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This is the basic recipe I used (taken from http://www.yuppiechef.com/spatula/the-science-behind-chocolate-chip-cookies/):

  • 8 oz (about 225g) unsalted butter
  • 10 oz (about 1.5 cups) sugar
  • 12 oz (about 2.75 cups) flour
  • 2 large eggs – these will soften the cookies and help make them nice and ‘puffy’
  • 1 tsp baking soda – to help the cookies rise, and also to brown
  • 1 tsp salt – to bring out the flavour

To clarify I definitely used bicarb (the UK version of baking soda). The butter was softened and I used everyday plain flour. I substituted half of the sugar with soft dark brown sugar, so about 5oz brown sugar and 5oz caster sugar. Instead of using chocolate chips, I used about 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract and about a dessert spoon of ground cinnamon for the flavour.

I followed the mixing and refrigeration instructions to a T and the dough was left in the fridge overnight. It came out of the fridge lovely and stiff and I was able to form balls of dough without any mess left on my hands.

I tested 2 balls of cookie dough, and they've come out nicely browned but they're flat cakes (spread out with a small hump in the middle), not cookies! The texture is that of a sponge that hasn't risen. The oven had been preheated to 160 degrees Celsius because it's old and a bit temperamental. If I'd had it at 180 degrees, they would've burned for sure.

I was hoping these would come out moist and chewy. Where did I go wrong?

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Why are you using a chocolate chip cookie recipe if you don't want chocolate chips? You would be better off finding a butter cookie or sugar cookie recipe that has the characteristics you desire. –  SAJ14SAJ Sep 10 '13 at 10:50
    
I didn't know the difference! It was the first time I made cookies from scratch. –  cornishninja Sep 16 '13 at 21:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The original author is in error adding baking soda (bicarbonate), and indicating it will help rise. For leavening, you require acid for the sodium bicarbonate to react with. The original base recipe has no significant acid ingredients; even the modified version you used has only a trivial amount of acid from the molasses in the brown sugar.

Therefore, the only effect of the baking soda is to increase the pH of the dough, which will encourage browning. However, as the cookies are full of sugar, encouraging browning is not generally a problem.


The creaming method creates bubbles in the solid phase butter, and encourages rising and a more cake-like result, especially when paired with an effective leavening agent.

Resting the dough also hydrates the flour, and allows the butter to re-solidify, both of which inhibit spread and contribute to a higher cookie.

For a chewier result, do not use the creaming method. Melt the butter instead, and then combine your ingredients.

You may also choose to reduce the baking soda to reduce the metallic taste it brings without anything to react with.

If the cookies are now too dense, you might try adding (starting with smaller amounts) 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp or so of baking powder which has its own acid to react with, to help leaven the cookies.

See also:

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Thanks, I'll refer back to your answer next time I make cookies. :) –  cornishninja Sep 16 '13 at 21:50

The main problem is the bicarb. The recipe you are using is for a cakey cookie, not a chewy cookie. The bicarb is a rising agent which dramatically changes the structure of the cookie. Leave the bicarb out next time and you'll get a chewier cookie.

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Unfortunately leaving it out didn't make a lot of difference. Thanks anyway. –  cornishninja Sep 16 '13 at 21:51

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