Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (with a tropical, Coconutty secret!)

The search for the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie is one of life's enduring challenges. Ever since this iconic American treat was created by Ruth Wakefield, in 1930, bakers have been searching for the perfect recipe - one that blends crisp, browned edges with a sweet, chewy center flecked with rich, melted chocolate chips. The search has spawned countless cookbooks, thousands of recipes and even a much-talked about and heavily researched article in the NY Times. When David Leite released the recipe that resulted from his research for the Times, the search finally appeared to be over. And yet, almost three years later, new recipes are still cropping up and people - bloggers in particular - are still searching.

Perhaps it's the thrill of the chase, or just the ambitious belief that there's always something better out there, but I don't think the Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Chase will be over any time soon. To be honest, I really hope that's true. There are almost as many Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes as there are people to bake them, and I love the thought that you could make these cookies hundreds of times in your life and never use the same recipe twice!

In this respect, Matt and I couldn't be more different. Matt is a staunch traditionalist, using only the recipe on the Nestle Toll House bag with no room for adaptations or deviation. He makes excellent cookies, and there is some logic to his 'why improve on perfection' argument, but I'm an adapter by nature and religiously following the same recipe over and over (and over!) just doesn't sit well with me. For this reason, I was excited to try a completely new recipe with a secret ingredient - heart-healthy coconut oil - while we were visiting Matt's mom this past weekend.

I read a lot of nutrition books, articles and blogs and have been hearing great things about coconut oil for years - only it's comparatively hefty price tag has kept me from trying it. So when Matt's mom showed us a gallon tub of the creamy white stuff, I was excited to finally get my chance! We put it in a stir-fry (delicious), in honey chicken (an excellent addition, making the final dish almost tropical-tasting) and spaghetti bolognese (it sweetened the sauce!) before deciding to give it a baking debut. With a bag of dark chocolate M&Ms on hand, the logical choice was Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

After a bit of online research, I cobbled together a recipe that produce some of the richest, chewiest chocolate chip cookies I've ever tasted! Fresh from the oven, the coconut flavor is strong, but much less pronounced if you allow the cookies to cool completely before eating (if you can!). The smell of these cookies baking is divine - a little Hawaiian vacation for the senses! Of course, you can't make these cookies if you're allergic to coconut, but if you like its tropical taste, you'll love these cookies. Although I'm not ready to completely renounce butter-based cookies entirely, I actually prefer the texture of this coconut-oil version to any other chocolate chip recipe I've tried - and that's saying something!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Coconut Oil Cookies
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed (for lighter, chewier cookies use half white and half brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
12 oz chocolate chips or M&Ms candies (dark chocolate nicely complements the slightly sweet oil!)

Pre-heat oven to 375 ° F. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, eggs and brown sugar until well mixed (mixture may not 'fluff' as much as butter-based versions). Stir in vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. Add flour in increments until completely incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips or candy pieces by hand to prevent breaking. Spoon dough into 1-1/2 inch balls and place on a baking sheet (I used a Silpat liner - I have to find one of these because they're amazing!) about two inches apart. Bake for 7-11 minutes (8-9 minutes seems to be the sweet spot for perfectly chewy cookies).  Edges will brown slightly when done. Remove from oven and allow cookies to set on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes before removing. Eat warm for extra, coco-nutty goodness or allow to cool for a gorgeously chewy, more traditional cookie.

A few notes: I loved this recipe. We took the cookies to a BBQ where there seemed to be a hit.  Sadly, I can't speak to how well they keep since I had eaten most of them by the next day! I baked an all-brown sugar recipe (I usually like them this way, since they produce a sweeter, more caramel-flavored cookie) but I think this recipe lends itself well to a half-white, half-brown split; the coconut oil adds a sweetness all its own and the use of granulated sugar will make the cookie even chewier.

For optimum chocolate distribution, try substituting half of the chocolate chips or M&Ms with mini chocolate chips. This can also be a way of cutting back on the amount of chocolate used, if you want to lighten them up a bit.

This recipe may not be the definitive answer to the Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Search but, with less fat and more flavor than your average version, it's definitely a front-runner.

This post is linked at:
Two Maids a Milking: 2 Maids a Baking
At Home With Haley: Recipes I Can't Wait to Try
This Chick Cooks: These Chicks Cooked
Pinch of This, That & the Other: Whisking Wednesdays
Sweet As Sugar Cookies: Sweets for a Saturday
Something Swanky: Sweet Treats Thursday
Cupcake Apothecary: A Themed Bakers Sunday
The Sweet Details: Savory Sunday


  1. These look great!! I'm your newest follower! IF you get a chance get my blog out! Cheers!

  2. Hey I host a blog hop and I'd LOVE if you came over and shared a recipe! Here's the link :)

  3. mmm, these look great! I wonder how they'd taste with the new coconut M&Ms? Love your blog! Thanks for linking up!

  4. Those cookies look tasty. I had never thought of using coconut in a cookie but yours look so good. I also didn't realize that the chocolate chip cookie wasn't made until 1930. How did people live before that? :) Thanks for sharing your delicious recipe at These Chicks Cooked, Wednesday. Hope to see you again soon.

  5. Yum! These look and sound delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe! I found your blog through a link party and i LOVE it! I love making new blog friends! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would check out my blog and follow me too! Thanks!

  6. OOO Yummy!
    You HAVE to come join my linky party called a Themed Baker's Sunday where the theme this week is cookies!! Hope to see you there!

  7. Hi Ladies - thanks for visiting my blog and for all your lovely comments! I've been enjoying visiting your respective blogs and leaving a few comments of my own :) My list of 'to-make' recipes grows longer by the day!

    Ashton - what a genius idea! I bet these would be delicious with coconut M&Ms!

    Katie - I know, I can't imagine life B.C.C.C. (Before Chocolate Chip Cookies) either!

  8. Mmm, I'm on the Great Chocolate Chip Cookie quest myself and am posting each one on my blog throughout this month. The idea of using coconut oil sounds like a really good one. Thanks so much for sharing this at Sweets for a Saturday.

  9. Thanks for linking up last week on Whisking Wednesdays. I hope to see you back again this week.