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I have a recipe for some chocolate chip cookies, and it's near and dear to my heart. I watched my mom making these when I was little, and it's older than I am, being from her mom too. They're both gone now though, and I have no idea what's wrong. I have not changed anything.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 butter flavored Crisco
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

I've been making these for the past 10 years, since my mom couldn't anymore, and only the past few years I've noticed the changes. The cookies themselves are much puffier than they're supposed to be, and though they mostly taste the same, there's a weird bit of aftertaste to them that I can't place. I also just now realized that the dough is kind of oily almost, and not sticking together like I remember it doing before, but again, haven't changed anything. I'd post a picture, but for some reason it won't let me...

I'd really like some ideas as to what I can do to fix these. They were something I loved helping my mom make when I was little, and it breaks my heart that I can't figure out what''s wrong with them.

  • 3
    One thing that has changed (within the past few years, as far as I know) is that nearly all chocolate chips (in the US market, anyway) now seem to contain butterfat, and that was not the case some years ago. Presumably it's cheaper than cocoa butter...WRT the after taste, you're not swapping baking soda for baking powder? – Ecnerwal Dec 18 '17 at 3:13
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    Crisco also changed in 2007, it was changed to eliminate tran-fats. Many bakers noticed that recipes they used Crisco in were not producing the same results after the change. – Debbie M. Dec 18 '17 at 4:43
  • I'm not doing any swaps, just using baking soda as the recipe calls for. I'll have to take a look at those changes though and see if I can figure anything out to work with that, thank you. – Vyj Dec 18 '17 at 7:02
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    Seems a lot of egg. Egg whites can definitely make a puffier cookie. Did you change the size of eggs? – Daniel Dec 18 '17 at 13:04
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    I agree with Daniel. It might be that something has changed outside of your control and you have to change to compensate. Using two eggs instead of three will shorten the cookies, as will switching to all butter instead of part butter part shortening. I would make sure there is no salt in the butter or shortening. And make sure you're buying what I'm confident should be large eggs and not extra large or jumbo eggs. – Todd Wilcox Dec 18 '17 at 21:25
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Short answer:

I suggest you try all butter

...and make sure you don't make it too soft before creaming it.


By comparison, here is a famous and popular chocolate chip cookie recipe (just the ingredients, not the process):

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Yours is very similar, and basically is the same except many of the ingredients have been scaled up about 30% (flour, butter/shortening, sugar, eggs).

I would say there are a few ways your results could change. First, if you accidentally buy a different size egg. Your recipe doesn't list the egg size, but it's almost certainly meant for large eggs. As Daniel commented, more egg will lead to a puffier cookie.

Second, if the formulation of the shortening has changed. The oiliness and the bitter aftertaste make me want to blame the shortening. Also, I personally dislike shortening. I suggest you at least try your recipe with all butter, by using 1 and 1/3 cups of fresh, high-quality unsalted butter. I would avoid cultured butter. If you can only find salted butter, you might cut the salt amount in half or omit it. Or you might like the extra saltiness. All-butter cookies come out a bit shorter and denser, but they should still be chewy and crispy and IMHO the flavor can't be beat. Notice that this famous recipe uses all butter. I think shortening actually entered these recipes back in the 1950s when butter might have been more expensive or harder to come by, not because shortening in any way improves the cookie.

Third, there may be something in your process that has changed slightly. The oiliness makes me wonder if the butter and/or shortening is becoming too soft or melted before you cream it with the sugar. It does matter the order in which you add the ingredients and the consistency of the butter and shortening when you cream it with the sugar can matter. Instead of using a microwave, just let the butter sit at room temperature for a little while before creaming it. If you use a stand mixer, you don't even need the butter that soft, just cut it into tablespoon sized pieces and let the mixer beat at it for a minute to soften it up and warm it a little.


Upon further thought:

I'm not sure about all the chemistry that might be going on, but I think Steve has a good thought in his answer when it comes to the flour. I don't agree that you're adding the "wrong" amount of flour, but normal changes in your kitchen environment can have a big change in how flour behaves.

If your problems persist, it could be that your kitchen and/or flour is too damp (Steve mentions temperature, but temperature and relative humidity are closely linked). Normally in cold weather our kitchens are dry, but many things can affect the humidity in a kitchen, such as unusual weather outside or other cooking going on (boiling water can put a lot of moisture into the air). Also, if you've kept your flour for a long time, it may have absorbed moisture and be retaining it even after the kitchen dries out.

