For some bakers, chewy chocolate chip cookies represent a holy grail of baking. A number of factors come into play when baked goods are cooked to determine their final texture; if you want to make your chocolate chip cookies chewy, it helps to understand these factors and to learn how to adjust them as needed.
The thing that makes cookies soft and chewy is a high moisture content. Moisture content is affected by the type of sugar used, how much flour is involved, how long the cookies bake, and the temperature at which they are baked. When you want your cookies to be chewy, use brown sugar, which has a higher moisture content, helping to trap moisture inside the cookie. It is also a good idea to measure the flour by spooning it into a measuring cup, rather than dipping the measuring cup into the flour container; spooned flour is fluffy, whereas scooped flour is tightly packed, adding extra to the measurement. If you measure by weight, of course, this isn't relevant.
When baking the cookies, keep a close eye on them, and pull them out before they look entirely done. As the cookies cool, they will continue to cook, so if you pull out cookies with slightly pale centers, the insides will cook but remain chewy and soft. It also helps to use a flat baking sheet rather than a pan with a lip, encouraging the even flow of heat around the cookies.
The following recipe creates a moist, stiff dough that is designed to be used in making drop cookies. You may find the dough alarmingly moist when it's finished, but resist the temptation to add flour, as the high moisture content ensures that the cookies will come out thick, soft, and chewy.
To make chewy chocolate chip cookies, start by creaming 0.5 cup (113.5 g) of butter and then adding 0.75 cup (165 g) of brown sugar. Cream the ingredients until well blended, and then add 0.5 teaspoon (2.3 g) baking soda and 0.25 teaspoon (1.5 g) salt. For an unusual and distinctive flavor, also add 0.25 teaspoon (0.55 g) of nutmeg. Blend the ingredients until well combined before stirring in one egg and 1 teaspoon (4.9 ml) of vanilla extract.
Using a large spoon to fill the measuring cup, measure out 1.25 cups (156.25 g) of flour, and blend the flour with the wet ingredients until just combined. Pour in 1 cup (168 g) of chocolate chips of choice; bittersweet chocolate chips tend to make a richer flavor. Blend the dough with a heavy spoon until the chocolate chips are evenly distributed, and then drop evenly measured scoops of the dough onto an ungreased baking pan.
Bake your cookies for five to seven minutes in a preheated 400°F (224°C) oven until the sides have started to brown and the middles are still pale. Pull the cookies out, allow them to cool briefly, and then transfer them to racks to finish cooling.