The chewy cookie is a challenge that daunts most newbie home cooks and bakers. More often than not, their first foray into the world of chewy cookie recipes ends in a disaster, mostly because making chewy cookies requires a high level of accuracy that beginner home cooks are usually not yet ready to observe. Using the wrong ingredients and not timing the cookie baking properly can result in either an under-baked, crumbly cookie or a rocky dough disguised as a cookie.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, though, you’ll find that baking chewy cookies is pretty simple, easy and straightforward. By following easy cookie recipes and putting your full attention to the whole baking process, you’ll be able to come up with chewy and flavorful cookies without a lot of fuss.
The Easy Secret behind the Chewy Cookie
So how do you make the perfect chewy cookie? The secret to a soft and really chewy that doesn’t crumble when you touch it is high moisture. This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to add more liquid ingredients when you make your cookie dough. On the contrary, you have to reduce your liquid ingredients and make sure that your dough is able to retain more moisture instead. You can add more liquid ingredients, though, if you want your cookie to be cakelike instead of chewy.
According to America’s Test Kitchen, you can make sure that your dough retains as much moisture as it can by:
1. Melting the butter in the microwave before beating it with the sugar;
2. Rolling the dough into balls to create more even cookies; and
3. Under-baking the cookies and letting them set on their baking sheet for ten minutes.
These are not the only easy secrets to baking the perfect chewy cookie. Celebrity chef Alton Brown‘s chewy cookie recipe calls for using brown sugar. In fact, he notes in his recipe that the cookies will be chewier the darker the sugar used. Easy right?
Adding extra flour also helps make a cookie chewy, said an article on Sunset. The extra flour makes the dough stiffer so less liquid evaporates during the baking process. Another article, this time on Cooks Illustrated, claimed that adding an egg yolk for every whole egg used in the cookie dough batch adds to the chewiness of the cookie.
How to Make Chewy Cookies without Eggs
As stated above, a regular chewy cookie recipe requires one egg yolk for every whole egg used. That’s a lot of egg – definitely not something a person who is allergic to eggs, is trying to lose weight or is cutting back on cholesterol would want to eat.
So does that mean if you are allergic to eggs, living with someone who has egg-related food allergies or trying to be conscious of your weight and health, you can’t bake chewy cookies? The answer to that is, of course, a no. You can still make and enjoy chewy cookies that don’t have eggs in them. It’s just a matter of substituting the eggs with something else.
What are great substitutes for eggs in baking cookies? You can buy commercially processed egg substitutes. You’ll commonly find them in shops that sell whole or organic foods. Egg substitutes can be expensive, though, but you can make your own at home. Just mix together baking powder, water and vinegar. Other possible substitutes for eggs are condensed milk, yoghurt, applesauce, silken tofu and corn starch dissolved in water. Around a quarter of a cup of any of these egg substitutes replaces one medium egg in a chewy cookie recipe.
How to Bake Cookies that Are Chewy and Gluten-Free
So we now know how to bake easy cookies that are still chewy even without eggs. Now, what about chewy cookies that are gluten-free? As you have probably gleaned from above, baking a regular chewy cookie relies a lot on the production of gluten. Gluten helps hold the cookie dough together and prevents too much moisture from escaping from the dough while it is being baked. Moisture retention, as mentioned earlier, is the key to the chewiness of a cookie.
Gluten, however, is bad for people who have celiac disease or are allergic to gluten. If you’re on a weight-loss track, you may be avoiding gluten as part of your diet as well. In that case, is it possible to bake chewy yet gluten-free cookies?
The answer is yes. Again, the key here is substituting ingredients in the typical cookie recipe for other ingredients that don’t serve as catalysts in the production of gluten in food. So, instead of using flour derived from wheat, barley or rye, you can use rice flour or tapioca flour. Such types of flour produce very little, if any, gluten.
The trouble with using rice flour or tapioca flour, however, is these flours aren’t naturally sticky. Without the proper binders, the cookie will crumble when touched. The solution that will make the dough bind more tightly and prevent the cookie from crumbling is to add xanthan gum to the recipe.
Creating the perfect chewy cookie is indeed daunting for a lot of newbie home cooks. But if you have a great recipe for chewy cookies and you pay attention to what you’re doing, you’d be able to pull out from your oven a nice and warm batch of freshly baked cookies that are really chewy and scrumptious but will not break apart in your hands.