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What am I doing wrong?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've done searches for cookie topics. I cannot get my cookies to keep from falling and being thin and flat. I had always used the Nestle Toll House recipe, but I was never satisfied.
This is the recipe I used last and they still went flat:
2 1/4 cup pastry flour (nstead of AP)
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder (not in the recipe)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. chocolate chips

350 degrees for about 13-15 minutes. (they were big, six per sheet instead of twelve)

The changes that I made were the addition of the Baking Powder, using half shortening, the pastry flour as opposed to AP, and I also baked in on parchment paper instead of anything greased to avoid excess spread. I even chilled the dough in the fridge before hand.

Someone please help me. What else can i do? Should I try just BS or just BP? Should I bake them longer at 300? Should I try Cake Flour?
post #2 of 9
Posted for educational purposes only.

How to Get the Texture You Want in Your Cookies

The ingredients you use are extremely, extremely important in achieving your desired cookie. Doing something as small as using baking powder instead of baking soda or using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour can make a huge difference. Even the type of fat you use in your cookie will dramatically affect its outcome. The basic building blocks of most cookies are fat, flour, baking powder and baking soda, sugar, and eggs or other liquid.

*Fats - The fats most often used in cookies are butter, margarine, shortening and oil. Fats play a major role in the spread of your cookie. In other words, they help to determine if your cookie spreads out into a thin mass on the cookie sheet or pretty much keeps its original shape. Shortening, margarine and spreads are fairly stable so they will help cookies keep their original unbaked shape. Butter melts at a much lower temperature than the other solid fats, so cookies made with it will tend to spread out. And oil, since it already is a liquid at room temperature, produces cookies that keep their shape. The amount of fat also affects the cookies. You can basically think of it this way: More fat equals flatter and chewier to crispier cookies. Less fat equals puffier and more cake-like cookies.
*Flour - Flour also affects how cookies bake and behave. Flours with a high protein content like bread and all-purpose flour will help to produce cookies that tend to be flatter, darker, and more crisp than their counterparts made with cake or pastry flour.
*Baking Powder and Baking Soda - Baking powder and baking soda are the two most common leaveners in cookies. Baking soda is simply bicarbonate of soda, while baking powder is a combination of bicarbonate of soda plus an acidic ingredient (cream of tartar). Baking soda neutralizes the acidity of the dough, allowing the cookies to brown in the oven. Since baking powder already contains its own acid, it will not reduce the acidity in the dough, and the resulting cookies will be puffier and lighter in color.
*Sugars - The type of sugar and how much you use also plays a big role. White sugar will make a crisper cookie than brown sugar or honey. In fact, upon standing, cookies made from brown sugar will actually absorb moisture, helping to insure that they stay chewy. Thus the reason that most chocolate chip cookie recipes contain both brown and white sugars is that you get the best of both worlds! If you lower the amount of sugar called for in a cookie recipe the final baked cookie will be puffier than its high sugar counterpart.
*Eggs and Liquids - Eggs and liquids can either cause cookies to puff up or spread. If egg is the liquid it will help to promote puffiness. Just a tablespoon or two of water or other liquid will help your cookies spread into flatter and crisper rounds. One thing to remember is the different effects of egg yolks and egg whites. Egg yolks will help to add moistness whereas egg whites tend to make cookies drier. To make up for the drying effect of the egg whites extra sugar is added. This is the reason that cookies made with just egg whites tend to be so sweet.

Mixing Technique
Cookies are not as delicate as cakes, but mixing still plays an important role. The most important step in cookie mixing is the creaming step. This is the step where the fat and the sugar are whipped together until light colored, smooth and fluffy. This helps to incorporate air into the batter, which you need if you want your baking soda and/or baking powder to work. Another important factor is not to overmix the dough. Once you combine the dry and wet ingredients, mix until just combined and no longer.

Do not underestimate the importance of temperature in cookie baking. Cookie dough that is chilled before baking will hold its shape and produce a slightly puffier cookie. Cookie dough that is at room temperature before baking will spread and flatten out while baking. So if you happen to have a very warm kitchen, it's a good idea to refrigerate the dough before you bake it.

Equipment and Baking Time
Different baking sheets and whether you grease the sheets or not will produce different results. A good baking sheet can make a big difference. Super thin baking sheets will cause the cookie bottoms to cook faster, sometimes resulting in burnt bottoms. Yuck! Insulated baking sheets allow air movement and will help to produce puffier cookies. If you want flat crisp cookies, your best bet is the standard semi-thick baking sheets that are available just about everywhere. If you grease your cookie sheets before baking, it will cause the cookies to spread out more but if you don't grease the sheets you run the risk of the cookies sticking to the sheets and making a big mess. A good and fairly inexpensive solution to this is parchment paper. Its non-stick surface makes for easy cookie removal and yet it doesn't cause the cookies to spread out.

