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Chocolate chip cookies

vptara's picture

Hi--I ran into a problem this year with cookies that I have been baking since I was 10 (40 years ago!) and I cannot figure out what is wrong.  I am using the Original Toll House recipe (no nuts) and the cookies are coming out as flat as can be.  They are always soft and puffy.  I did buy a 25 lb. bag of "All Purpose Flour" (I usually use King Arthur) could this possibly be it?    I give cookies each year as gifts and everyone loves the chocolate chip ones the best.  It will not be the case this year.  Any ideas of what could be wrong?  Thank you.

inthegarden's picture

you're right to suspect the flour, if that's the only change you made to making these cookies and you haven't moved to a higher altitude.  You didn't mention if the flour was bleached, which can also make a difference (King Arthur's is unbleached).  The basic problem sounds like less gluten development, which helps cookies hold their shape.  You can try again and chill the cookies before baking them.  If this doesn't work, there are various other adjustments you can try (similar to high altitude adjustments).

slwhit's picture

Please mention what the other tweaks are -- I have had exactly the same problem with the Toll House recipe for many years now, and using several different flours. They taste great, but look ugly.

ADodge's picture

As you can see from the responses already posted, this is a hot topic and a common complaint.
You haven't made a substantial flour change (protein content is similar) for this type of cookie, so I think you're ok on that front. Two things come to mind that you might want to check out. First, I know I'm always mentioning this but... do you weigh your ingredients - both flour and sugar? It's the key to consistent results between your own batches as well as the author's intent.
Secondly, what's your kitchen temp? This is a repeating theme (see Toffee Bar thread) and it can definitely affect certain recipes. If your kitchen is on the warmer side, the butter in your cookie dough can end up quite soft and, therefore, spread more during baking. I agree with the posted suggestion to chill the dough a bit before baking. Shape the dough into balls and chill in the frig while the oven is preheating or about 10 minutes. Bake off one sheet and check the results -- you might need to chill a bit more for better results.Next time you might want to start with slightly colder butter.

I, on the other hand, keep my northeastern kitchen pretty darn cold - much to my family's dismay - and on top of that chilly fact, my counters are right up against the windows. This means that my cookie doughs can firm up way faster than I'd like. For instance, I made a batch of the Chocolate Crackles (#89) last night and I let my chocolate cool too much before adding it to the rest of the batter. Between my chilly spot and the cool melted butter, my batter was very stiff and didn't spread during baking as much as I would have liked. Still delicious but next time (that would be tomorrow), I'll be sure to start with slightly warmer butter and keep my melted chocolate on the warmer side!
Lastly, if high altitude is in your life, you can try reducing the leavener by a smidgen and/or decreasing your sugar by a few tablespoons. (check out the high altitude thread)

asklej's picture

I, too, have this problem.  It started about 15 years ago.  I have tried everything, called every hotline, and am not able to solve this problem.  I use only unsalted butter, at room temp.  Have melted the butter, suggested by a website devoted to chocolate chip cookies, I've chilled the dough, my cookie sheets are not warm when I put the unbaked cookies on them, etc.  It's not  my oven, as I've lived in three houses since it started.  I am an accomplished baker, so I'm very frustrated with this.  Just wanted to let you know you are not alone.  Please let me know if you ever solve this problem.  Thank you.

elsiela's picture

If you are using all butter, the cookies will always be flatter.   If you want nice thick

cookies, you'll have to use shortening (or 1/2 and 1/2) and lose the rich butter taste.

ADodge's picture

Hi All,
You might want to try my recipe for One Pot Chocolate Chip Cookies form The Weekend Baker. It's a melted butter base and makes thick n' chewy cookies. Technically, I'm not allowed to reprint the recipe here (copyright stuff, etc) but there might be a CT'er who can post ;)
(pssst... cookimonster or madmom???)
Also, for those that do have my TWB, try using 1/2 teaspoon baking SODA instead of the 1 teaspoon baking powder..