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I would like to know the difference in the final result if we use softened butter or melted butter in an ordinary cookie recipe.

A few days ago i baked chocolate chips cookies i waited for the butter to get the room temperature and then i smoothed the butter with the mixer (...) and at the end i put the cookie dough in the frighe. I just wondered what if i melt the butter so i will not have to wait for the butter to get soft, anyway i will put the cookie dough in the frighe later. But what will change? Some recipes demand for butter in room temperature softened and to turn sugar and butter mixture into a fluffy outcome. Some other recipes demand to melt the butter and sugar in low heat.

What is the logic behind what each recipe demands? And why?

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See cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/1/… –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 20 '13 at 23:55
    
There are many questions & answers on getting optimum results for chocolate chip cookies but your question is about the difference between a soft butter cookie and a melted butter cookie so for that I'm upvoting your question. –  Kristina Lopez Jan 21 '13 at 19:00
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2 Answers 2

There are many factors in play such as the type of sugars, amount of eggs or other sources of hydration, amount and type of leavening and so forth, but as an overall generalization:

  • Melting the butter will lead to chewier cookies
  • Creaming colder/room temperature butter with sugar will lead to cookies with a higher, more cake like texture.
  • Refrigerating the dough before baking will help inhibit spread because the butter is colder, and takes longer to melt. It is also gives time for the liquid in the recipe to hydrate the flour. See What does an overnight chill do to cookie dough, that a 4 hour chill doesn't?

See the transcript of Alton Brown's Three Chips for Sister Marsha episode for a good treatment of chocolate chip cookies and their variations.

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Thank you so much! –  Felissa Jan 21 '13 at 0:25
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My experience is that every cookie I've baked that has a base of:

  • softened butter
  • white & brown sugar
  • egg
  • baking soda
  • flour

    (which are most chocolate chip recipes), melted butter (or even too soft, almost melted butter) will result in very flat, almost toffee-like cookies. Not that they're bad, they can be quite tasty if you can get past the look of them (like a lunar landscape).

I'm sure there are others on this site that can give the exact chemical and molecular reason for the need for softened, not melted butter, but from my many years experience as a cookie baker, that is my observation.

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Thank you so much your answer was very usefull to me! –  Felissa Jan 21 '13 at 19:50
    
@Felissa - glad to help - good luck with your cookies! :-) –  Kristina Lopez Jan 21 '13 at 20:10
4  
The exact reason is that leavening does not create new bubbles in dough, but increases the ones made by creaming butter with crystal sugar. If you use melted butter (or powdered sugar), you get non-leavened, chewy cookies despite including baking powder. And yes, there are recipes for those too, and they do indeed prescribe melted butter. –  rumtscho Jan 21 '13 at 20:20
    
Thanks @rumtscho! I knew you'd be at the forefront of the experts! Excellent explanation. I've made many varieties of cookies over the years, including those with melted butter, and there's a beauty and uniqueness to each of them, for sure. –  Kristina Lopez Jan 21 '13 at 20:25
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