Yes, it is true the longer you bake something the more cooked it will become. Cookies are usually baked from 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Since cookies are small they tend to bake fast. A difference in temperature can completely change the amount of time you'll need to bake your cookie. If you want your cookies to be chewy, the trick is to slightly underbake them. If you want them to be crispy, bake them a little longer. The best way to do this is with an accurate oven thermometer, a timer and your watchful eye until you get it all down.

So How Do You Want 'Em?
So now that you know a little bit about what goes into the cookie, how do you combine it all to come up with your favorite winning texture? Just follow these tips to get the cookie you desire. Don't be afraid to mix and match, your ideal might just lie somewhere between all the extremes. Start baking cookies - there's a texture to find!

*Flat - If you want your cookies on the flat side, you can do some or all of the following things: Use all butter, use all-purpose flour or bread flour, increase the sugar content slightly, add a bit of liquid to your dough, bring the dough to room temperature before baking.
*Puffy - If you like your cookies all light and puffy, try some of the following tricks: Use shortening or margarine and cut back on the fat, add an egg, cut back on the sugar, use cake flour or pastry flour, use baking powder instead of baking soda, refrigerate your dough before baking.
*Chewy - If chewiness is your desire remove the cookies a few minutes before they are done, while their centers are still soft and not quite cooked through. The edges should be slightly golden but the middle will still look slightly raw. Use brown sugar or honey as a sweetener. Try using egg yolks instead of whole eggs, this will add some extra moistness to the cookies thus helping to be a bit more on the chewy side.
*Crispy - For crisp and crunchy cookies, bake your cookies a few minutes longer than suggested and immediately remove them to wire racks to cool. Cookies made with all butter and a high amount of white sugar will also crisp up quite nicely. Another trick is to use bread flour.
post #3 of 9
Take out the baking powder. You don't need it at all.
It's not Dairy Queen.
It's not Dairy Queen.
post #4 of 9
One more thing. Butter is about 18% water. That also contributes to thinner cookies when using butter as opposed to shortening.

Margarine is even higher in water and tastes worse too.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #5 of 9
did you replace the amount of short with butter? 86 the bp. you might be deflating with to much levening.Are you mixing wet,add dry?Are you retarding the mix or after they are formed?
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Will leaving the baking powder out help them from becoming so thin?
Should I use entirely shortening? Will this help with the thin cookie problem? I have always heard from anybody who bakes cookies that butter always makes a better cookie.

I tried the chocolate chip recipe in The New Professional Chef, the CIA textbook. It called for even parts butter and shortening. It also said to use pastry flour, just, like I did. It also said to mix the baking soda in with the butter, shortening, and sugars when creaming them. I guess this is to activate it.
But the point is that they still came out flat.
Can anyone suggest anything else?
Next time I think I will cut back on the fat and sugar slightly.
Any thoughts?
post #7 of 9
I get rave reviews on my chocolate chip cookie. The recipe I use is in the pro chef book I use it just the way it is written.
Just Ducky!!!
Just Ducky!!!
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
The only difference between my most recent batch and the one I posted, is the omission of the baking powder and I added the baking soda with the butter, shortening, and sugars in the hopes that the acid in the brown sugar would activate it more than just adding it with the flour. This is exactly the same as in the pro chef.

Its like I have some sort of curse.

I watched this batch in the oven. After about eight minutes they looked perfect, but I knew they weren't done, just would have been raw dough. They even looked fine when I first took them out of the oven, but when I let them sit for a minute they just completely deflate. The chocolate chips stick out of the cookie like a large pebble. I can't remember the last time I had someone elses Nestle Toll house cookies, but they never seem to be like this. Do they?

Another thing that I have noticed is that my cookies seem to be slightly greasier than others.

At this point I fairly convinced that I need to adjust the amount of fat or sugar, maybe even the flour as well. But I'm still perplexed by the fact that so many recipes are similar to the one above, which is essentially the same as the Nestle Toll House except the shortening and pastry flour, but the amounts are the same. Yet my cookies still leave something to be desired. ARRRGGGHHH.
post #9 of 9
If you haven't already, stick a thermometer in your oven to make sure its calibrated right. It could be baking to low. I will suggest that you follow recipes and not alter until you getting close to what you want. when your creaming and adding eggs make sure not to break. You may be under/or overmixing or maybe your are just jinxed!!!!!:D
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