turtles.

Nutty Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies: Decrease salt to 1/2 tsp. Decrease morsels to 1 (12-oz.) package. Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter with butter and sugars, and add 1 cup lightly salted peanuts with morsels. Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. Proceed as directed. (Dough will look a little moist.)

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles