You know what’s really frustrating?
When you bake a batch of ‘soft’ chocolate chip cookies and they come out hard as a rock.
Like hockey pucks!
Has this ever happened to you?
I’m happy to report that this particular cookie recipe delivers on its claim; they’re soft, chewy, and retain their texture even on the second and third day.
And I suspect it has something to do with a very unusual ingredient…
Yes! The stuff you use to make salad dressing…
And no, these cookies do not taste like vinegar at all. Not even close.
Something magical happens when vinegar and baking soda join forces lending a tenderizing effect to cookies, doughs, and other baked goods. It’s like a culinary science experiment. In fact, we used to add cider vinegar to pastry dough back when I interned at a restaurant. It makes the crust incredibly flakey.
In addition to vinegar, the combination and amount of sugars (granulated, brown, honey) also contribute to the soft and chewy texture. You’ll see.
And one more thing worth noting- these cookies are made with 100% white whole wheat flour.
White whole wheat is made from bran lighter in color and more mild in flavor than traditional whole wheat flour. It also yields a smoother (as opposed to grainy) texture. This comes in handy when you’re trying to fool your little ones and/or significant other into eating a healthier cookie (no one has to know!).
And you can thank King Arthur for the recipe. I got it from them!
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Tips: FOLLOW THE RECIPE EXACTLY AS WRITTEN. If you do this, they will come out nice and soft.
Substitutions: Ok, so ignoring my own advice (above) I made a few minor swaps based on what I had in the house. They all worked, that’s why I’m mentioning it here. I did however, follow the mixing order and baking directions exactly as written. This is key.
The original recipe calls for cider vinegar. I didn’t have any, so I used white vinegar instead. It worked! If you are making this for the first time, I do recommend using cider vinegar, but in a pinch, do what I did. DO NOT under any circumstance use red-wine vinegar or balsamic ;)
Also, the original recipe calls for espresso powder. I left that out because: kids. You’ll also notice a range in chocolate chips ( 2 2/3- 3 cups). We all agreed that 2 2/3 cups was the way to go.
Make-Ahead: These cookies can be made up to 2 days in advance and still remain soft. By the third day, they are really soft.
Also, you could freeze the dough in 1-inch balls (use a mini ice cream scoop) on a parchment lined baking sheet. Transfer to a ziploc bag when frozen. I haven’t tested the amount of time needed to bake these cookies, but from frozen, I would bake until just underdone (similar to when baking fresh). Just keep your eye on them.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3 tablespoons runny honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder (I omitted this for the kids)
- ½ teaspoon butterscotch or butter-rum flavor, optional (I didn't use this)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar (I used white vinegar)
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour*
- 2⅔ to 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I preferred the taste of 2⅔ cups)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl or using an electric stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugars, honey, vanilla, and salt until smooth.
- Mix in the vinegar, egg, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Add the flour, a little bit at a time, followed by the chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.
- Portion the dough using a mini 1-inch ice cream scoop (or a tablespoon) onto your lined baking sheets.
- Bake for 10 to 11 minutes until the cookies are barely starting to brown. They might look too light in color and underdone, but this is what you want. If you over bake them, they won't be soft. Note: if you're using a darker cookie sheet without parchment, bake for a shorter period of time.
- When finished, remove the cookies from the oven. Cool on the tray for 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.