I'm baking cookies using recipe from Ruhlman's Ratio, which goes something like this:

  • 100g butter
  • 90g sugar
  • 160g flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda (I use baking powder)
  • 150g chocolate chips

I scoop the dough using my ice cream scoop and have nice good tasting round cookies come out. They are rather tall and domed.

What can I adjust to get flatter cookies like in the following picture? What difference would it make if I, say melted the butter first, then combined with sugar and egg (like brownie batter) and then mixed with my dry ingredients? Or does my use of baking powder cause the difference?

This is what I would like my result to look like:

This is what I would like my result to look like

This is what it looks like:

This is what it looks like


2 Answers 2


Baking powder instead of baking soda could certainly cause that dome. Baking soda requires an acid to leaven, baking powder has that acid included. Cookies don't have a lot of acid on their own so baking soda doesn't cause them to rise much.

The baking soda is in a recipe like that to help with browning by altering the PH, soda makes the dough more alkaline. Since baking powder includes an acid, it doesn't have the same effect on the PH of the dough. That's probably why your cookies aren't as nicely brown as the ones in the other picture.

Try using the baking soda next time, let us know how it it goes.

Concerning your butter, you might like what melting it does, see Why is there a difference between softened and melted butter when baking?, but I'd definitely recommend trying the baking soda first.

  • Ok, I will try it. In these parts pretty much all we ever use is baking powder. So you're saying it would be entirely possible to bake cookies without any chemical leavener at all?
    – VoY
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 6:29
  • 1
    Soda is not critical in that recipe, but it does serve a purpose. Are you saying that soda is hard for you to get? That would really surprise me. There are good recipes for chocolate chip cookies that don't require any leavening other than eggs. I'll post one for you in just a bit.
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 6:57
  • 1
    It's not that I can get it -- I can, it's just that most recipes tend to use baking powder, so I'm more likely to run out of soda :-). Thanks for all the help!
    – VoY
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 7:02
  • 1
    Oh good, they're better with soda :) Here's one without soda or powder: bakerbettie.com/… This one asks for brown sugar instead of granulated specifically because they don't brown as well without baking soda. Since you're specifically wanting flat cookies, I'd definitely recommend avoiding baking powder and sticking with soda. Baking powder is generally used when the dome is desired.
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 7:11
  • @Jolenealaska separate from the cookies question, don't be surprised if it is hard for somebody to get soda. I get the feel that it is so ubiquitous in the USA just because of good marketing, people there seem to buy it by the box and use it for things it is obviously unsuited for (such as removing the odor of new plastic). It is rare here in Germany, only available in larger stores with a well-stocked baking aisle. Baking powder is available in much more stores.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:01

I have found that lowering the temperature creates a flatter cookie as well. I once used a recipe that called for the temperature to be at 325° F (163° C), but would result in flat cookies. The cookies would rise in the oven, but when you took them out, they would deflate and become flat. However, when I raised the temperature to 375° F (191° C) the cookies would retain their leavening much more substantially.

I believe it has to do with the fact that higher temperatures cook the exterior of the cookie much faster than the interior. This allows the outside of the cookie to completely set before the carbon dioxide is completely released into the interior of the cookie, which traps more of the CO₂.

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