As a baker, I’ve always been partial to a soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie. Even though a crispy edge often makes for an interesting textural difference, nothing beats biting into a warm gooey cookie that melts in your mouth. Over the years, I’ve acquired a few techniques on how to make soft-edged chocolate chip cookies every time without fail; if you’re struggling to achieve the texture you want, you might want to give the following tips a try.
Here’s how to avoid crispy edges on chocolate chip cookies:
- Always use room temperature butter.
- Use brown sugar.
- Refrigerate the dough for longer.
- Cool the cookie sheet.
- Use a Silpat mat.
- Bake at a high temperature for a short amount of time.
- Make sure not to overbake your cookies.
For the best results, you’ll want to incorporate each of these techniques into your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe; however, even by trying just a few at a time, I guarantee you’ll be able to see some textural differences starting to appear in your baked goods. If you want to learn more about how these tips can help you avoid crispy edges on your chocolate chip cookies, make sure to keep reading.
1. Always Use Room Temperature Butter
Butter and sugar are the two ingredients that will affect your cookie’s consistency the most, which is why I wanted to start off with some tips on how to make these components work in favor of the texture you’re trying to achieve.
Even though most classic chocolate chip cookie recipes already call for room temperature butter (which you’ll then cream with the sugar), more and more variations are calling for melted butter instead.
Take Care Not To Use Melted Butter
While using melted butter in a cookie recipe can certainly be convenient (and add a wonderful caramelly, nutty flavor if you brown the butter), beware that doing so will affect the final consistency.
When in a liquid state, the butter will mix right into the sugar without being able to incorporate any air into its structure. As a result, when placed into the oven, the dough will spread thin and become crispy, which might be desirable for some cookie lovers.
However, if you (like me) are partial to a soft and chewy cookie, you’ll want to avoid using melted butter at all costs. Instead, opt for room temperature butter, which should be around 70°F (21.1°C).
That way, the butter is still soft enough to cream and incorporate air; however, it’s still solid enough to retain its structural integrity. If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer and are unsure about what constitutes room temperature butter, you want the consistency to be spreadable but for the butter to still hold its shape.
Another essential tip to remember is that if you’re using room-temp butter in a recipe, all other ingredients you’d usually refrigerate need to be at room temperature as well. This includes eggs and milk (if you’re using a recipe that calls for it).
The reasoning behind this is that you don’t want an especially cold ingredient to come in contact with the butter and solidify it too much; otherwise, the texture and consistency of the final product might suffer.
How To Get Room Temperature Butter Quickly
When I mentioned that many home bakers have turned to melted butter for their cookie recipes simply due to convenience, I wasn’t kidding. Getting your scales and ingredients ready only to realize that you have to wait until the butter reaches room temp can be annoying, to say the least.
The process can be especially difficult if you’re baking in a colder environment. Luckily, there are some ways you can get around having to wait hours for your butter to soften.
- Grate or cut the butter into smaller pieces. This approach is pretty intuitive. If you leave your butter to soften as one big stick, you’ll have to wait hours until the warmth reaches the center. By cutting your butter into smaller pieces (or, preferably, grating it), you’ll be reducing the wait time down to 10 or 20 minutes.
- Warm up the butter. This should be done indirectly; straight-up putting the butter in the microwave or on a stovetop will likely melt the stick before softening it. An excellent solution would be to put the butter near a heat source you’re using (cut in smaller pieces), but not directly inside or on top of it. Other great solutions include the warm glass technique or rolling the butter out using a rolling pin.
2. Use Brown Sugar
Now that we’ve gotten the fat out of the way, it’s time to discuss sugar. Not all sugars are created equal when it comes to achieving that perfect, soft, chewy consistency.
If you want to avoid the formation of crispy edges, you’ll want to choose brown sugar instead of white, or at least opt for a mix. There are two main reasons why the former is a better choice for the consistency you’re looking for.
Consider the pH of Different Sugars
First, white sugar has a neutral pH, which can interfere with gluten development in the dough. As a result, your cookies will start spreading out uncontrollably before they’re able to set, meaning you’ll end up with thin, crispy cookies.
On the other hand, brown sugar is acidic, and it actually helps accelerate protein coagulation and gluten formation. This will allow your cookies to set before being able to spread out too much, resulting in a chewy, thick consistency.
Brown Sugar is Hygroscopic
The second reason is that brown sugar is more hygroscopic than white sugar. While both varieties share this quality, the former is able to absorb higher levels of moisture. Therefore, using only white sugar when making your chocolate cookie dough will result in an overall drier, crispier end result.
3. Refrigerate the Dough for Longer
Chilling the dough is a step that I’ve encountered in almost all chocolate chip cookie recipes; however, many home bakers seem to view it as optional or unimportant. This couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you’re looking to achieve a chewy consistency.
