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Old 11-07-2009, 05:37 AM   #1
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Why does this keep happening!?

Hey everyone,
I'm new to this site.. I'm hoping someone here can I help me out.
I'm by no means an expert baker..but I've done some here and there and I certainly know how to bake chocolate chip cookies.. but you wouldn't know that from the ones I keep making.
I recently moved to South Korea with my boyfriend to teach English. My mom always bakes a ton of cookies and things at home for Christmas time, and as we won't be able to see our families this Christmas, I thought I'd try to do some baking here to help cure some homesickness.
My mom sent me all the recipes for her cookies.. including one for chocolate chip cookies. I tried it out 2 weeks ago, and they didn't work out. So, I thought maybe it was the recipe. I tried another one today and the same thing happened. Here's the recipe I used..

Makes 14-20 cookies
1 c. all purpose flour
tsp. baking soda
tsp. sea salt
1 stick of butter, softened
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 c. (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

I followed the recipes to a T. I thought the first time that the problem is that I'm using a toaster oven (regular ovens aren't widely used in Korea), but the above recipe was posted by a person who said she specifically uses a toaster oven!
I've posted pictures of what's happening. It seems like the cookies are just melting down.. and that's it. I tasted what was left of them.. the little mush that actually baked was delicious, so I don't think it's the recipe. Help!!

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Old 11-07-2009, 05:47 AM   #2
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Hmmm.... I am not sure. Maybe your oven has not come to temperature before you start to bake??? Does it run on a 30 minute timer? Bake when the bottom and top heating elements are no longer red, temperature should be right at this point. When they come back on (red), it is to bring the temperature back up to desired temperature. Does this make sense to you? They look like they are just melting, not baking. Let it pre-heat 30 minutes. Was your baking pan in the oven when pre-heating? You should alway cool the cookie sheet between batches.
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Old 11-07-2009, 06:05 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response!
I made sure my pan was cool before I put it in, and I did also preheat the oven for a looong while before putting them in.
My boyfriend is suggesting that maybe the ingredients I'm buying here in Korea are different from the ones back home and so they aren't doing what they're supposed to? I don't know.. this is frustrating.
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Old 11-07-2009, 06:09 AM   #4
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Another problem could be that you're using a black sheet to bake on. Regular cookie sheets (for standard ovens) are polished or shiny aluminum and reflect much of the heat energy. The black one you are using could be absorbing too much heat and melting them from the bottom up before the tops setting up and hold their shape. The two fixes I would recommend are adding just a little more flour (to stiffen the dough) and start off at a lower temperature for the first three or four minutes before turning it up to the normal baking temperature for the balance of the recipe baking time in order to help the dough set before applying all of the heat. It's just a thought.
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Old 11-07-2009, 06:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karen_s642 View Post
Thanks for the response!
I made sure my pan was cool before I put it in, and I did also preheat the oven for a looong while before putting them in.
My boyfriend is suggesting that maybe the ingredients I'm buying here in Korea are different from the ones back home and so they aren't doing what they're supposed to? I don't know.. this is frustrating.

The only thing I think might be different is the butter, which would explain why the spread and the butter "ran" away from the batter. Did you use the butter at room temperature? I hope you did not use it melted.
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:21 AM   #6
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If you can get it there try using butter flavored crisco imstead of butter . I use that all the time comes out great.
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Old 11-07-2009, 09:30 AM   #7
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Chill the dough thoroughly before putting it onto chilled cookie sheets. You will get thicker cookies.
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Old 11-07-2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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Looks like you've had some good replies. I think that your problem is actually more than one problem. 1. Toaster oven does not get hot enough or have a stable heat. 2. Butter. 3. Black cookie sheet. You can fix the butter issue but either chilling your dough or by using lard or shortening instead of butter but that will impact the flavour. You can get a shiny cookie sheet easily enough I imagine. If not, cover your pan with foil. Tough to deal much with the oven piece. Can you find a friend who has an actual oven?
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Old 11-07-2009, 11:01 AM   #9
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Are you using regular, real butter? The ingredient list would basically be cream, and if it's salted butter, salt. Or is it blended with oils, or yogurt, or water, or something else? If so, that could be part of the problem as well.
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Old 11-07-2009, 11:23 AM   #10
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Thanks to everyone for your help! All the suggestions were great.
So... I realized what was (of course) a very simple mistake of mine.. the amount of butter I was using was waaaay too much. A "stick" of butter here is apparently nowhere near a "stick" of butter back home.
Once I figured that out, I thought I'd be all set. But... not so much. The cookies worked out a little better, the butter wasn't running all over the place.. but the cookies were still completely flat.
I tried all the suggestions here. I left my dough and the pan in the fridge for a long while first. I used foil on the pan.. I tried turning up the temp for a shorter time and down the temp for a longer time.. I tried using the bottom element, the top element, and both. I tried using the fan and not using the fan.. I tried using the 3 different racks. I added more flour, I added some baking powder.
NOTHING WORKS! I'm frustrated. Any thoughts? Maybe this toaster oven thing just won't work.
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