Upgrade Chocolate Chip Cookies With Cream Cheese For Super Soft Treats

When it comes to baking, innovation is often born out of a desire to elevate classic recipes. For example, chocolate chip cookies can be customized to satisfy any sweet tooth. Since their invention by Ruth Wakefield in the 1930s, folks have discovered all sorts of hacks to make the best chocolate chip cookies ever, including using cream cheese instead of butter. This simple yet ingenious swap yields a richer, more luscious dessert than the original. Let's delve into the science behind this cookie alchemy.

Found in many baked goods, butter is primarily comprised of fat, water, and milk solids. When butter is creamed with crystalline sugar to whip up cookie dough, air pockets form in the mixture, resulting in a tender crumb. Enter cream cheese, another superstar of the baking world that gives frostings, cheesecakes, and Danish pastries their signature zest. It turns out that cream cheese also has the power to enhance a basic batch of chocolate chip cookies with a medium-rare texture. Along with bringing a balance of increased softness and structure, the natural tanginess of cream cheese perfectly complements the chocolate chips.

Cream cheese brings tanginess and softness to cookies

It seems there are endless ways to make chocolate chip cookies, but how, exactly, do cream cheese-infused cookies differ from their butter-laden counterparts? For starters, cream cheese adds a velvety-smooth quality to the dough, resulting in spongier, chewier cookies. Plus, the flavor profile of chocolate chip cookies made with cream cheese is utterly divine. While traditional chocolate chip cookies embrace sweet, buttery notes, cream cheese's zip provides a delightful contrast in every bite.

It may be tempting to substitute equal amounts of cream cheese for butter when rustling up these newfangled chocolate chip cookies. However, it's important to note that cream cheese has a higher moisture content than butter. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, cream cheese must contain at least 33% milk fat and a maximum of 55% moisture. Butter, on the other hand, contains at least 80% milk fat, per the FDA. Therefore, cream cheese can affect the overall consistency of your cookies. Your best bet is to use roughly half as much cream cheese as butter called for in the recipe. With this approach, you can reap the benefits of cream cheese's uniquely delicious properties without compromising the structure of the chocolate chip cookies.