These thin and chewy oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies are crisp at the edges, chewy in the middle, and scattered with shards of deep, dark chocolate – so basically my ultimate dream food.
When I think of oatmeal cookies I think of getting duped. Mostly because they look an awful lot like chocolate chip cookies, but they’re so not. Now this sentiment is totally one learned from years of eating mediocre oatmeal cookies, often riddled with raisins, which in my humble opinion, DO NOT BELONG IN COOKIES (but that’s another rant for another time). And having grown over the years both in knowledge and stature (thank god), I have come to realize that not all oatmeal cookies are horrible garbage.
Some oatmeal cookies combine the toasty goodness of oats with golden brown butter and most importantly LOTS of good chocolate. Nutty, toasty, buttery, chocolatey – I mean that sounds like something I want to eat a lot of. And to be honest, I would be happy with a cookie that’s cakey, thin, crispy, chewy, soft, big, miniature or whatever, as long as it hit all those buzzy buttons of flavor.
That being said, you can’t make one recipe for all types of cookies. Trust me, if it was all that simple someone would have done it by now and this whole food blogging thing would be oh so over. Nope, instead cookies are like snowflakes. Each recipe is uniquely different, even though the ingredients are usually pretty typical – flour, butter, eggs, sugar, etc.
Factors like ratios, mixing methods, cooking temperatures, quality of ingredients, and baking times can all have huge effects on the overall outcome of a cookie – basically science. And with all those variables there are endless types of cookies you can produce. Which to me sounds pretty rad, because more cookies = more better.
Thin and Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
These cookies are a little tricky to pin down. They’re crispy at the edges, chewy and delicate throughout, loaded with puddles of deep, dark chocolate, and packed with nutty oats. Sounds pretty good. Buuuuuuut…they don’t exactly read like an oatmeal cookie. The vibe is more chocolate chip, plus. Plus what? Well plus oats – kind of a lot of them. But you wouldn’t necessarily know it at first glance, or really first taste. Instead you might say…”hm, this is a really great chocolate chip cookie, but it’s different, what is that?”.
The oats lend heartiness, depth, and a subtle savory quality that’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself. But they don’t take over in a real oatey way. It’s hard to describe, but I promise if you make these you will not only immediately understand what I’m not particularly great at articulating here, but also be so so so happy that you made these phenomenal cookies.
How to make a great thin and chewy oatmeal chocolate chunk cookie
Part of making a great cookie, regardless of whether it’s thin and crispy, thick and cakey, soft, crumbly, delicate, or dense, is knowing why certain choices result in certain kinds of cookies. I’m not going to take you through all of the variations, because who’s got the time? But I will drop some knowledge on why these little lovelies end up as thin, delicate, beautifully wrinkled, chewy oatmeal and chocolate delights.
Cookie dough ingredients
The ingredients you use in most cookie recipes are going to be pretty similar from one to another. The differences are generally pretty subtle, but can end up being substantial in the finished product. Here’s a breakdown of why this version uses the particular ingredients it does.
- Butter. Butter is king, and if you run into a traditional cookie recipe that doesn’t call for it, you may want to run. Of course there are exceptions to this (ie: peanut butter cookies), but generally speaking butter is a great way to impart that quintessential “buttery” flavor to any baked good.
- Dark brown sugar. This recipe has mostly dark brown sugar and that’s a big part of why this is a chewy cookie. Brown sugar gets its color from molasses which adds not only a deep, caramelized flavor, but also extra moisture. That moisture leads to a chewy, bendy cookie rather than one that snaps in half. We do throw in some granulated sugar too though, as it helps give the cookies their crispy edges. Like in life – diversity is best.
- Baking powder/Baking soda. There is a bit of each in this recipe. That’s because while baking soda will react with the natural acid in the brown sugar, adding too much of it can leave you with a soapy aftertaste. I cut it with some baking powder which encourages the cookie to move outwards, which helps deliver a thin cookie, with nice brown edges.
- 70% dark chocolate. This just means that 70% of whatever you’re buying is made of cocoa solids and not cocoa butter, sugar, or other stuff. The higher the percentage, the deeper, richer, and more bitter the chocolate. For me 70% is the sweet spot. But you can experiment for yourself.
What to do with those ingredients
Once you have your cookie dough materials assembled you have to figure out how to treat, coddle, manhandle, and otherwise manipulate them into getting the exact cookie you want. This is where a lot of experimentation occurs in cookie baking. Do you brown the butter, chop the chocolate, sift the dry stuff, rest the dough? There’s a lot of questions here, and the real answer is you can do whatever you like, but the tiny changes can result in big time changes, so here’s a heads up on some of the choices I made.
- Butter. I could have browned it for a nuttier flavor, but at the end of the day the oats were plenty nutty all on their own. I thought about tossing it in melted, but I really liked the airy and more tender quality the cookie had when I creamed it along with the brown and white sugars.
- Sugar. Speaking of sugar, creaming just means whipping the butter and sugar together long enough to get some air into the mixture. It will seem like 2 or 3 minutes takes forever when you’re just staring at your mixer, but trust me, it makes a difference. You’re looking for light and fluffy butter and sugar.
