The Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment: 4. Alton Brown’s “Thin” Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

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Recipe number 4 in the quest for the best ever chocolate chip cookies: Alton Brown's "Thin" Chocolate Chippers. Thin? No. Delicious? Absolutely.

Dear Alton,

I love your guts. Seriously. I do. I could watch you talk food geekery all day long and never tire of your wit and unwavering affection for butter.

And even though I’ve never tried an “Alton” recipe that I didn’t love, I must tell you that I think you may have a couple of problems on your hands. I suspect it’s your food photography team. And also, your recipe titling team.

…do you have a team for that? If you do, you need a better one.

You see… I’m doing this experiment (very scientific of me, don’t you approve?!) with chocolate chip cookie recipes. I’m taking some of the most notable recipes and testing them out, trying to find the best one. The deal I’ve made with myself is that I’ll follow the instructions for each recipe to the absolute letter. If you say sift, I sift. If the butter needs to be softened, I soften. If you say chop a chocolate bar instead of using chocolate chips, that’s what I’ll do. The point is to make each recipe exactly as the recipe creator intended. That way it’s a fair experiment.

The recipe for your thin cookies caught my eye– I obsessed over those gorgeous, buttery crinkles in the photograph!

I made your recipe twice, feeling certain that the thick, voluptuous cookies in my first batch (made according to your written instructions) must have been a mistake on my part. While utterly delicious… there were no thin buttery wrinkles and crinkles. So I made a second batch according to the directions you give in the video (your instructions are slightly different there compared to the written recipe). And again… beautifully plump, golden brown, thick cookies!

No mistake– the cookies from the second batch were identical to the first.

And although I know there alterations I could have made on my own to the recipe that would have yielded thinner cookies, it would have defeated the object of my experiment.

Recipe number 4 in the quest for the best ever chocolate chip cookies: Alton Brown's "Thin" Chocolate Chippers. Thin? No. Delicious? Absolutely.

In conclusion…

these cookies are divine. No qualms in that department! Perfectly thick and chewy, golden on the edges and slightly underbaked in the center. Oh– and they’re the size of my face, which is always a plus in the world of cookies.

But, dear sir, I believe something may be a muck in the behind-the-scenes of Food Network. Because somebody obviously photographed the wrong batch of cookies. And gave them the wrong name.

I won’t hold it against you, of course. You’re still the food genius of my heart. But maybe something to consider in the future?



The Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment: 4. Alton Brown’s “Thin” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 24 very large cookies


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Combine the egg, milk, and vanilla and bring to room temperature in another bowl.
  3. Use a stand mixer to cream the butter, starting on low speed to soften the butter. Add the sugars. Increase the speed, and cream the mixture until light and fluffy.
  4. Reduce the speed and add the egg mixture slowly. Increase the speed and mix until well combined.
  5. Slowly add the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the chocolate chips. Use an ice cream scoop to portion cookie dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet.
  6. Bake for 13 minutes until golden on the edges and still soft in the center.
  7. Transfer cookies from the pans to wire rack immediately. Once cooled, store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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11 thoughts on “The Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment: 4. Alton Brown’s “Thin” Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe”

  1. I love that you tried to make thin cookies but ended up with thick! Normally for most people, it’s the opposite! My cookies, no matter what I do (with rare exception) always turn out super thick, even when I wish they were sometimes a little thinner so I can relate to this! I love all your experiments and look forward to these posts….pinned & keep em coming!

  2. Maybe the reason for the difference is altitude or humidity? Two different locations, two different results. I prefer these fat thick cookies over his anyway. ;- )


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