Sunday Cooking With Crys: American Cookies

This week I wanted to make an old classic, as it has been a very long time since I’ve indulged in some good old-fashioned American style chewy cookies. For the Americans amongst you, this will be the most unilluminating post ever. For those of you who are not American, however, I am about to divulge the secret of their cookies.

For those gooey, sweet cookies the Americans love, there are two key ingredients that make all the difference. One is soft brown sugar, which is not always easy to find outside of the US. I don’t mean simple raw cane sugar, I mean the brown sugar that you could make a snowball out of and throw at somebody. This is the key to the chewy core, and these cookies will not work without it. In Italy, I have found soft brown sugar at the Coop. Otherwise, you’ll need to look around stores with foreign imports, or health stores.

The second key ingredient is vanilla essence. Once again, I mean the good stuff. Not the clear fake vanilla that comes in little glass bottles, I mean the kind that is dark brown bordering on black and tastes awful if you try it pure. Without it, the cookies just wont be the same.

With that said, I went with a good old fashioned American classic: chocolate chip cookies. With a twist, because I had some Cacau Presado on hand.


When my father came to visit me, he brought me some real Brasilian chocolate. What I mean by that is that these bars are not your average chocolate bars, they will not melt if you put them in the microwave, for example. Instead, they are literally bars of pressed Brasilian cacau and sugar. They look funny, but taste intense and marvelous.



Only thing is, he gave me far too many. So, I decided I’d chop some of them up and use them as the “chips” in my chocolate chip cookies. Whichever chocolate chips you do go for in the end, I have two suggestions: choose chips that are slightly larger, about the size of a pinky nail, and ones that are dark chocolate. If you go for chips that are too small, they melt and don’t contrast nicely. If you go for milk chocolate, these cookies end up being very, very sweet.

So, with that said, here is the recipe:

1 cup/227gr butter, room temperature

3/4 packed cup/150gr brown sugar

3/4 cup/150gr white granulated sugar

2 1/4 cups/280gr white flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 cups/350gr chocolate chips


All of these kinds of cookies follow the same pattern, and it is easiest to do this with an electric beater:

First, cream the softened butter with the sugar and vanilla extract

Then, blend in one egg at a time

Lastly, add the sifted flour, baking soda and salt.

After the dough is made (which is amazingly delicious raw, btw, don’t forget to lick the bowl), stir in the chocolate chips, and a few chopped nuts if you want to as well.


Once all is done and blended, use a tablespoon to measure out the cookies and put them on an ungreased, nonstick baking tray



Bake them at 180°C for about 5 minutes. How long you bake them is critical, because if you let them brown on the edges, they will transition into crispy cookies, and they will be sweeter. Some people prefer them that way but for me, nothing beats a chewy chocolate chip cookie, so I only let them go slightly golden on the bottom



And there you have chewy, delicious chocolate chip cookies, just like in the movies.

One more little troubleshooting advice: American cookies are very buttery, and as such they can spread a lot when they bake. If they are spreading too much, and all you get is a little lump of chocolate chips in the center of a puddle of dough it means your butter is too melted, so just throw the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge for half an hour before you bake the rest.



  1. A. Noyd says

    How hard is it to get your hands on molasses in Italy? Because you can make your own brown sugar with that and granulated sugar.

    • thoughtsofcrys says

      It’s slightly harder to get your hands on molasses than it is to get your hands on brown sugar in Italy. That being said, the same might not be for other countries, so it’s always a good tip!

  2. Some Old Programmer says

    @1 agreed. I’ve stopped buying brown sugars because of the problems with it drying out, and some recipes call for light vs dark brown sugar. To make brown sugar I use:
    1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
    1 T (15 g) molasses (for light brown sugar)
    2 T (30 g) molasses (for dark brown sugar)

    Use a fork to mash the molasses into the sugar repeatedly, and a knife to scrape accumulation off the fork. After about a minute you have perfectly serviceable brown sugar of the type and quantity you want.

  3. expatriarchy says

    You may want to try this variation, which I have made for years.
    Changes from your recipe:
    -Omit the white sugar, or add only 1/4 cup
    -Add another 1/8 cup flour; I use whole wheat flour for the recipe for a bit more ‘character’
    -2 tsp vanilla extract
    -1/2 tsp baking soda, dissolved in 1 tsp hot water, then mixed into dough
    -I leave the eggs to warm up to room temp; makes cookies airier

    After dough is mixed, refrigerate about 2 hours to stiffen. Dampen your hands with cold water, pinch off a small ball of dough, roll briefly in damp hands, and gently flatten onto foil on cookie sheet. The less you flatten, the squishier and chewier your cookie. The cookies made this way come out more evenly round. Bake at 185 C for 12-14 minutes depending on your oven. They are not too sweet, with no soda taste, and let you revel in the chocolate.

  4. Dennis Blankenship says

    A Couple of notes: Brown and white sugar differ not just in color. Brown sugar is hygroscopic, and also slightly acidic. which affect results other than taste. Also Whole wheat flour retains moisture better than white flour, so you may need to tinker with the ratios should you decide to incorporate into the recipe. But the most valuable tips for making chewy-yummy american chocolate chip cookies are:
    – When you combine thge dry ingredients with the moist, mix them only until they come together. Some clumps will remain, which is perfectly fine.
    – Keep your dough, and especially “softened butter” a little below room temperature, the better to retain that air you’ve spent all that time creating.
    – After mixing the dough (only until it comes together, remember), refrigerate the dough for at least an hour and up to 24. This gives the enzymes time to work, and will give more complex flavors to your cookies. It also gives the dough plenty of cool-down time, which will prevent spreading as well.
    – I have had good results freezing the dough after forming it into balls, and baking only in small batches as needed.
    – If you like the idea of experimentation, you can try using toasted white sugar, toasted flour, and/or browned butter for even more complex flavors and some nutty notes.
    – Try sprinkling some coarse salt on the tops when they are hot from the oven.

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