The Ingredient That Gives Bakery Cookies Their Chewy Edge

It's hard to describe the feeling of biting into a perfectly chewy cookie with a tender, almost al dente texture that is extremely pleasurable to bite into. These scrumptious desserts don't really fit into the usual cookie dichotomy between fluffy, cake-like cookies and crispy, crunchy biscuit-style cookies. Often, you can only get that super-specific chewiness from a professional bakery. 

You've undoubtedly tried to replicate this texture at home by taking the cookies out a few minutes before the recipe says they will be done, adding extra moisture to the batter, and so on. However, the texture of bakery cookies typically comes down to adding one unique ingredient: a modified food starch that gets mixed into the cookie batter. Food starch is like cornstarch meets gelatin; it helps thicken the batter without drying it out, as additional flour would, allowing more moisture to lock into the cookies during baking. As a result, you get super soft and chewy cookies. That's why bakery cookies just hit different than homemade ones. 

How to get the texture of bakery cookies at home

One modified food starch option you can try using in your next batch of bakery-style cookies is Cornaby's EZ-Gel Instant Food Thickener. According to its packaging, this brand is a gluten-free starch alternative to flour, tapioca, and corn starches. You might be able to find it at your local grocery store, but if not, you can easily find it from online retailers. It's completely odorless and flavorless, so it shouldn't impact the flavor of your cookies, either. If you can't find Cornaby's, look for other clear jel starch products, or consider using instant pudding, as it contains its own starch mix. 

To incorporate this ingredient, whisk a dash of the modified food starch into your mix, watch it come together, then bake as the recipe dictates. While using a modified food starch is the ideal choice, if you can't find any, consider making a standard cornstarch slurry to stir into your batter, as it can help tenderize the dough. To keep them soft and extra tender, take the cookies out a few minutes before they are finished baking, as they will finish cooking once out of the oven and placed on a cookie sheet.