The Best Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (with Cream Cheese)

I have to admit that I am a die-hard chocolate chip cookie fan.  But the cookie has to be soft and chewy or it’s not worth the calories.  To get the right level of chewiness at home has been a challenge.  I’ve tried baking the cookies at a higher temperature or a lower temperature, taking the cookies out of the oven when still half raw, adding ground oats, increasing the butter content, putting the dough in the refrigerator for a while, and who knows what else.  I’ve gotten my 9-year old daughter on the chocolate chip cookie band wagon too.  I have a partner on my quest!

A few weeks ago, we tried out something new to see if we could make the soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie of our dreams.  The mystery ingredient we used this time was cream cheese.  We also only used brown sugar instead of a combination of white and brown sugars as you’ll see in most traditional recipes.  If you are a chocolate chip cookie fan and don’t mind cream cheese hidden in your food, you absolutely must try out this recipe.  The cream cheese adds a nice flavor to the cookie that just can’t be beat and seems to contribute the “soft” part of the phrase, soft and chewy.  Right now, this recipe has climbed up to the top of the ranks as the best chocolate chip cookie recipe we’ve tried to date.  And we’ve tried quite a few . . . .

[Following is the printable recipe, after which, you can find a step-by-step and photo-filled tutorial.] 

Print Recipe
Best Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (with Cream Cheese)
© 2018 HollyTrail.com
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Cookies
Servings
2-inch cookies
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened (may be substituted with 1/4 cup (2 oz.) butter or vegetable shortening)
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanila extract
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Cookies
Servings
2-inch cookies
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened (may be substituted with 1/4 cup (2 oz.) butter or vegetable shortening)
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanila extract
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter, cream cheese (or substitute with extra butter or shortening as stated above), and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, ensuring that the first egg has been fully incorporated before adding the second egg. Beat in vanilla extract.
  4. Reduce speed to low and gradually but quickly mix in flour mixture. Before all the flour has been fully incorporated, add chocolate chips. Continue to mix until flour is just incorporated (just a few seconds more). Do not over-mix.
  5. Drop cookie dough onto pans using two teaspoons (slightly less than 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie). Space evenly on baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned (the tops also will have spots of light brown). Do not overbake! Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
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TUTORIAL

Before starting on preparing the cookie dough, make sure your butter and cream cheese have been standing at room temperature at least a couple of hours so that they have softened.  Also, the eggs should be at room temperature.  Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium high-speed.  The photo below shows how this mixture starts out.

After 3 minutes, the mixture should look like this.

Reduce speed to medium and add one egg at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next egg.  If you don’t do this, the mixture may curdle.  Add in some vanilla extract.  This is one of the keys to having a great tasting chocolate chip cookie (as I found out when I once forgot to add it in!).  Then it’s time to reduce the speed of the mixer to the lowest speed and gradually but quickly add in a mixture of flour, baking soda, and salt.

When you can still see evidence of flour, add in the chocolate chips.  Then finish mixing until all the flour disappears and is fully incorporated.

Using two teaspoons, drop blobs of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet.  I end up fitting 12 on each sheet (15″ x 10″).  The size of the mound of cookie dough depends on how large you want your cookies.  I generally drop mounds that are just short of 1 tablespoon.  The dough will be soft and sticky, so it might get messy!

Evenly space the cookie dough on the pan so the cookies have room to spread.  They shouldn’t spread too much–if they do, something is wrong, like you might have over-mixed the dough.

Bake in a preheated oven set at 375°F for about 8-10 minutes depending on your pan and oven.

Remove from the pan with a spatula and set baked cookies on a wire rack to cool.  Taste testing right away is highly recommended!

With cream cheese in the dough, I noticed that the cookies will brown more on their tops than if only butter is used.  Don’t worry, they will still be soft and chewy.

I ran out of cream cheese once and made the cookies using all butter–they still turned out great.  What were the differences?  I think the all butter cookie had a “greasier” mouthfeel.  Also, the baking soda taste seemed to come through more with the 100% butter version than with the version using a butter/cream cheese combination.

Either way, chocolate chip cookies are THE BEST.

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