Some ways to deal with environmental affects on flour:

  • Buy fresh flour and don't buy too much of it. Avoid having flour sitting around in your pantry or cupboard for months on end.
  • Transfer flour as soon as possible after you buy it to an airtight container (this is also a good idea for sugar - both often come in paper bags). Keep the container in a cool, dry place. Not the refrigerator, but a cabinet or cupboard that is not near any heat sources like the stove, oven, or back of the refrigerator.
  • Measure flour by weight, not volume. Get a good kitchen scale and determine the weight of a cup of your favorite flour. Convert your recipes to weight and then measure using the scale for future baking. If you need to make an adjustment, edit the recipe to show the new weight. If the flour gets too wet or too dry, you will automatically add more or less of it since the weight will change, but not the volume.
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This problem is happening to me. Got a recipe, used it successfully for a year or two, then suddenly they just stopped coming out amazing.

I put it down to me remembering the recipe wrong, the change of oven over that time and other factors.

Also, I notice that one batch can come out differently depending on what temperature I put them in at... If I refrigerate the batter for later cooking, they turn out much worse too. They're the same, but they are flakey. Flakey cookies? No thanks.

Try to forget the recipe, then do it all again adhering to the recipe written down as it is.

Your recipe looks fine to me. Sometimes the butter warming too much or melting creates an oily texture. I think you're like me, and you've forgot the timing and preparations BEFORE the cooking begins... it comes with a rushed life.

  • It's weird though, I DO look at the recipe. I don't have the original, as the paper was falling apart, but I wrote it down to the letter, and yet it just gets worse every time... I think this batch was the worst I've had yet, and didn't do anything different from before. :( – Vyj Dec 18 '17 at 2:00
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    Then it's time to start changing. I'm sure your relatives did! If it's too hard, make ingredients for a softer batch. Etc. It could be a change of environment like mine. – insidesin Dec 18 '17 at 2:15
  • They're the same, but they are flakey. Flakey cookies? No thanks. That's because when you refrigerate them, the little pockets of fat in the dough solidify when the dough hardens, so when you cook them, you get the little pockets of fat in the dough. It's why flaky pastry dough is prepared the way it is. – nick012000 Dec 20 '17 at 5:49
  • Interesting! @nick012000 – insidesin Dec 20 '17 at 5:56
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I'm an amateur but it sounds like your cookies contain too much flour. Focus on the consistency of your dough. Bake a batch of cookies from a different consistency of dough by adding the flour to the other ingredients last. Stop every once in a while when you add the flour to the batter and take out enough to make a cookie. Record the approximate amount of flour used to make the cookies somewhere.

The temperature of the environment you make the cookies in has changed hasn't it. Are you chilling your flour before use? Where you doing that when the cookies were good? All of this things can properly mess up baked goods.

Just out of curiosity, are you letting your cookie batter rest with baking flour in it?

If it's not what Todd said then it's probably this.

  • This sounds like a lot of mixing and that you're just as likely to confuse the results of overmixing with results of having too much flour. Stirring makes gluten which makes tough cookies. – Catija Dec 18 '17 at 23:15
  • @catija I must not have explained it well. Essentially, don't combine all of your flour with your cookie batter at once. Add it in increments. Make a test cookie for every level of flour that you think might be relevant. – Steve Dec 18 '17 at 23:22
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    Right, that's how I understood it, and every time you incorporate more flour, you have to mix it in completely. By the time you've added all the flour, the flour already in the dough at the beginning has gotten over worked. – Catija Dec 18 '17 at 23:25
  • @Catija true, but it shouldn't be worked too much if you're combining it, especially since you have oil in the recipe to help hinder the formation of gluten. You also don't need to produce good cookies with this test, you just need to see the difference in results and then attempt to use the information gained from this to recreate the desired effect on another batch. You could just make smaller batches if you're really that concerned about over developing gluten. – Steve Dec 18 '17 at 23:32
  • I've made the famous recipe I quoted many times, and the asker's recipe is essentially the same proportions. I doubt they are using too much flour. – Todd Wilcox Dec 19 '17 at 17:14
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This has been mentioned already, but it's kind of hidden in among a bunch of other advice: I'm almost certain your problems are due to changes in the formulation of Crisco. Puffier than they used to be, almost oily in texture, and weird aftertaste all point to the shortening being the culprit.

One test to try might be to make the recipe with unflavored Crisco: if you still get the texture issues but without the weird aftertaste, I'd take that as proof.

The solution is probably to switch to an all-butter recipe, but if you want to stick to this recipe out of sentimental reasons, try replacing the shortening with lard: just from an ingredients standpoint, lard is closer to (unflavored) shortening than butter would be.

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