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When it comes to baking chocolate chip cookies, I belong to the soft and chewy camp versus the hard and crispy camp. Reader Gayle Anderson wrote in to request a "really good, soft chocolate chip cookie" recipe. So, in addition to tracking down a good recipe, I thought I'd find out what factors make a cookie chewy vs. crispy.

Sunset magazine once baked more than 25 variations of chocolate chip cookies to determine just that. What they found is chewy cookies have a higher moisture content; butter, eggs and white sugar all contain moisture. Brown sugar has a double dose of moisture from sugar and molasses. Adding extra flour to a recipe will make a stiffer cookie dough, which will spread less in the oven.

If you have the time, chill chocolate chip dough while the oven is heating, as this also decreases spreading in the oven. And baking the cookies at a higher temperature for a lesser period of time will also promote chewier cookies.

Take the cookies out of the oven when the edges are golden but the centers are still pale — 1 or 2 minutes before the cookies are cooked, as they will continue to cook on the baking pans. Let the cookies rest for about 2 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks to cool completely.

Requests • Tina Honsvic would like the oatmeal craisin cookie recipe from Brick Oven Pizza in Layton as well as the orange-chipotle sauce that is served at Iron Gate Grill in Logan.

Carole George requests the recipe for the Greek salad dressing from Coachmans.

Mary Burns would like the recipe for creamy chicken noodle soup, or "chicken soup for the soul" — as the restaurant calls it — that's served at Porcupine Pub & Grill.

And, Diane Blackburn would like Big City Soup's recipe for crab and brie soup.

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Thick, chewy chocolate chip cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Beat into the butter mixture until well incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans, if using.

Drop dough in 2-tablespoon portions, 2 inches apart, onto baking pans.

Bake until the cookies are lightly browned and no longer wet in the center, 6 to 8 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking.

Let cookies cool for 2 minutes before transferring cookies to racks to cool completely.

Makes • About 28 cookies

Source: Adapted from Sunset, November 2003