Big Sur Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today’s cookies were inspired by Cakespy, who posted the recipe in a timeline called “Look to the Cookie”.  The recipe, as Jessie the Cakespy notes, is from Maida Heatter who said “she didn’t know of a bigger cookie”.  I’ll bet she does now – especially if she’s stopped by Levain or met up with a Carol’s cookie.  But Maida’s Big Surs, at 6 inches across, were big for their time.

I made a batch today and while they were large, they were on the flat side.  Also, Maida says hers are crispy, but mine were soft and chewy.  I tried cooking them a little bit longer and again they were chewy, but with slightly crisper edges.

So at this point, I’m really interested in hearing your experience with Maida’s Big Sur cookies.  Katrina, who made them right after Jessie posted the recipe, thought they were a little soft as well.

(See note below picture — Update)

big sur

UPDATE: Maida mentioned that these cookies were supposed to be crisp. Mine were chewy, but with a few changes in technique, I was able to get a cookie that was crisp around the edges — or at least about an inch of the diameter. The cookies are still chewy in the center. I went ahead and paraphrased a half batch version with emphasis on the things that seemed to help make the cookies crisper.

1. REALLY pack the brown sugar — higher proportion of sugar makes cookies crisper
2. Make sure you sift the flour and measure very carefully since 3/4 cups sifted flour weighs less than 3/4 cup unsifted. If you don’t sift the flour, you’ll be using more of it and the cookies won’t have as high percentage of sugar.
3. Bake the cookies on a non-insulated cookie sheet.
4. Cook for as long as possible. These cookies get pretty brown, so it’s tempting to take them out early. 16-18 minutes would have burned my cookies, but at 15 minutes they were nice and brown but not burnt.
If you can’t bake the cookies for 15 minutes without the edges burning, it may be a good idea to bake at a slower, lower heat.
5. Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet immediately and let cool and crisp on a rack.

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  1. says

    Hi Anna!
    It looks like you’re having fun updating your blog!! Nice job!

    I haven’t made these cookies, but I recently made some cookies that were supposed to be crispy and they were chewy. I baked them on air bake cookie sheets, which I think you often do as well. I tried giving them more time, and while they were crispy on the edges I still found them chewy, and an hour later the crispy edges had turned chewy as well. I was so bothered by the lack of crispiness in those cookies that I made a second batch a week or so later but baked them on flat cookie sheets, and guess what!? They were crispy!

    I’ve been super busy lately and haven’t blogged in awhile, but I’ll get back to it soon!

  2. says

    how long did you let them stay on the hot cookie sheet before transferring to the rack for cooling? i think that can make a difference in the chewy v crispy results

    (beautiful new design!)

  3. beth says

    Love, love , love the new look!! Haven’t tried the Big Sur, but I want to. I have one of Maida’s books (the Big Sur is in it) and I have to admit that I’ve had more than a few “flops”. Of course the cookies were eaten, but not what I had expected them to be. I think a lot of it had to do with my measuring skills. Thanks to you Anna, I now own a scale and I use it whenever a recipe includes weight measurements. I think I should try Maida’s book again.

  4. says

    Verrry interesting! But wait. First–great new look! You know, I personally think that the chewier version sounds even more toothsome.

  5. says

    I totally thought my brother’s computer was messing up (it does that!) and sent me to a strange, new blog I’d never seen before! Looks great!
    Your Big Sur’s look just like mine did. And turned out the same–too soft and the ones I tried baking a little longer were just getting too dark around the edges. Sometime I’ll have to try Sue’s suggestion and use the non-air bake sheets! Now I’m totally curious!

  6. says

    Thanks for the blog feedback. I made the font bigger and the banner smaller so it won’t clog up blackberries. More improvements to come.

    About the cookies, I let the first batch sit on the sheet for about 3 minutes and the second for 5. Maybe I should have transferred them to a rack sooner. I’ll try one more time.

    Sue, believe it or not I used a non-insulated cookie sheet this time and still got chewy cookies. I’m hoping maybe it was a result of not moving them to the cooling rack fast enough, but we’ll see.

    Maybe the magic formula is a) long (carefully watched) cook time, b) removal from cookie sheet quickly, and c) non-insulated cookie sheet. Argh, now I have to make these again. Luckily they were very tasty.

    Cookie Mama, I had a link, but my new theme didn’t highlight it. Now it’s highlighted. Yet another thing for me to look at.

  7. says

    I have to say that I love love love soft chewy cookies w/ a slight bit of crispiness on the edges, so maybe this recipe is the one for me!!!

  8. says

    Hello Anna,

    This is a recipe I have not tried, but if I do, I will let you know if they turn crispy or chewy. I have to say I don’t like to use baking mats (silpat or similar). When I bake French macarons, a silpat won’t do it, they crack and don’t rise. So since the unsucessful macarons, I don’t use baking mats. Maybe that’s the reason?

  9. bruce says

    New design looks great. The Big Sur CCC recipe is now queued on my to-bake list. I’m a fan of the thick and chewy CCCs, but it’s always good to mix things up. I usually use a pair of Vollrath flat cookie sheets, will be interesting to see how these turn out.

    You mentioned the Levain Bakery cookies; Food TV recently aired an episode of Bobby Flay’s Throwdown show pitting the Levain CC cookie vs Flay’s concoction.

  10. says

    Bruce, I’m genuinely interested in hearing how your Big Surs turn out — especially with the fancy cookie sheets. If yours come out crispy, you’ll have to let us know exactly how you did it.

    I’m tempted to make a small batch today and try a) packing the brown sugar more firmly so that I get a higher proportion of sugar and b) removing the cookies from the sheet very quickly.

  11. says

    Hi Anna!

    Since we’ve been having the crispy cookie discussion I had to make these cookies. No big surprises. Mine came out pretty crispy except for the centers which I would say are chewy. I baked them on flat cookie sheets instead of air bake cookie sheets. Overall I’m sort of underwhelmed by these cookies. I’m glad I tried something different though.

  12. says

    A follow up to my comment yesterday. I just had a half of one of these cookies for breakfast. (I know it isn’t the breakfast of champions. haha!) Anyway, they’re not at all crispy today, but I actually like them better today which is not usually the case for a CCC. I don’t know….it’s like the flavors have melded a little and the cinnamon isn’t as prominent, but is somehow a little more complex.

  13. says

    Sue, after a day, mine lost all their crispiness as well. They still tasted good, but they were almost cakey.

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