- The dry stuff. I didn’t sift, because honestly I hardly ever sift. Sifting is messy and annoying and I’m totally in the only sift if you absolutely have to camp. That being said, it’s still important to evenly distribute your baking powder, soda, and salt into the flour. For this I just whisked it all together in a small bowl. Yes it was one more dish to clean, but you’ll have a perfect pocket of time later to clean up your cookie dough mess, promise.
- Chocolate. Regardless of what kind of chocolate you choose (see above), buy it in bar form and chop it yourself. Chopping your own chocolate gives you these great chunky pieces and irregular shards that melt all sorts of weird ways in your cookies, which I think is rather awesome.
- The dough. Once your dough is ready to roll it’s not really ready to roll. I found it’s incredibly helpful to chill this for even just 20 minutes before baking. That way the cookie doesn’t spread TOO much. So take this little break as a convenient time to clean up your kitchen and preheat your oven if you forgot to at the beginning of the recipe.
The baking part
You’ve got your cookies in the oven, but a few things can make or break your thin and chewy cookie baking experience, even at the last minute. Well, that might actually be a tad dramatic, but these are some helpful things that will help you bake up the cookie of your dreams.
- Parchment paper. These cookies have plenty of butter in them, so the parchment is not really there to keep them from sticking. Using it does however have three distinct advantages. One, there is a lot of chocolate in these cookies so sometimes a big piece of it can wind up at the bottom of the cookie, and melted chocolate directly on your cookie sheet is kind of difficult to maneuver. Secondly, removing six cookies from a very hot baking sheet is soooooo much easier when you can just pull the whole sheet of parchment directly from the pan and onto the counter in one fell swoop. And three, clean is up way easier – and you don’t want to be stuck scrubbing baking sheets when you could be eating ACTUAL COOKIES, right? Use parchment paper.
- Middle rack. Baking on the middle rack (or racks) ensures that you’re getting the most air circulation around your cookies. I like to bake mine one sheet at a time, but feel free to pop two in there at once, just keep an eye on them. Ovens often have hot and cold spots, and it’s always a good idea if you’re working with two or more sheets to rotate and switch their positions halfway through baking.
- When to pull them. Removing a cookie from the oven does not mean it’s finished cooking. It just means you’re not blasting it with 375 degrees of all around heat anymore. But the sheet pan is still plenty hot, as well as the interior of the cookie. This is why you want to pull a cookie before it looks picture perfect. In the case of these you’ll wait until the edges are set and golden brown but the middles still look pretty wet. Trust – the cookie will continue to cook and firm up as it sits. I like to let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then slide the entire parchment paper sheet with cookies still in tact onto the counter. Then once I’ve gotten the next batch scooped and into the oven I’ll transfer the baked cookies from the parchment to a wire cooling rack.
TL:DR (I just learned what that meant, like yesterday, btw)
For thin and chewy oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies: Read the recipe – it’s written that way for a reason. Use the stated ingredients, but feel free to experiment with the kind of chocolate so long as you chop it yourself. Bake on the middle rack, using parchment paper, and take them out of the oven before they look completely done. Then enjoy!
Ok, now that you have nearly 2000 words on freaking cookies (somebody get this woman an EDITOR) please go forth and make them, and if they’re just the best damn things you’ve ever had please feel free to let me know in the comments. And if not, you can let me know that too. I’m always happy to troubleshoot with you.
Need more cookies in your life?
Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies are thin, chewy, crisp at the edges, and totally addictive.
- Prep Time: 20 Minutes
- Cook Time: 12 Minutes
- Total Time: 32 minutes
- Yield: 32-36 Cookies 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 C dark brown sugar, packed
2/3 C granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 C rolled oats
7 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together at high speed until fluffy and light beige in color – about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add it to the butter, sugar, and egg mixture and mix just until no dry flour remains. Then add the oats and chocolate and mix until combined.
Cover and chill the dough in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, and up to overnight.
Drop two tablespoon scoops on a parchment lined baking sheet leaving about 2 inches of room between each cookie (6 to a sheet) and bake on the middle rack for 11-13 minutes, or until the cookies are set and light golden at the edges, but still quite wet in the middle. When they’re done, pull the entire sheet of parchment off the sheet and onto the counter. Let the cookies cool for five minutes before using a thin spatula to transfer them from the parchment to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
Room temperature ingredients will always combine more easily together. If you forgot to soften your butter though, you can fill a glass with very hot water, empty the water out, and then invert the glass on top of your butter and let it sit for 15 minutes. This will soften your butter enough for a mixer to handle the rest.
Chopping your own chocolate allows you to choose exactly how sweet or bitter you want your cookie to be. Also chopping it yourself gives you big, irregular chunks, which are just delightful.
These will look very under baked in the center, but they will set up as they cool. If you overbake though, no worries – they will just be less chewy and more crispy, but still delicious.
You can totally scoop the dough and freeze it for later. Just freeze your pre-portioned dough on a sheet tray until solid and then throw the dough balls into a zip-top bag. Baking time will be longer by about five minutes.
Keywords: Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, thin cookies, chewy cookies