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So I followed the recipe posted here to get some pretty standard chocolate chip cookies:

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/ultimate-chocolate-chip-cookies/77c14e03-d8b0-4844-846d-f19304f61c57

But when I pulled it out of the oven, the edges were browned but the centers doughy and soft, almost undercooked even.

My first thought that my oven was too hot, but I'm not entirely sure, and I'm not sure what I should be looking at. My choice in baking pan might be suspect, or maybe its because this is a convection oven (it's got a fan that keeps blowing the air around). Any thoughts?

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If the edges burn and the center is undone, it means the heat didn't have enough time to reach the relatively cool center before the edge was too hot. The temperature gradient depends on the amount of heat from your oven and the size of your cookie - and to some degree on the thermal properties of your cookie sheet.

You have mentioned the two "usual suspects" in your question:

Oven temperature and convection.

  • Ovens thermostats are notorious for being quite a bit "off". A good oven thermometer placed on the middle rack can give you a precise measurement and even helps you to recognize whether it's a "fluctuating" issue or whether your oven is generally running high or low.
  • Convection can change the way the oven heat is distributed to your cookies. Most recipes I'm familiar with suggest lowering the temperature by 25C / 50F if using the convection feature. This is not necessarily always the ideal solution, some types of cakes simply turn out better without the convection feature. (But that's a gigantic can of worms that I won't be opening here: Many bakers have their own view on this.)

If those two don't help, look into the type of cookie sheet and the temperature of your dough when it's put in the oven - chilled dough will behave differently from room temperature dough, for example.

  • Could you elaborate on the differences between chilled and room temperature dough (in my case, the dough just happened to be chilled in the fridge prior to cooking. I did so to make it easier to shape)? Would lowering the temperature of the oven (for use with a convection oven) still apply if the dough was chilled, and/or would you recommend that I bring the dough up to room temperature prior to cooking in my case? – Enrico Tuvera Jr May 26 '16 at 10:52
  • @cornjuliox, chilling influences the way the dough spreads - the fat is harder and takes longer to soften. You probably had a comparatively "thick" center while the edge started to spread. I'm not a cookie pro (more a cake and bread person), but I would probably lower the temp. I'd appreciate the input of other users on that point. – Stephie May 26 '16 at 10:57
  • Am I right in thinking that lowering the temperature would allow the cookie to bake more evenly? – Enrico Tuvera Jr May 26 '16 at 12:13
  • @cornjuliox - that's what I'm thinking too. – Stephie May 26 '16 at 12:53
  • @cornjuliox Sounds like you have two indicators for lowering temperature - cold dough and convection oven. Granted, I don't change oven temp for cold dough but I don't also have a convection oven... I also like my cookies soft in the center. – Catija May 26 '16 at 14:42
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Besides these cookies potentially being undercooked, I've found that some cookies just come out this way, and need to cool completely before being eaten. Cooling allows for the center to solidify a bit more, giving them a gooey texture, with a crisp crust around the edges.

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