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Thread: Why did my cookies go flat?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Renton, WA
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    Why did my cookies go flat?

    I'm a cookie baker, but I've never, ever been able to make a killer chocolate chip cookie. Even the Toll House recipe never seems to turn out right.

    I just made 13 dozen cookies for a work potluck tomorrow. I used a recipe from allrecipes that got rave reviews. The only thing some said was that the 3 cups of flour called for was too much, so it was cut to 2.5 cups. One cup each of white and brown sugar was cut to 3/4 cup each also per reviews. The only thing I found odd about the recipe was to dissolve the baking soda in water before adding it to the wet ingredients with the salt, and then adding the flour. Most said it did a good job of preventing the baking soda taste, but I still thought it was odd.

    The flavor of the cookies is wonderful, but the cookies are flat. They didn't spread too much, they just flattened out to wafer thin with chocolate chip lumps. They're chewy, crispy on the edges, have the crackle wrinkles on the top just like I like, but they're waaaay flat.

    Could dissolving the baking soda in water have done that? Just curious!
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Did you use all butter? In my vast chocolate chip cookie experience (they're almost the only cookie I bake) butter only makes a flat cookie. Half or all shortening makes a puffier cookie.

    I've been experimenting with half trans-fat free shortening and half butter. I've not gotten what I want yet. Crispy edges, the crackle edges on top, still gooey chips on the inside, but still a bit puffy.

    I haven't used water with the baking soda. I do use extra vanilla, and I've never noticed the extra liquid making the cookies flat.

    It is odd that your cookies are flat even with all that flour. Can you post the entire recipe?
    If loving me is wrong, you don't want to be right.

    Don't touch the hair!
    JB

  3. #3
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    I used half butter and half butter-flavored shortening, as I always do. Here's the exact recipe that I used. This isn't the original, this is the tweaked.

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    1/2 cup butter
    1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    3 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp hot water
    2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
    2-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Cream butter and shortening, add sugars, blend well. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well. Dissolve baking soda in hot water, then add to butter mixture along with salt. Add flour and chocolate chips, mix well. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

    The dough was a bit stickier than my usual dough, but I was not going to add more flour, which other reviewers said only made them more dry. I always bake on parchment paper. I used a medium cookie scoop filled 3/4 full, and baked for 9 minutes at 350*. If I did 10 minutes, the edges were hard as rocks. They were a bit puffy when I brought them out with nice dry edges, and then they sank a bit to give them the crackled look on top. You look straight down on them they're beautiful. Turn 'em side profile and you're looking at a wafer cookie.

    Just wondering if cutting the flour by half a cup and the sugars by half a cup total but NOT cutting the amount of butter made for a runnier dough that spread too fast?
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  4. #4
    How old is your baking soda? Sometimes older baking soda can make cookies go flat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Richmond, TX USA
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    I have had people tell me that chilling the dough helps. I also made my last batch with self-rising flour instead of regular adding no extra soda or salt with 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening and chilled the dough. They were puffier.

    Annagins, the cookie goddess, may be the best authority on this question.

    SSM
    Now Robin's Mom too...10/21/02

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    San Francisco
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    I have no insights, but I'm curious about the butter making flat cookies: I'm the only person I know who doesn't like the Tollhouse recipe, and one of the reasons is that they're too chunky for my liking. I always thought it was because they call for butter, while the ones I prefer are made with Crisco; definitely not "wafer thin" but they're thin and crispy on edges, soft in the center. So it's not the shortening that makes the difference? Learn something here every day!

  7. #7
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    It's been my experience that butter makes chocolate chip cookies flatter than shortening does. I am not a professional. I know Alton brown has done some work with bread flour/wheat flour to counteract this.

    Butter in sugar cookie type dough works because it is a thicker dough.

    I didn't think to ask you about chilling the dough. Sorry. That does help with producing more puff.

    I also like all brown sugar. Sometimes I use dark. Martha Stewart had a recipe for Alexis' Chocolate Chip Cookies that were like this, and I loved the slight caramel flavor.
    If loving me is wrong, you don't want to be right.

    Don't touch the hair!
    JB

  8. #8

    Talking

    Here is a link to foodtv website that will explain why cookies do what they do and also has recipes for exactly which kind you would like. Puffy, flat, chewy, crispy.
    Have fun.

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/mh_c..._10267,00.html


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Renton, WA
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    I also never liked the Toll House recipe because they spread too much for my liking, and I always feel like I need to add a skooch more flour. I've always, always used 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening just because of shortening's higher melting point. They usually don't spread as much.

    The cookies went over as a huge hit, but I'm still bugged by why they went flat. All 13 dozen were gone in four hours. I've never chilled my dough for drop cookies, and I've never had this problem before, so I thought it was something in my fat to flour ratio.

    The reviewers that used the called for 3 cups of flour said the dough was too stiff and dry, so when they went down to 2.5 cups it worked perfectly. The only thing I did differently after that was to cut the sugars from 1 cup to 3/4 cup. Since that was two sugars, that decreased the sugars by 1/2 cup total. Since I didn't adjust the fat/shortening, I wondered if that made the difference. If I'd cut the butter & shortening by maybe 2 TBS each maybe it would have evened it up?

    My baking soda is about four or five months old, that could be it...however I made cookies two weeks ago for a get together and it worked fine. I dunno, I just figured there might be some glaring error that stood out to someone! Thanks everyone!
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    22
    I found through trial and error that letting the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for about 4 minutes before removing them to the racks keeps them from going flat. Good luck!

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