The search for THICK, CHEWY Chocolate Chip Cookies

At Neiman Marcus in Chicago, you can buy huge, thick, chewy, delicious chocolate chip cookies. They also have white chocolate/macademia nut, snickerdoodles, oatmeal cranberry, toffee, and several different types of chocolate chip. I LOVE them! I had always thought these were the famous Neiman Marcus cookies that are the source of the recipe urban myth. You know, where someone asked for the recipe and unknowingly signed a charge for some huge sum for it. But after failing to find them at Neiman’s in other cities, I asked the Chicago sales clerk this summer about them. She said they’re made by a local baker, and are only available in Chicago.

For the last few years I have tried to find a good, gourmet-type recipe for thick, chewy, flaky, chocolate chip cookies like the ones in Chicago. I say “chewy”, but they’re not really chewy, per se, but they’re not crispy or cakey. They just kind of break off and melt in your mouth, and they’re not too sweet, or too hard. I’ve researched how to keep cookies from spreading so much when they bake. You have to have the right ratio of butter/shortening to flour and the temperature must be JUST right…to bake them quickly before they spread. I’ve baked up recipes that I thought were going to be perfect, but they were all disappointing-they’d spread out too much, and taste good, but they weren’t the thick, delicious cookies I was striving for.

This weekend I took a couple of interesting recipes that I had not tried before, and another one that I have tried, and looked at them side by side. I took some things from each recipe and kind of put them together into one batch of cookies. And you know what? They didn’t spread too much, and they were delicious! They just weren’t as thick as the ones from Neiman Marcus.

If you’ve ever had them, they are like 4 large cookies put together, they’re so big. I was thinking about that, and decided to use the last part of the dough for an experiment. Instead of 12 regular sized cookies, I made 4 really large ones, abut 1/3 cup of dough for each.

And it worked! They baked up nice and thick, light brown, soft, flaky, and delicious.

Now I’ve got to go run a marathon or something to work off the calories. But they were so worth it.

Here’s the recipe:

Preheat convection oven to 375 degrees.

2/3 cup butter flavored shortening (chilled, cut into slices)
2/3 cup unsalted butter (cut in chunks)
1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup PACKED brown sugar
2 large eggs, ROOM TEMPERATURE
2 tsp. real vanilla extract
2 cups bread flour (spooned into cups and leveled off)
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (spooned into cups and leveled off)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup toffee chips (or butterscotch chips)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

In stand mixer, cream the shortening, butter and both sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla.

Combine the flours, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Stir in chips and nuts. Use a large tablespoon to round dough into balls. Don’t roll the balls, just make them rounded. Place onto parchment paper on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 10-12 minutes in preheated oven. (I use convection oven and bake two pans at one time). Don’t overbake. Slide parchment paper with cookies off of pan, and let pan cool before scooping out next batch.

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