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so I made these coconut cookies for the first time and everything tastes fine except for this added unflattering bitter aftertaste. The taste wasn't pungent but it did make the cookies not enjoyable to eat. The cookies also came out very flat even though it contained baking soda and I chilled the dough. I don't have proper dry measuring cups, so I didn't use any for the cookies. I also used an actual spoon to measure a teaspoon, would this make an actual difference in anything? I also think I might've used a little too much vanilla. What do you guys think could be the problem? Recipe: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/9589/chewy-coconut-cookies/

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
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    It would be helpful if the recipe was given. – MaxW Jun 7 '18 at 16:02
  • @MaxW : we don't need that. It's pretty assured that the measurements weren't accurate – Joe Jun 7 '18 at 16:12
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I added the list of ingredients to the question. To me there the only thing that could have a bitter aftertaste is the coconut. I'd wonder if the oils in the coconut are rancid.

For the next batch mix everything but the coconut. Make a couple of cookies out of the batter, then mix in the coconut into the rest of the batter. The difference in taste between the two types of cookies will tell you if it is the coconut that is the problem.

  • I really think it might be the coconut. They’ve might’ve expired. Thanks you – sloppycook Jun 7 '18 at 21:40
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Baking requires accurate measurements. In fact most people who bake seriously avoid volume measurements for anything but liquids, and use weight instead (with the exception of small quantities up to about a tablespoon, which affordable scales have only been able to measure accurately in recent years.

That said, there aren't any particularly bitter ingredients, except the baking soda, and you say the rise wasn't good. However baking soda needs to react with acid, and a shortage of acid would lead to both a poor rise and a bitter flavour. Coconut and butter are both slightly acidic, and even poor mixing of the soda and acid can cause bitterness and a poor rise

  • Thanks. What ingredient would be the acidity? – sloppycook Jun 7 '18 at 16:56
  • I was wondering that but am having trouble with the website on my phone (after a glimpse of the recipe it's replaced with some GDPR junk) – Chris H Jun 7 '18 at 17:02
  • Brown sugar also has some acidity to react with the baking soda. – derobert Jun 8 '18 at 8:34
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If you're going to bake most things, having accurate measurements are required. You're dealing with chemical reactions, and having the wrong proportion will throw off whatever it is you're trying to make. For example:

  • Too much baking soda : bitter taste
  • Improper acid to baking soda recipe (or using baking soda when it called for baking powder) : will not rise correctly
  • Too much fat for the amount of flour : will spread before they rise

Your standard tableware spoons are designed for functionality and maybe for how pretty they are -- it has nothing to do with how much volume they hold.

Now, it's possible that your grandmother and people in her generation got away with using them, but odds are, she wasn't following a book recipe, it was one that she had written down, and so was written for her specific spoons (that she got to after repeated attempts using trial & error).

Until you've cooked something so many times that you can get away with it by eye and feel (easier for breads & pies, harder for cakes & cookies), you're going to need to find ways to measure the correct proportions. It doesn't have to be a professional set (although, you can get plastic ones that'll do at most dollar stores), you just need the right proportions:

  • 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons
  • 1 cup ~= 16 tablespoons

And you're still going to have some variation as measuring flour by volume is still pretty inaccurate; you also need to know how the person who wrote the recipe measures it.

  • Thanks for the feedback. I also want to add that I measures 1/2 cup of melted butter but I think the recipe asked for 1/2 cup solid butter. Would this make a difference? – sloppycook Jun 7 '18 at 16:53
  • @sloppycook yes, you need slightly cool butter to cream it successfully with the sugar. – derobert Jun 8 '18 at 8:37

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