There’s just something about a chewy cookie. If you land on the chewy rather than crunchy side of cookie debates, you’re apparently not alone. In a tribute to the irresistible warm, round morsels of goodness on a December National Cookie Day, the Rachael Ray Show revealed that Americans have strong opinions on the matter. While 35% of 1000 people surveyed by the National Today data team chose crispy cookies, a far larger number, 65%, adore soft, chewy insides.
What if you could have both? Impossible, you may say — but it’s easier than you think. Opinions abound on successfully creating chewy or crunchy versions, but few offer insights on the ultimate combination: chewy insides with crunchy exteriors. Kitchen warriors swear by cookie tips such as chilling the dough, lowering the oven heat, using a cold baking sheet, or bringing ingredients to room temperature. Aunt Mildred says to do this, Granny swears by that, and one famous chef or the other says you’ll be a failure without a certain cooking utensil.
One thing most people agree on is where the cookie originates. To really get what you crave, you may have to bake it yourself. In fact, the National Today poll found that more than 50% of people prefer home-baked cookies over store-bought ones. So if you’re heading to the kitchen to whip up some cookie dough, there’s one simple trick to getting the chewy/crispy combo of your cookie-heaven dreams.
Granulated sugar is a given in most cookies — but does it have to be? Maybe not, according to liquid-sweetener advocates. Alternatives for cookie-baking include maple syrup, honey, and molasses, but these options could alter taste or cookie consistency, according to King Arthur Baking Company. The desired option is corn syrup. Note that the type of corn syrup available for general baking is far different from the high fructose corn syrups prevalent in countless processed foods.
The “regular” corn syrup in grocery-store baking aisles is your magic bullet for getting soft chewy insides wrapped in crispy, crunchy exteriors. It’s known as an invert sugar, which doesn’t crystalize after the cookie cools, thus avoiding a brittle interior, explains King Arthur, known for its wide range of flours and dry mixes. Notable chef and author David Lebovitz describes corn syrup as being an “interfering agent,” one that keeps other sugars in the cookie recipe from re-attaching to themselves after liquifying in the oven. Invert sugars such as corn syrup also contain hygroscopic properties, notes Science Direct, which means they absorb moisture, per Merriam-Webster. Therefore — chewier cookies.
Getting corn syrup into your cookies can be as simple as choosing a recipe that calls for it. Alternatively, cookbook author Shirley O. Corriher recommends adding a tablespoon of corn syrup into your favorite cookie recipe, per The Washington Post. Just be sure not to overcook; remove the cookies from heat just as they get a crispy outer edge.