UNSALTED BUTTER: Butter contributes significant flavor and texture to cookies. It has a lower melting point than shortening or margarine, causing it to spread more during baking. For our recipe, we cream softened butter and brown sugar together, a classic technique that whips air pockets into the dough. Cookies that use the creaming method will be puffier and hold their shape during baking, ensuring a melt-in-the-mouth interior.
LIGHT BROWN SUGAR: Ultimately, brown sugar makes cookies moister and chewier than granulated sugar does. That’s because brown sugar contains molasses (about 10% molasses for light brown sugar and 20% for dark brown sugar). The molasses adds moisture and, because it’s slightly acidic, causes the proteins in cookie dough to firm up faster, creating a chewier texture.
EGGS: Eggs provide most of the moisture in cookie dough. In addition to binding everything together, eggs enrich and tenderize the dough. The more eggs you add to a cookie recipe, the cakier your cookie becomes. We found two eggs give the dough just the right amount of fluffy texture.
MOLASSES: Molasses is a thick, dark syrup resulting from the sugar-making process. Sugarcane is crushed, the juices are extracted, and then the juices are boiled down to form sugar crystals, which are removed from the liquid. Molasses is
the thick, brown syrup left after the sugar crystals have been removed from the liquid. In this recipe, it adds both moisture and flavor.
VANILLA EXTRACT: Vanilla complements the caramelly molasses flavor in the dough and the rich, slightly acidic flavor of the cocoa powder. A bit of vanilla extract rounds out the flavor of your cookie dough.