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I have been making the same chocolate-chip cookies for a while. Last week, after baking a batch and removing from the oven, they expanded and became flat.

Usually they stay in the same shape when removed from the oven, (thick and chewy) this time is the only time my cookies really expanded and became flat.

I bake them from the freezer.

What could have gone wrong? too much or too little baking soda? I usually put 1 tsp of baking soda per 3 1/2 cups of regular white flour.

  • 3 things come to mind. Is there any chance you used baking soda today, but baking powder in the past? Do you use an oven thermometer? Have you changed pans (particularly from shiny to dark)? – Jolenealaska Oct 19 '14 at 19:23
  • Hi, All that you mentioned - I did exactly as I always do. I made the previous cookie batch 2 weeks prior to this "bad" one and used the same baking soda and pan. I bake them at 175 degrees. The only difference I can think of is using colder butter when preparing the batch (not at room temperature as usual) and maybe putting too much/little baking powder. – Karinushka Oct 20 '14 at 6:24
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    Read your last comment again. Is it just a typo, or is there some question between baking powder/baking soda? That is actually THE easiest way to get flat or domed cookies from the 'same" recipe. See: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/45123/… – Jolenealaska Oct 20 '14 at 6:31
  • Definitely used baking soda :) And exactly the same one I used in the precious batched. I baked another tray of the cookies yesterday, they flattened after baking again, so it's definitely something in the ingredients that's off. I read the link you sent - and the difference could have been using too cold of a butter, and not at room temperature. – Karinushka Oct 20 '14 at 6:35
  • Then an inaccurate measurement is most most likely culprit. Baking soda isn't going to go bad suddenly like that, and it doesn't affect rising much. Straight from the freezer it's not likely to be butter temperature especially going in that direction (colder than in the past). Same pan? That pretty much leaves measurement error. – Jolenealaska Oct 20 '14 at 6:41
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There are many reasons why this can be happening, cookies will spread more if the oven is not at the right temperature, try preheating for 20 minutes before you put cookies in the oven. Our ovens sometimes change through time and it might not be hot enough. Another thing could be that you added more sugar than before, sugar tends to make the cookies also spread if you add more that you were supposed too. Another one could be, since air will cause cookies to spread, you don't want to whip too much air into the cookie dough when you're creaming the butter and sugar together. Only cream for as long as it takes to combine the butter and sugar, which might only be 30 seconds or so. Beyond that and you're just incorporating too much air. SO check on this things and maybe something here rings a bell, this has happened to me when I have substituted margarine for butter, and sometimes yeah I tend to cream a bit long cause I get distracted. So yup check on this things :)

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There are number of reasons behind this like may be you used baking soda in your recipe.Now a days baking powder is used by bakers to make the perfect cookies. Softened butter is used instead of melted butter and make sure to cool down your cookie dough before baking.

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Some other thoughts:

  • Baking soda does expire. You might try to use it once more to see if that behavior continues.
  • Butter content will also affect the shape of a cookie. Could the measurement have been different Was the butter different somehow this time?
  • The butter was colder than usual, not at room temp as should have been. Could that make such a huge difference? I did freeze the cookies after making the batch and bake them almost directly from the freezer. – Karinushka Oct 20 '14 at 6:28
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    @Karinushka : yes, it'll make a difference, especially if the recipe calls for creaming (as the butter won't cream if too cold). Another possibility on the 'too much better' is actually too litle flour -- if you're measuring by scooping, you're more prone to getting inconsistent results than if you weigh it or even spoon into the measuring cup. – Joe Oct 24 '14 at 0:10

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