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I tried making this recipe: http://kirbiecravings.com/2012/01/nutella-cookie-crisps.html However, since I am not in the USA, I had to convert cups to grams. It ended up being about 300g Nutella, 200g soft brown sugar, and the 6 tablespoons of flour came out to 62g. I used 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1 large egg and about 120g of chocolate chips, as the recipe indicates.

The recipe said that the dough would be sticky and wet, because of the nutella, but mine wasn't. It was dry, difficult to mix the chocolate chips into it because they wouldn't 'stick' in and kept falling apart. I initially used 280g nutella, but seeing this consistency problem I added another 20g. This seemed to make it worse, and make the dough even more crumbly.

When baked for 10 minutes at 180C, after cooling and setting, the cookies taste overwhelmingly of raw brown sugar and just fall apart. They're slightly crisp outside, but the inside is soft and crumbly and just tastes of sugar. I know that 200g of brown sugar certainly isn't more than 1 cup, so I have no idea what's gone wrong.

I tried baking one of the cookies for a further 5 minutes, but it hasn't made any difference. I still have half the dough in the fridge, so if someone could help me salvage it, I'd be very grateful!

ETA: I was aiming for the cookies to be crisp on the outside, with a chewy, toffee-like consistency in the middle.

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Thank you everyone! I also re-read the Serious Eats article on cookies (sweets.seriouseats.com/2013/12/…) and saw it specifically says that it's the dissolved sugar that gives the caramel taste, which is what my cookies were missing, in addition to the insufficiently hydrated flour. I hope that by dissolving the sugar in the eggs thoroughly beforehand & using the corrected conversion for flour, I'll achieve the hardened caramely effect I was hoping for. –  Anastasia Apr 26 at 14:46

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think your main issue was unit conversion, particularly for the flour (you had too much) and the chocolate chips (too little).

1 cup Nutella                           [300 grams][1]
1 cup brown sugar                       200 grams 
1 tsp baking soda                       
1 large egg
6 tablespoons flour                     45 grams flour 
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips         Appx 150-175 grams depending on reference site

I base the flour calculation on (6 / 16 tablespoons / cup) * 4.25 oz canonical cup for US recipes * 28.3 grams / ounce. The cup weight for flour can vary but I find 4.25 oz is a good value for recipes that don't otherwise specify.

Given that you have too much flour, probably insufficiently hydrated (the egg yolk and nutella are the only sources of water in the recipe, and I don't know how much water is in nutella), you can try adding a little more egg yolk or water to see if it helps, but your best bet would be to start a fresh batch.

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Thanks! I thought I was safe with the flour because I actually used a teaspoon (levelled) for it. Could the flour being insufficiently hydrated be responsible for the cookies tasting overpoweringly of brown sugar? I'll try adding egg yolk to the remaining mixture, just in case. –  Anastasia Apr 25 at 23:38
1  
Although it sounds silly, I think all of the brown sugar is the reason for the brown sugar flavor. :-) –  SAJ14SAJ Apr 26 at 0:18
    
"cup weight for can vary" - no kidding, ATK says it's 5oz. But really, cookie recipes can be very sensitive, so when you're dealing with a recipe from someone's blog, even if you do everything right by their recipe, it still might not come out right. (Maybe their flour was less packed, maybe they're lazy in their measurements...) –  Jefromi Apr 26 at 1:08
    
Aha, yes I guess that might be why it tastes sugary. Thank you both, and thank you for so much information SAJ14SAJ. I'll try adding some egg to what's in the fridge, if only to experiment with it before throwing it out. I kinda hate US recipes that use volume measurements :( I will have another go with the corrected conversions though. –  Anastasia Apr 26 at 1:13

I think there is a better explanation than the flour conversion. First, 4.25oz is on the low side as a conversion factor, Cookwise uses a factor of somewhere over 5oz. Second, we are talking about a recipe which started out as "flourless" and the author put in just enough flour to keep them from turning into puddles. I doubt that a bit more flour will ruin them, seeing that the initial amount was so low.

Since you mention that you are from Europe, I think you have used the wrong sugar. The brown colored sugar sold in Europe is frequently just "raw sugar" or similar, which is the same as white sugar, but with somewhat darker color. It is completely dry, and melts a bit worse than white sugar. Both the falling apart and the "sugar taste" sound like you ended up crunching on this kind of crystals.

When Americans bake with "brown sugar", they use gooey stuff where there are still lots of melasses clinging to the crystals. This stuff is wet, and sticks together. You can sometimes get it from specialty stores which import foreign products (UK shops will have it too). In many recipes, it is also an option to "make your own" by using a mix of white sugar and some syrup - melasses if you can get them, some other liquid "sugar" if you can't (beet syrup, agave syrup, golden syrup, etc.) This works well in other doughs where the sugar is added for taste. I am a bit more skeptical here, where it's not just the ratio of moisture that matters, but the wet sugar is a major structural component. Maybe you can mix it and leave it for a day or two before baking.

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Cookwise is an extreme outlier with a 5.00 ounce cup. Even King Arthur uses a 4.5 ounce cup. 4.25 approximates the dip and sweep method. Lower values are possible with the sift and sweep method. But 4.25 to 4.5 is a very good guess for recipes that don't specify; 5.00 would be too high. Brown sugar is not gooey, or even wet. It is at best, damp, although it feels fairly dry to the touch and has discrete sugar crystals. It has, at most, 3-6 percent molasses added, not all of which is water. Moisture balance may still be at issue, but brown sugar is not an overwhelming source. –  SAJ14SAJ Apr 26 at 14:11
    
I think you are thinking of golden caster sugar or Demerara sugar, but it's possible that I did use the wrong sugar as we have 5-6 kinds of brown sugar in the UK. This is a reasonable list: bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/sugar I used soft Light Brown Sugar, which doesn't in any way taste like regular white (caster) sugar, golden caster sugar or Demerara sugar, it has a rich, golden syrupy taste. But I will do some research and see if there's a definitive answer for what UK sugar most closely resembles US brown sugar. –  Anastasia Apr 26 at 14:21
    
Then you might have used the right one. I live in Germany, and here, and also in other countries in continental Europe, I have seen only one type of "brown" sugar. See my old question for details, cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/20615/…. Whatever you used, I suspect that the darkest and wettest brown sugar you can find will work best to solve your problem. –  rumtscho Apr 26 at 14:26
    
Ah, that looks like Demerara, which is really the only coarse granulated brown sugar we have. The darkest would be muscovado, so I will try a batch with that as well. I was also thinking maybe if I start with the egg and add the sugar, I can dissolve the sugar in the egg, which might help? And correct the flour & chocolate chips amounts ofc. –  Anastasia Apr 26 at 14:35
    
@Anastasia dissolving it is certainly a good idea. Maybe also adding the nutella before the flour. And yes, do the correction with the flour too. (The chocolate chips are unlikely to be the problem, just add as much as you like). –  rumtscho Apr 26 at 14:39

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