Introduction: Crispy or Chewy? Achieving Chocolate Chip Perfection

About: Author of Cooking for Geeks

Everyone has their own idea of what makes the perfect cookie. Some like them so chewy they seem barely cooked, while others like a crisp crunch that requires softening with milk before ingestion or you risk breaking a tooth.

There is one cookie however, on which all sides agree; the freshly-baked cookie. Crispy on the outside and chewy in the center, a cookie just out of the oven possess the power to make your eyes roll back in your head and lose all sense of time and space, until you come to and find yourself standing in the kitchen with an empty, crumb-covers baking tray in front of you and chocolate all over your face.

At least, that's what happens to me. Normal, right?

But have you ever noticed that there are certain brands of store-bought cookies that seem to somehow be able to achieve that same crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside texture? How do they do that!? While there is surely no substitute for a freshly-baked cookie, these store-bought cookies are on to something. There's a little scientific trick that they use to get their cookies to turn out that way. And guess what? I've figured it out.

My name is Jeff Potter, and I'm the author of Cooking for Geeks, a book that takes a look at the science behind the foods you love to cook and eat. Today's gastronomic tutorial: achieving chocolate chip cookie perfection.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

You're going to need a little more stuff than you normally would to achieve freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie perfection. Why is that?

Chewy cookies hold more moisture than crispy cookies, so therefore we need to use ingredients that hold on to more moisture than your average cookie recipe will have you use. Ingredients like corn starch and corn syrup hold on to more water when they bake, whereas more traditional ingredients bake-up crispier (you can also make cookies crispier by baking them longer and at a lower temperature.)

So what's the secret to that long-lasting "freshly-baked" texture that so many store-bought cookies seem to have?

You need to mix it up.

You will need to make two batches of dough. One traditional batch with "crispy" ingredients, and one batch that substitutes the traditional ingredients for "chewy" ingredients. This is a trick that can be used with any recipe. The specifics of our recipe can be found on page 282 of Cooking for Geeks.

Here's what you'll need


Brown sugar

White sugar

Corn starch

Corn syrup






Chocolate Chips

Lemon juice

Step 2: Begin to Build Your Batches

Using two separate bowls (one "chewy" and one "crispy"), cobble-together your ingredients.

  • Add the butter and brown sugar per the recipe you are using to each bowl

Step 3: Add Corn Syrup or Sugar

This is where the batches will differ.

  • Next you will add the white sugar to the traditional, "crispy" bowl and mix
  • To the "chewy" bowl, you will add corn syrup and mix

Step 4: Add More Ingredients

Next, you will add the following ingredients to both batches and mix:

  • vanilla
  • lemon juice
  • egg
  • oatmeal
  • flour
  • salt

Step 5: Add Cornstarch to the "Chewy" Batch

Add your cornstarch to the "chewy" batch and mix.

Step 6: Add Everything Else

Add the rest of your ingredients

  • chocolate chips
  • walnuts (optional)

Step 7: Build Your Perfect Cookie

To create your fresh-baked cookies that will stay as freshly-baked as they were out of the oven, here is how you put them together.

  • Scoop a bit of "crispy" dough onto your parchment-lined baking tray
  • Now take a slightly smaller scoop of "chewy" dough and press it into the middle of the "crispy" dough

Step 8: Bake Until Golden

Bake your cookies until they reach golden cookie perfection. Your cookies will be crispy on the outside and chewy in the center, and they should stay that way!

Step 9: Check Out the Book!

For the specifics on this and other scientifically-minded cookery, check out my book, Cooking for Geeks! This recipe appears on page 282 of the book. You can try it for yourself by clicking here and reading two chapters for free!

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Cooking for Geeks is available on Amazon