Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (284 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar (reduced from 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) brown sugar (unchanged, to maintain moisture and slight chewiness)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water (to aid in cookie spread and crispiness)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (to enhance flavor complexity)
  • 4 oz (113 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped, or 3/4 cup (135 g) mini chocolate chips (to ensure even chocolate distribution)

Instructions:

  1. Preparation: Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line three sheet pans with aluminum foil, dull-side up, which helps to prevent excessive browning on the bottom of the cookies.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl. This ensures even distribution of the leavening agent and seasoning throughout the dough.
  3. Cream Butter and Sugars: Beat the butter until creamy, then add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. This process incorporates air into the dough, contributing to the cookies’ spread and texture. The reduction in granulated sugar decreases sweetness while still allowing the cookies to spread thinly and become crispy.
  4. Add Eggs, Water, and Vanilla: Mix in the eggs, water, and vanilla. Eggs bind the ingredients together and contribute to structure. Water, unusual in cookie recipes, promotes gluten formation for a bit more chewiness in a thin cookie, and increases spread. Vanilla adds depth to the flavor profile.
  5. Mix in Dry Ingredients and Chocolate: Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined to avoid overdeveloping the gluten, which could make the cookies tough. Stir in the chocolate to ensure it’s evenly distributed without overmixing the dough.
  6. Form and Bake Cookies: Shape the dough into 1 oz balls and place them well apart on the prepared pans to accommodate spreading. Baking until light golden brown ensures that the cookies are crispy throughout.
  7. Cooling: Let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes to set before transferring to a wire rack. This step is crucial for achieving the perfect crispy texture as they cool down and harden.

Scientific Concepts:

  • Creaming Method: Creaming butter and sugar introduces air into the dough, which helps with the spread during baking. The air expands in the oven, pushing the dough outward.
  • Sugar’s Role: Sugar is not just a sweetener; it’s also hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water. By reducing the granulated sugar, the cookies become less sweet but still retain enough sugar to spread out thin and crisp up as they cool. Brown sugar, containing molasses, adds moisture and a slight chewiness to the texture, balancing the crispiness.
  • Water Addition: Adding water to the cookie dough is a unique method that increases the dough’s spread during baking. Water turns into steam as it heats up, contributing to the dough spreading out. It also slightly increases gluten development for a bit of chew in the thin, crispy texture.
  • Baking Science: The baking soda reacts with the acidic components (brown sugar) to release carbon dioxide, contributing to the rise and spread of the cookies. The high oven temperature ensures rapid spread and browning, which is crucial for a crispy texture.
  • Cooling Process: As cookies cool, the residual heat evaporates moisture, and the sugars re-crystallize, contributing to the crispy texture. The cooling period on the pan allows the cookies to set properly without becoming too hard.

This modified recipe for less sweet, thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies incorporates scientific principles to achieve the desired texture and flavor while reducing the overall sweetness. The adjustments ensure that the cookies maintain their appealing texture and complex flavor profile with less sugar.

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