Baking takes patience. Lots of it when you consider how delicious the end product usually is, but if you are wondering why your cookies never come out looking as beautiful as your favorite bakery’s, then it is probably because you haven’t been chilling your dough.Once you have creamed the butter to a fluffy, white, emulsified texture your dough is soft — so soft that if baked at this point, the butter would melt out of the dough quickly in the oven causing the cookies to spread. The only way to achieve thick, chewy cookies is by first chilling the dough in either the fridge or freezer for any where from 30 minutes to several days.
The firmer the butter, the longer it takes for the solidified butter to melt in the oven, and the slower the butter melts, the more time the sugar has to absorb the melting liquid so your cookies remain chewy and tender. The loss of moisture in the dough from chilling concentrates the sugars and, as the sugars dissolve and caramelize in the oven, the texture of the cookie becomes chewier.
Finally, chilling the dough also gives it time to age, producing more nuanced cookie flavor, and a darker overall finished product.
For more ways to make delectable chocolate chip cookies, check out a few of our favorite recipes here, but be sure to chill your dough before baking — even for just 30 minutes — to produce a more flavorful, thick, and chewy cookie.
Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.