Refrigerating your cookie dough will give the fats a chance to solidify; the longer it takes for fats to melt in the oven, the less your cookies will spread, allowing them to retain their moisture and softness.
If you’re cooking in an especially hot environment, refrigerating the dough as long as the recipe calls for might not be enough. Therefore, if you seem to be doing everything else right and you still end up with crispy-edged chocolate chip cookies, I highly recommend leaving the dough in the fridge to chill at least overnight.
If you’re looking to speed up the process, you can always portion the dough into individual cookie sizes before chilling. A smaller surface area means the batter will cool down faster.
4. Cool the Cookie Sheet
In the same vein, cooling the cookie sheet you’re using can help keep the dough solid before it gets put in the oven. This strategy might not be necessary in all cases; however, if you’re baking during a hot summer day or are portioning the dough after refrigerating it, keeping it cold enough before baking it can be a challenge.
In this instance, chilling the cookie sheet itself might come in handy.
5. Use a Silpat Mat
This is another tip that might seem unconventional, but in my experience, it works. Using a Silpat mat does much more for your cookies than simply keeping them from sticking to the sheet.
Silpat mats help the dough retain its shape throughout the baking process, preventing it from spreading out too much and becoming too thin or crispy. As a result, they’ll help you achieve the thick, tender consistency you were looking for.
This Silpat Mat from Amazon.com comes in a variety of dimensions, so you’re guaranteed to find an option that perfectly fits your cookie sheet.
6. Bake at a High Temperature for a Short Amount of Time
Last but not least, if you want to avoid getting crispy edges on your chocolate chip cookies, you’ll want to adjust the recipe’s baking temperature and time. Even though this might arguably be the most foolproof technique out of all, it requires a bit of skill and knowledge to get right—you don’t want to end up with raw cookies.
Moreover, this tip is best used on a recipe you’ve already tried and thereby know the type of cookie consistency it yields. I say this because some recipes are already designed with softness and chewiness in mind, and messing with their cook time and temperature blindly might end up doing more harm than good.
Increasing the oven temperature by around 20°F (6.7°C) will help bake a cookie faster, meaning the dough will still be able to retain its moisture and softness. This will allow you to also take the cookies out of the oven a few minutes sooner; otherwise, you risk leaving them on too long, which can dry them out.
7. Make Sure Not to Overbake Your Cookies
Therefore, if your cookies seem texturally perfect right out of the oven but crisp up as they cool, chances are you’ve overbaked them.
On the other hand, having your batch feel a bit too soft right out of the oven is an excellent sign that the end product will be perfectly-cooked, featuring a crumbly, chewy texture, which is what most cookie recipes aim for.
Generally speaking, a standard cookie should take anywhere from eight to ten minutes to fully cook through. However, if you prefer a chewier consistency, I would advise you to head back to the previous section to learn more about how to safely decrease the bake time without risking ending up with raw cookie dough.
However, if you’re supposed to take out your cookies while they’re still a bit soft, how do you know whether they’re fully done?
How To Tell if Your Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies Are Done
Even though I’ll equip you with some quick and simple tips on how to tell if your chocolate chip cookies are done in the following paragraphs, I want to note that getting that perfect texture and consistency requires a bit of experimentation and baker’s intuition.
You might get lucky your first time and bake a batch of cookies that seems tailored to your preferences; however, getting the same results consistently might require some additional work and experience.
For now, here are some tips on how to tell whether your soft-edged cookies are fully baked:
- Timing. Usually, I would advise following a recipe to a T. Still, if you’re fond of particularly chewy cookies and you can’t seem to be able to achieve such a texture by following the first five techniques I discussed, you can try the following: lower the cooking time by a minute or two and increase the oven temperature.
- Appearance. The perfect soft-edged cookies will look fully dry on top even though they’re still moist on the inside. The edges should have turned a light golden color, but they shouldn’t be too dark. The center will be the slightest bit gooey, and the cookie itself should still be soft enough to fall apart when taken right out of the oven. Keep in mind that if you notice a drastic change in color (especially on top), you might be too late.
- Feel. You can always use feel in conjunction with the previous two methods to make sure that your cookies are fully done. As mentioned throughout this article, perfectly-baked cookies should still feel soft and crumbly to the touch; however, they should be mostly dry.
The classic chocolate chip cookie is soft, gooey, and warm. Luckily, by following these simple tips and tricks, you’ll be able to avoid crispy edges on your baked goods. However, if you take anything out of this article, it should be that the baking process is much more important than you think when it comes to getting that perfect cookie, so you should be actively involved in it.
However, as with anything else baking-related, I highly recommend making these strategies your own and experimenting until you achieve your desired results.