You Need to Know Alton Brown’s Tricks for the Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just a few super-smart substitutions can yield the best chewy chocolate chip cookies ever made.

Alton Brown is a mad baking genius and we are here for it. He deconstructed the classic chocolate chip cookie recipe we all know and love and made it 10 times better. It’s also 10 times more likely to make me eat a full dozen in one sitting.

I made Alton Brown’s recipe for chewy chocolate chip cookies, and was not disappointed. So, what’s the trick? It comes down to a few ingredient substitutions and attention to detail. He’s a food scientist, after all—you should expect nothing less.

Use Alton’s Secret Ingredients

Most recipes for chocolate chip cookies use the same core set of ingredients. Here’s what Alton recommends for customizing your cookie to get that indulgent, chewy bite:

  1. Switch flours. Perhaps most importantly, use bread flour instead of all-purpose. Bread flour’s higher protein content goes a long way in producing that chewy texture.
  2. Go big on brown sugar. Use a higher ratio of brown to white sugar. Brown sugar is another ingredient that bolsters the chewy factor.
  3. Add a little milk. The “classic” chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for two large eggs, but Alton replaces one egg white with an ounce of milk. Egg whites are binding agents that also help a cookie rise. Since you want your cookie neither stiff nor cakey, milk comes in instead to hydrate the batter.
  4. Skip the chips. Opt for a nice baking bar instead. Alton notes that the chocolate chips from the bag are “serviceable.” You’ve gone to the trouble of making a special cookie—don’t skimp on the quality of your chocolate.

Bowl of cookie doughKate Tully for Taste of Home

See what Alton Brown looked like before he was famous.

Mind the Method

Alton Brown is detail-oriented, and you know what? It’s working for him. Good Eats was a pretty popular show! Don’t skip these important steps when baking:

  • Use the right tools. They’re there for a reason—use them! Each tool contributes to texture, consistency and baking accuracy.
  • Measure in weight. This may be the most important part of Alton’s method. His measurements are in ounces, and while you can easily translate those to cups, you should use a scale to ensure accuracy—especially when it comes to flour.
  • Chill for an hour. This is the most difficult step to follow, because the dough is just as delicious as the cookies. But this helps re-cool the melted butter to help slow down the dough spreading in the oven, thereby preventing crisp brown edges and flat cookies.
  • Lay down parchment paper. Parchment paper is not only essential for easy cleanup (which is one of my driving forces in life); it also protects your cookies from the direct heat of the baking sheet.
  • Bake only six at a time. Don’t overcrowd the pan! Too many cookies on the sheet leads to slower cooking times, smushed cookies and general sadness.

Would I Make Them Again?

Absolutely. They’re delicious! The process is a little more time-consuming than other recipes, but I kept going back for seconds and thirds.

I did have to make some adjustments. Somehow, the only kitchen tool I didn’t have for this recipe was a paper plate, so I used a 1/4 cup to gradually add flour to the mixer. It worked perfectly fine. I also found that 15 minutes was too long for my oven. So I cut the next batch down to 12 minutes and voila—much better. I recommend starting with a test batch at the recommended time, then adjusting as necessary for your next go-round.

But trust us—once you’ve tried these babies, there’s no looking back.

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Kate Ellsworth
Kate is an avid baker, knitter and writer. Her passions include Star Wars, stress baking and—of course—chocolate. When she's not chasing her partner around the house asking him to try her latest recipe, Kate is probably knitting (another) sweater.