The Best Ingredient For Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everybody has their personal preferences when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. From the texture of the cookie to the ratio of chocolate to dough, there are endless debates about the best iteration of this classic baked good and just as many ways to tweak the recipe. For those seeking a supremely chewy chocolate cookie, there's one ingredient you'll want to try, and you may already have it on hand — though it's probably stored with your cocktail ingredients, rather than your usual baking supplies: agave syrup.

Agave syrup (also known as agave nectar) is a natural sweetener from a spiky succulent plant called agave that is indigenous to North and Central America. While white sugar derived from the sugar cane plant is more commonly used as a source of sweetness and adds a crispy texture to baked goods, agave syrup is used in its liquid form and helps dough retain more moisture. By replacing some of the white sugar in a typical chocolate chip cookie recipe with agave syrup, your cookies will become softer and more chewy.

The science behind the sweet secret to baking chewy cookies

You don't need to know the word "hygroscopicity" to bake a cookie, but understanding the concept behind it can help you achieve the perfect consistency for your next batch. Simply put, hygroscopicity refers to a material's ability to absorb water. In terms of baking, we're referring specifically to sugar. Each different type of sugar molecule — including sucrose, glucose, and fructose — absorbs water differently. The sucrose of white sugar absorbs water poorly compared to the glucose of products like molasses. However, fructose is the ideal kind of sweetener for trapping in moisture and making baked goods moist, chewy, and generally delicious.

 At about 40% fructose, honey is a good sweetener for this reason, but agave syrup goes above and beyond with around 80% fructose (20% sucrose). While your cookies are in the oven, the butter in the dough will melt, and the agave will help hold onto this steam, resulting in cookies that — once cooled — become bendy, rather than brittle.

How to bake with agave syrup

Keep in mind that you cannot simply replace the exact quantity of white sugar with the same amount of agave syrup in a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. If you're not already using a scale to measure your baking ingredients — rather than measuring cups — now is the time to start. This more precise form of measurement will allow you to weigh the ingredients, which is important because you will want to take 75% of the volume of requested white sugar and use this amount of agave syrup instead.

Doing so will make the batter wetter than usual, causing the cookies to spread more on the baking sheet while in the oven, so you'll need to adjust the quantity of dry ingredients, too. You may also want to increase the amount of flour by about a fourth of a cup to keep the dough from becoming too thin. As agave is also sweeter than sugar, this will help balance the flavor as well. Lastly, don't forget to properly chill your dough for better cookies.