My name is Chris and my daughters name is Maggie (9yr) She’s doing s science fair project and we have a question we need help with.

Her science project is baking choc chip cookies 3 different ways to see how they change. 1. with melted butter 2. with room temp butter 3. with cold butter

We are having the hardest time trying to figure out why they are changing because of the different butters.

Do you have any idea why? If you have time to field this questions she would really be very grateful.

Thank you so much for your time, Maggie and Chris

  • It's hard to tell because it depends on what you're doing with the butter and dough - like, are you melting/creaming and then chilling the room temp/cold butter? how cold/warm is the dough before you pop it in the oven? May I suggest regardless that you work backwards from what makes a good cookie dough? Something like sweets.seriouseats.com/2013/12/… Jan 22, 2015 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


It all comes down to "creaming".

When you mix granulated sugar with solid (cold or cool) butter (creaming), the volume increases thanks to little-itty-bitty bubbles in the fat. That creates a kind of leavening. The bubbles get bigger as the item bakes.

Melted butter doesn't do that at all, and very softened butter does it very little.

So, different temperatures of butter in the batter make for different cookies, even if everything else is the same.

For an added factor in your daughter's experiment, try butter flavored shortening. It has a higher melting temperature and added emulsifiers. Shortening makes for more, but smaller, bubbles.

Here's a pretty good blog on the subject of The Creaming Method. The article covers temperature at length.

See also: What is the purpose of creaming butter with sugar in cookie recipes?

  • Also if you don't chill the dough, the the will be at different temperatures going into the oven so they'll spread differently, right?
    – Cascabel
    Jan 22, 2015 at 7:52
  • @Jefromi Sure, but I don't see that as a part of the question. "1. with melted butter 2. with room temp butter 3. with cold butter" That's a creaming method issue, a separate issue from the temperature of the dough. A common struggle for bakers of cookies is reusing the cookie sheet for repeated batches (so it's hot), that can cause cookies to be different too. But again, a different issue from the temperature of the butter.
    – Jolenealaska
    Jan 22, 2015 at 8:28

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