Cookie Dilemma

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Andy M.

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I've been making the same chocolate chip recipe for decades. It's a version of the famous Neimann-Marcus cookie recipe. I was always happy with it and got nice thick cookies.

The ingredient list below is from that recipe with one change. The "original" included 4 ounces of shaved milk chocolate mixed into the dough. I recently stopped using the shaved chocolate as I felt it was masking the other great flavors.

Here's my problem: now the cookies come out flat and super thin. I chill the dough and the cookie sheets but that isn't helping. I can't fathom how the elimination of the chocolate is causing this.

I tried Alton Brown's recipe today for thick and chewy cookies and they were both. However, they don't have the same taste. Probably because there is no oatmeal in the recipe.

I have found several recipes for thick and chewy cookies but I'd rather fix this one for the flavor I love.


½ Lb Unsalted Butter - softened
1 C Sugar
1 C Light Brown Sugar
2 Ea Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
2½ C Oatmeal
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
120 Gr Flour
½ tsp Salt
12 Oz Chocolate Chips
1½ C Chopped Walnuts or Pecans

Here's what I know:

-Baking soda makes cookies spread more than baking powder. So, do I substitute 3 tsp of baking powder for the 1 tsp of soda making a total of 4 tsp of baking powder and no soda?

-Butter makes cookies spread more than shortening. However, all the recipes for thick cookies use butter. Alton Brown's recipe calls for melted butter.

-Smaller cookies don't spread as much. I wasn't making big cookies.

I'm stumped and would appreciate any help as I don't want to just keep trying recipes blindly.
 
I've made that cookie a few times, and I also omitted the shaved chocolate, though I don't recall what happened. Maybe make a half recipe, and add a tb or so extra of AP flour, or some oat flour, and see if they don't fall so much? That's what I would try, if a cookie was too flat.
 
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I don't think it's you Andy.

Nieman Marcus is in Texas.
Someone's been messing with Texas.
Therefore the recipe is currently not in alignment.

The recipe is very similar to SO's recipe. She long ago started subbing in some margarine for some of the butter even though it's an all butter recipe. Her cookies are consistently good.
 
I'm not a baker but ...
my first thought is that 120 g is only about 1/2 cup flour.
I think I'd try adding a little more. Starting with a couple of Tablespoons?

My next thought would be about the butter, maybe I would try 1/2 'n 1/2?
Is hard margarine still available? I've never looked for it so don't know. I do know there is less water in the hard vs the soft spreadable type of marg. Think that might work?
 
I'm not a baker but ...
my first thought is that 120 g is only about 1/2 cup flour.
I think I'd try adding a little more. Starting with a couple of Tablespoons?...

Thanks for taking the time to answer, dragnlaw. 120 grams equals 1 cup of flour. Plus the recipe calls for 2½ cups of oatmeal which I blend into a powder. So it's a cup of AP flour and a little less than 2½ cups of oat flour.
 
"Here's my problem: now the cookies come out flat and super thin. I chill the dough and the cookie sheets but that isn't helping. I can't fathom how the elimination of the chocolate is causing this."

Not certain what is happening.

My experiences is, if I want thin, crispy cookies I use melted butter. Thicker, more chewy cookies, more solid butter.

Ross
 
"Here's my problem: now the cookies come out flat and super thin. I chill the dough and the cookie sheets but that isn't helping. I can't fathom how the elimination of the chocolate is causing this."

Not certain what is happening.

My experiences is, if I want thin, crispy cookies I use melted butter. Thicker, more chewy cookies, more solid butter.

Ross

Ross, the recipe I posted calls for room temp butter beaten with the sugar, a recipe standard. Then I chill the dough for an hour or more so I scoop dough that has solid cold butter in it. Still, flat, thin cookies.

Yesterday I made Alton Brown's recipe for thick chewy cookies. They came out thick and chewy. The recipe calls for melted butter and chilling the dough after completing it.
 
It occurred to me that when you omitted the shaved chocolate, you were removing some of the fat (cocoa butter) in the recipe. Maybe add a few tbsp more butter and see if that helps.
 
In the original recipe, you had shaved chocolate. This ingredient does a couple of things. First, shaved chocolate comes from real chocolate, you know, cocoa powder, sugar, milk solids, and cocoa butter. The chocolate is not dutched, and so is more acidic. This reacts with the baking soda to create CO2, which helps leaven the cookie dough. Cocoa butter actually melts into the batter, as the cooked bake, thus distributing the fat more evenly in the cookie, while remaing as a distinct ingredient.

Chocolate chips are usually a chocolate confection, with coconut oil, or other fat added to keep the chips shape intact while baking. The cocoa has no chance to react with the baking soda, and so only flavors the cookie.

The baking soda is still important in the flavor of the cookie, as it adds a nutty, astringent flavor to the cookie, as it does in a chocolate-mayonnaise cake.

The baking soda is what has to leaven the cookie. Use the original recipe, but add 2 tbs of water to develop the gluten in the flour just a little. Don't knead the dough, but rather, treat it gently, like a pancake batter, only much thicker. The water will activate the baking powder (use double acting baking powder), allow the gluten to capture CO2 from the baking powder, but also create steam, and prevent spreading of the dough. Your cookies will be lighter, with a more delicate crumb, taller, and less chewy. Increasing the sugar will give them more body, but make the heavier, and sweeter.

The amount of time you use to bake the cookies is important as well, as is the temperature. I find that 350' F. is the right temp in my oven, and 9 to 12 minutes baking time, , depending on how soft, or crisp I want the cookies. I always line my baking pan with parchment paper. Once removed from the oven I slide the whole sheet of cookies onto a cooling rack, put another layer of parchment paper on the cookie sheet, and put more cookie dough onto the baking sheet, and back into the oven. When done, repeat. Let cookies cool before removing from the parchment paper.

I hope this helps you.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 
Thanks for taking the time to answer, dragnlaw. 120 grams equals 1 cup of flour. Plus the recipe calls for 2½ cups of oatmeal which I blend into a powder. So it's a cup of AP flour and a little less than 2½ cups of oat flour.

I went back and googled the conversion twice and came up with the 1 cup each time ...
:mad: dang it - where did that 1/2 cup come from! :blush: oh well :LOL:
 
Another vote for the loss of additional fat from the shaved chcolate.

I would add the shaved chocolate back in or switch the fat in the recipe from butter to a Crisco style vegetable shortening.
 
I decided to try a simple change to see the impact.


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I increased the amount of flour.

Thank you all for taking the time to offer your expertise. I appreciate it.
 
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