It might be hard to believe, but it’s possible that the classic all-American chocolate chip cookie recipe can be improved upon. If you love tender, delicate cookies with a crumbly texture that still hold their shape, then this is the cookie recipe for you.
This recipe is everything you love about chocolate-studded cookies, plus the softest cookie crumb you’ve ever had. It’s not hard at all to master at home.
In fact, just a bit of cornstarch is all you need to make soft and tender chocolate chip cookies every time.
What is Cornstarch?
Cornstarch is, as the name suggests, a starch derived from corn kernels. It’s extracted from the endosperm of corn, and it’s actually a secret ingredient in many baked goods.
If you’ve ever made a cake from scratch with cake flour, you’ve used cornstarch. If you’ve dusted a pastry with confectioner’s sugar, you’ve used cornstarch.
Both of these common baking ingredients contain some amount of cornstarch. It has many helpful uses in both savory and sweet cooking.
For example, you can use cornstarch mixed with water as a slurry to thicken sauces and soups. When baking, cornstarch acts as an anti-caking agent in powdered sugar, helping the sugar stay dry and powdery.
And it prevents the over-development of wheat proteins in flour. When you knead or mix dough made with wheat flour and any form of moisture (eggs, butter, milk, water, etc.), you activate special proteins known as gluten.
Gluten does amazing things for the texture of stretchy bread, like pizza dough and springy pasta. When it comes to tender pastries, however, too much gluten is not always a good thing.
How Does Gluten Affect Baked Goods?
Take cookies, for example, if you’ve overdeveloped the gluten in your cookie dough by overmixing it, your cookies will be tough, dense and chewy.
Cornstarch, however, acts to block the formation of long, tough gluten strands in the dough. The result is a cookie that still holds its shape nicely, but is also soft, tender, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
You can apply this same technique to any homemade cookie, brownie, cake, or pastry. In fact, to make your own cake flour at home, simply add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch per cup of flour in a recipe.
How To Make Cookies With Cornstarch
Other than the simple addition of cornstarch, this chocolate chip cookie recipe has all the hallmarks of your favorite childhood treat. The basic ingredients are the same:
- All-purpose flour
- Brown and white sugars for light and fluffy cookie with a hint of caramelization
- Vanilla extract for a hint of warming flavor
- Eggs and butter for richness and moisture
- Chocolate chips, of course!
Like most classic cookie recipes, this recipe follows the creaming method.
In this technique, you’ll mix dry ingredients in one bowl and cream your butter and both sugars in a second bowl.
The creamed mixture should be light and airy before you add two eggs and vanilla extract. It’s easy to do this with an electric mixer, but also doable by hand with a bit of elbow grease.
When you combine the wet and dry ingredients, remember not to overmix and activate too much gluten. Stop mixing when everything looks combined, and fold in your chocolate chips or other mix-ins.
For optimal texture, it’s best to use room-temperature butter for cookies. A quick trick to turn cold butter softer is to warm a bowl under hot water.
Then invert the warm bowl over the butter on the counter. Let this sit for a few minutes until the butter underneath is soft and squishy.
As for most baking projects, unsalted butter is best, as it gives you more control over the saltiness of your cookies. If you can only find salted butter, skip the additional salt in the dry ingredient mixture.
Mix-Ins For Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cornstarch
While purists might stick to simple semi-sweet chocolate chips, you can always add your own flair to these cookies with another mix-in.
Walnuts, pecans, and other soft nuts add excellent crunch and heft to cookies.
Other types of chocolate, including white or dark chocolate or even peppermint-chocolate chips, add another twist.
Or, mix in flaked coconut, your favorite dried fruit (chopped if it’s large), or a warming spice like nutmeg or a dash of cinnamon.
Once you have the basics of these light, tender, and soft chocolate chip cookies with cornstarch, the possibilities are pretty endless when it comes to flavoring and adding texture!
Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Cornstarch
Step 1: Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Step 2: Mix flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
Step 3: In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and softened butter until light and fluffy.
Step 4: Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, to the butter mixture, blending thoroughly between additions.
Step 5: Add dry ingredients gradually to the creamed butter mixture and mix just until a dough forms.
Step 6: Mix chocolate chips and walnuts, if using, into the dough until just combined.
Step 7: Use a cookie scooper or your hands to drop 1-inch balls of dough onto a cookie sheet.
Step 8: Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Let the cookies rest for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2½ teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 12-oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and softened butter until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, to the butter mixture, blending thoroughly between additions.
Add dry ingredients gradually to the creamed butter mixture and mix just until a dough forms.
Mix chocolate chips and walnuts, if using, into the dough until just combined.
Use a cookie scooper or your hands to drop 1-inch balls of dough onto a cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Let the cookies rest for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 25 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 160mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 3g