In my shop, I always baked chewy molasses cookies, soft sugar cookies, and chocolate cookies. I never tried a combination of these three, but I'd always longed for it, this chewy chocolate cookie that didn't exist. Except that it did, right under my nose. Creating a chewy chocolate cookie is difficult to do, especially when you want the cookie to be super chocolatey (is there any other kind worth eating?). Cocoa is structureless, and when mixed with flour, it sort of waters down the capability of the flour to hold things together. The result is a cookie (or cake) that has a "short" texture that breaks apart easily.
I wondered if I could take a chewy ginger molasses cookie and incorporate cocoa in place of the hoards of spices which, in effect, don't offer any structure either. I wanted a soft cookie that had a dense, chewy center. The short answer: yes.
I added too much cocoa in my first try, and the cookies were too crumbly without enough structure. But after tasting them I realized that I really didn't even need that much cocoa—the combination of brown sugar and molasses already help to add dark, roasty flavor. The second batch, with less cocoa, was perfect. To add to the chew, I used melted butter in the second batch which accomplished two things. First, less air in the butter means a less cakey cookie, and second, melted butter meant I could just stir it all up in a bowl instead of using a mixer. I also gave the cookies a good knock as soon as soon as they came out of the oven. Deflating the puffed cookies while fresh created the dense, chewy middle that I was looking for. And of course, a little under baking always points toward your soft and chewy destination.
Beautifully cracked, crunchy around the edges, soft and chewy in the middle, and full of deep, caramelized and chocolate flavor, I'd finally found my elusive chewy chocolate cookie.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.