Here's a recipe from a package of chocolate chips (edited, but not substantively):

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup softened butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 package [=12 ounces] chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat…. Combine…. Add…. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto non-greased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Recipe yields approximately 2 dozen cookies.

Now, I figure we can't count powdery ingredients like flour as adding their full volume to the batter: they get condensed when wet. But the liquid ingredients should add their full volume: specifically, the cup of butter should account for a cup of batter. The cup of brown sugar is firmly packed (and it's pretty moist, too), so I figure it should account for another cup of batter, or very nearly. Finally, all the other ingredients — including 2¼ cups of flour, two eggs, and a lot of chocolate — surely add at least another cup to the batter. So we've got at least three cups of batter.

The yield is about two dozen cookies, so each cookie is made of:
(at least 3 cups of batter) ÷ (about two dozen) = (at least one fluid ounce of batter).

Yet the recipe calls for the cookies to be made of "rounded teaspoonfuls", surely not fluid ounces. (A fluid ounce is six (flat) teaspoonfuls.)

Where did I go wrong in my reasoning? (Or is there simply a mistake in the recipe as printed?)

2 Answers 2


That recipe, which I've made many, many times, yields approx 5-6 dozen cookies if a rounded tablespoon is used as a gauge. For that amount of dough to only yields 2 dozen cookies, they would each be approx. the size of a golfball, maybe. I believe your recipe has a mistake in yield. Check out this link to a similar recipe (nestle Toll House cookies):


  • 1
    A golfball is about 40.65ml in volume which tallies well with my answer :-) Nov 15, 2012 at 1:35
  • 1
    @chrissteinbach, Woo-hoo! What a team we are! :-) Nov 15, 2012 at 2:00

Here are my estimates assuming a 240ml cup:

  • Flour (retains roughly a third of its volume after being mixed with water): 180ml
  • Sugar (retains roughly half its volume): 150ml
  • Butter: 240ml
  • 2 eggs (assuming large US size): 92ml
  • 12oz chocolate chips: 550ml

Total volume: 1212ml

Per cookie (assuming a yield of 2 dozen): 50ml (or about 3 1/3 tbsp)

I think it quite likely that there is a mistake and that tablespoons was meant and not teaspoons. As Kristina noted in her answer, to make 2 dozen cookies you would need to use a golfball-sized lump of dough for each cookie.

  • 1
    @ChrisSteinbach, your calculated dough portion size is for a yield of 2 dozen cookies? OP may want to know that and also how big the resulting cookie would be. (love your calc's btw!) Nov 14, 2012 at 17:07
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    @Kristina Yes, I calculated with 2 dozen cookies. I've not tested this recipe so I would have to guess the cookie size. I imagine they would be between 4 and 5 inches in diameter depending on how much they spread out and about 6 or 7mm thick. I'll make a more accurate estimate if I get time. Nov 14, 2012 at 21:04
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    @ChrisSteinbach, I think your estimate is pretty good. The rounded TBSP makes an approx. 3-in. cookie and yields 5-6 dozen. Nov 14, 2012 at 21:06
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    @Joe I've always assumed that a rounded spoon measure is about twice the volume of a flat measure so that the heap on top is roughly symmetrical with the bowl of the spoon. And a heaped spoon, for me, is as much as I can balance on the spoon. I think it quite possible that I have invented these differences myself. I'll edit if that turns out to be the case. Nov 14, 2012 at 21:18
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    When recipes mention teaspoons for scooping up the dough to drop onto the cookie sheet, I'd always inferred the kind we stir beverages with, not the measuring ones which would yield much smaller, although more precisely equal in size cookies. But regardless of the measuring or scooping device, I would interpret heaping vs. rounded exactly as @Chris Steinbach does. Nov 17, 2012 at 6:25

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