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Old 02-08-2012, 07:58 PM   #1
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What's Wrong With My Cookies?

This is the third batch of chocolate chip cookies I have made in as many day and they have all looked the same. I have been cooking for almost 40 years and this is the first time I can remembering this happening.

The first two times I thought the butter/dough was to warm but the cookies spread even when the dough was refrigerated. I saw that the baking soda was 3 years old so I opened a new box and made the cookies again today. The photo is from this batch with baking soda that is good until the end of the year.

Does anyone have any ideas why my cookies should be like this?



Thanks,

Chad

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Old 02-08-2012, 08:16 PM   #2
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Just by looking, I would guess too much butter or not enough flour.

It would help if you posted the recipe you used. Maybe someone can spot the problem.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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I'd eat them!
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:23 PM   #4
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I agree with SilverSage - we need to see the recipe. Is this a recipe you've used before with success? Have you tested your oven for accuracy with a good oven thermometer?

I can't tell what type of pans you're using, but if they're nonstick dark ones, you need to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:29 PM   #5
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I'm using the Nestle Toll House recipe.
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
Directions

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

I've used this recipe ever since I was a little kid, it was the first thing I ever made by myself.

I used the scoop and sweep method for the flour and two sticks of butter.

The pans are Baker's Secret non-stick pans and I've used them before with this recipe (I make these cookies about once a month) and the cookies always turned out alright before.

I have an oven thermometer hanging from the rack in the oven and it reads 375.

Chad
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:45 PM   #6
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Did you use margarine before and butter this time? That's what it looks like to me. If you want to use butter then I suggest chilling the dough before baking. If you can use margarine it will likely work better, although the flavor will be different.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:48 PM   #7
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I gave up on the back-of-the-package years ago, because I thought they spread too much and got too thin. But that's neither here nor there.

From the looks of the cookie in the front left, I wonder if it's too much sugar? Sugar acts as a liquid in baking. Getting carried away with packing your brown sugar into the cup could be part of the problem. Using dark brown instead of light brown would put more molasses (more liquid) in the mix. Using extra large or jumbo eggs. Switching from butter to light or whipped butter or margarine. All these things would add more liquid.

Another question - are you using the same brand of flour? King Arthur has the highest protein content of the A/P's; Gold Medal & Pillsbury are in the middle; White Lily has the lowest. Switching brands can affect your cookies.

Have you changed any of these things?

Just to show how touchy the Toll House recipe can be, a bit of history. Years ago, the package recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon of water. Yes! 1/4 teaspoon! Over the years they've removed it, but it makes you wonder how fussy their recipe is if 1/4 teaspoon water made a difference.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:56 PM   #8
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I used butter. The same butter I always use.

The first day the cookies spread, I put the dough in the refrigerator, made a second batch and they spread. The second day I made a new batch, they spread so I got out the batch from the first day and made a batch, they still spread.

Everything has been the same. I packed the light brown sugar fairly lightly the same as I do everytime. The flour is the same, it's probably the same batch that I used the last time I made the cookies.

I agree that at the best of times the recipe produces cookies that are kind of thing but nothing like the puddles I've been producing lately.

Nothing has changed in the way I made the cookies. Today I made sure that I followed the recipe exactly and when they came out I went through my cookie recipe folder on the computer to make sure I haven't used a different recipe in the past but it's been the same one.

Chad
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:04 PM   #9
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I used to sometimes add 1/4 to 1/3 cup cocoa to the Toll House recipe for chocolate-chocolate chips cookies, and the rise & the texture was picture perfect.

I just compared the recipes from ATK, NYT, and Alton Brown. Those are the current 'flagship' recipes for chocolate chip cookies. The Toll House recipe ratio of dry-to-wet just seems a little low.

If nothing has changed, I think my first step would be to add 1/4 cup additional flour.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silversage View Post
I gave up on the back-of-the-package years ago, because I thought they spread too much and got too thin. But that's neither here nor there.

From the looks of the cookie in the front left, I wonder if it's too much sugar? Sugar acts as a liquid in baking. Getting carried away with packing your brown sugar into the cup could be part of the problem. Using dark brown instead of light brown would put more molasses (more liquid) in the mix. Using extra large or jumbo eggs. Switching from butter to light or whipped butter or margarine. All these things would add more liquid.

Another question - are you using the same brand of flour? King Arthur has the highest protein content of the A/P's; Gold Medal & Pillsbury are in the middle; White Lily has the lowest. Switching brands can affect your cookies.

Have you changed any of these things?

Just to show how touchy the Toll House recipe can be, a bit of history. Years ago, the package recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon of water. Yes! 1/4 teaspoon! Over the years they've removed it, but it makes you wonder how fussy their recipe is if 1/4 teaspoon water made a difference.
Awesome reply! I wouldn't have thought of any of those things...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChadHahn View Post
I used butter. The same butter I always use.

The first day the cookies spread, I put the dough in the refrigerator, made a second batch and they spread. The second day I made a new batch, they spread so I got out the batch from the first day and made a batch, they still spread.

Everything has been the same. I packed the light brown sugar fairly lightly the same as I do everytime. The flour is the same, it's probably the same batch that I used the last time I made the cookies.

I agree that at the best of times the recipe produces cookies that are kind of thing but nothing like the puddles I've been producing lately.

Nothing has changed in the way I made the cookies. Today I made sure that I followed the recipe exactly and when they came out I went through my cookie recipe folder on the computer to make sure I haven't used a different recipe in the past but it's been the same one.

Chad
Something had to have changed between the last time you successfully cooked this recipe, and now.

Same cookie sheet as before? Dark colored or light colored cookie sheets and pans can make a major difference in browning cookies and breads.

Otherwise I think you have to consider changing your recipe if you want your old cookies back. From reading the previous replies I'd consider less sugar or lighter brown sugar, chilling the dough, and decreasing the cooking time.
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