Soft chewy cookies such as this Fudgey Chocolate Cookie are not synonymous with under-baked cookies. Altering the way the cookie is normally put together and changing one ingredient makes the difference. When making a soft, chewy cookie the retention of moisture is the key; so, instead of creaming the butter and sugar, which is the normal procedure, the butter is melted before combining it with the sugar.
Changing the sugar to brown sugar also helps with moisture retention because of the molasses coating on the brown sugar. Dark brown sugar is better here, but light brown will also help.
The last thing you need to do is to observe the baking time as well as watching the visual cues because these will be crisp if overbaked. These cookies should be very puffy when baked and look slightly moist. Upon cooling they will fall and flatten into wafer-like cookies. They will be a little wiggly when you touch them in the oven. However, keep in mind that there will be residual baking as they cool on the tray.
In the baking profession, we refer to this cookie as a base recipe. It can be altered in many ways, each a completely different cookie. I have included four variations, but you can probably think of some yourself.
Fudgey Chocolate Cookies – Base Dough
3/4 cup unsalted butter (170 grams or 6 ounces)
1 1/2 cups packed light or dark brown sugar (300 grams or 10 1/2 ounces)
2 teaspoons instant coffee, optional
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (240 grams or about 8 1/2 ounces)
2/3 cup natural cocoa (60 grams or 2 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Melt the butter and set aside.
Dissolve the coffee in the vanilla. Set aside.
Combine the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Beat on medium just to mix completely. Add the eggs and vanilla mixture, beating well. Add the flour all at once, beating on medium-low. Let the dough sit for about 5 minutes.
Fudgey Chocolate Cookies
With a #60 disher/scooper, drop the cookies about 2 1/2 inches apart on the lined baking sheets. Alternatively, drop by tablespoons. If the dough seems really soft, refrigerate to firm it.
Double pan and bake for 9 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then remove the cookies, on the parchment, to a cooling rack. Cool completely. Yield: About 45 cookies
Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Soak 3/4 cup dried sweet cherries (114 grams or 4 ounces) in very hot water while you get the ingredients together and prepare everything. Use the base recipe above as is. When mixed, drain and squeeze the cherries to remove the extra water. Add the cherries and 1 cup chocolate chips (170 grams or 6 ounces) to the dough. Drop, Double pan and bake as above. Yield: About 48 to 50 cookies.
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Crush about 1/2 to 3/4 cup peppermint candies and set aside. Omit the vanilla and coffee flavoring. Substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract. Drop the cookies as above. Press crushed candies onto the cookies. Double pan and bake as above. Yield: About 45 cookies
Mexican Chocolate Cookies
Omit the coffee from the recipe. In its place add 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, which is optional. Drop, Double pan and bake as above. Yield: About 45 cookies.
Candy Bar Cookies
Base dough above
33 to 35 Miniature (not fun size) candy bar of your choice.
Preheat the oven as above and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Scoop balls of dough with a #40 disher/scooper or about 1 1/2 tablespoon per cookie spacing them about 3″ apart on a baking sheet. Roll into smooth balls and place them back on the baking sheet. Flatten them to about 2 1/2 inches with the heel of your hand.
Chill or freeze the dough briefly to firm it up.
In the meantime, unwrap 33 miniature candy bars.
Place a candy bar, upside down, in the center of the firm dough.
It might be easier to work with half the rounds at a time as they will soften quickly. Pull the dough up and around the candy.
Stretch the dough gently to cover the candy. Roll it lightly between your hands.
Turn it right side up.
If the candy has torn through, simply work the dough around to close the hole. Place on the baking sheet.
Double pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on the tray and then remove the cookies, still on the parchment, to a cooling rack. Cook completely. Yield: About 33 to 35 cookies.
Storage for all cookies: To keep these soft and chewy, store them in an airtight container where they will keep for 5 to 7 days.