Baking (rec.food.baking) For bakers, would-be bakers, and fans and consumers of breads, pastries, cakes, pies, cookies, crackers, bagels, and other items commonly found in a bakery. Includes all methods of preparation, both conventional and not.

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Old 11-12-2003, 06:16 PM
Thomas R. Leith
 
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Default Cookies Spread Too Much

Hi --

The thread on baking sheets makes me think I can get some advice here.

I've been having troubles with my toll-house recipe chocolate chip cookeis
and snickerdoodles "spreading" too much for several years. (I only bake at
Christmas, so this isn't so drastic as it sounds).

I'd thought maybe butter nowadays has a higher milk content or soemthing,
and I should try to adjust the flour upwards to compensate. But the
cookiesheet thread suggests a couple more possibilities.

We use air-cushioned pans. Do they not heat-up quick enough, and let the
butter melt before the flour, sugar, and eggs start to "set"? Can this be
why my cookies are too flat?

We bought a box of frozen, unbaked cookies from some school fundraiser and
we don't have trouble with these. But maybe they're made with shortening
instead of butter, or baking them from frozen mitigates the problem.

Any ideas??

t



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Old 11-12-2003, 06:26 PM
Karen
 
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Default Cookies Spread Too Much

Thomas R. Leith wrote:

I've been having troubles with my toll-house recipe chocolate chip cookeis
and snickerdoodles "spreading" too much for several years. (I only bake at
Christmas, so this isn't so drastic as it sounds).


I read an article several years ago that suggest the culprit could be
butter than has sat at room temperature too long. This article suggested
no more than 10 minutes. I have a powerful Kenwood so I usually use
butter right from the refrigerator for cookies, and have never had a
problem with spreading.

Karen

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Old 11-12-2003, 06:50 PM
Vox Humana
 
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Default Cookies Spread Too Much


"Thomas R. Leith" wrote in message
link.net...
Hi --

The thread on baking sheets makes me think I can get some advice here.

I've been having troubles with my toll-house recipe chocolate chip cookeis
and snickerdoodles "spreading" too much for several years. (I only bake at
Christmas, so this isn't so drastic as it sounds).

I'd thought maybe butter nowadays has a higher milk content or soemthing,
and I should try to adjust the flour upwards to compensate. But the
cookiesheet thread suggests a couple more possibilities.

We use air-cushioned pans. Do they not heat-up quick enough, and let the
butter melt before the flour, sugar, and eggs start to "set"? Can this be
why my cookies are too flat?

We bought a box of frozen, unbaked cookies from some school fundraiser and
we don't have trouble with these. But maybe they're made with shortening
instead of butter, or baking them from frozen mitigates the problem.

Any ideas??


You are on the right track. While there are several factors that can
influence the spread of cookies, the profile of the fat is the most likely
cause of your problem. Butter has a relatively low melting point and melts
sharply. It goes from solid to liquid in a flash. Hydrogenated vegetable
shortening melts at a higher temperature and not as sharply as butter. The
cookies you bought most likely were made with solid vegetable shortening
(like Crisco).

I use half butter, half shortening in my toll-house cookies. I bake them on
standard aluminum cookie sheets lined with parchment. They don't spread
much. I also make up large batches of the dough, make up the cookies,
freeze them individually, and then bag the frozen, raw cookies. When I want
a few cookies, I take a few from the freezer and bake them from the frozen
state, adding about 5 minutes to the normal baking time. I have noticed
that these cookies spread even less than the ones baked from the unfrozen
dough.

I would first try changing the fat. If that isn't satisfactory, try new
baking sheets. You also might want to reduce the temperature 25 degrees
with the insulated baking sheets to delay the melting of the butter in the
dough. Freezing the dough shouldn't be necessary but can be considered as a
convenience.


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Old 11-12-2003, 08:01 PM
Rona Yuthasastrakosol
 
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Default Cookies Spread Too Much


"Thomas R. Leith" wrote in message
link.net...
snip

I'd thought maybe butter nowadays has a higher milk content or soemthing,
and I should try to adjust the flour upwards to compensate. But the
cookiesheet thread suggests a couple more possibilities.

We use air-cushioned pans. Do they not heat-up quick enough, and let the
butter melt before the flour, sugar, and eggs start to "set"? Can this be
why my cookies are too flat?


I think I mentioned (here or somewhere else) about the article in Fine
Cooking or Cook's Illustrated. They did say that air-cushioned or insulated
pans do tend to cause the butter to melt out of cookies.

If you do have some regular (or even non-stick) baking sheets, there's no
harm in trying them for at least one batch. They're fairly cheap, too, so
you can always pick up one that could double as a jelly-roll pan if they
don't work out for cookies.

We bought a box of frozen, unbaked cookies from some school fundraiser and
we don't have trouble with these. But maybe they're made with shortening
instead of butter, or baking them from frozen mitigates the problem.

Any ideas??


The fat could also be the cause. Or perhaps your cookie dough is too warm.
I would first try changing cookie sheets. Then if that doesn't work, try
chilling the dough a bit before baking. If that still doesn't work, try
substituting some of the butter with shortening. Personally, I only like
using butter for baked goods so I would suffer through flat, spread-out
cookies rather than use shortening, but that's just me :-).

rona

--
***For e-mail, replace .com with .ca Sorry for the inconvenience!***


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Old 11-12-2003, 11:30 PM
Alex Rast
 
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Default Cookies Spread Too Much

at Thu, 11 Dec 2003 18:50:37 GMT in
, (Vox
Humana) wrote :


"Thomas R. Leith" wrote in message
hlink.net...
Hi --

The thread on baking sheets makes me think I can get some advice here.

I've been having troubles with my toll-house recipe chocolate chip
cookeis and snickerdoodles "spreading" too much for several years.

....
We use air-cushioned pans. Do they not heat-up quick enough, and let
the butter melt before the flour, sugar, and eggs start to "set"? ...

We bought a box of frozen, unbaked cookies from some school fundraiser
and we don't have trouble with these. But maybe they're made with
shortening instead of butter...


You are on the right track. While there are several factors that can
influence the spread of cookies, the profile of the fat is the most
likely cause of your problem. ...

I would first try changing the fat....

As I've posted before, changing the fat isn't necessary. You can easily use
all-butter and have minimal spread, simply by increasing the egg proportion
slightly. The more eggs you have, the softer the cookies become. It's
possible to tune the recipe for almost any desired flatness and crispness
simply by adjusting the egg ratio. Changing the fat is another way to
achieve the same end, but there's always a flavour compromise using that
approach.

Certainly it's best that your dough be as cool as possible when the cookies
hit the oven, but I haven't found freezing it to be necessary. The only
thing you want to avoid is that the butter actually melt before the cookies
are in the oven.

Again, remember that the Toll House recipe was designed to produce flat,
crisp cookies, so if you're following that recipe to the letter, you're
getting the result you should expect. It's necessary to alter the recipe to
get less flat cookies.

--
Alex Rast

(remove d., .7, not, and .NOSPAM to reply)


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Old 12-12-2003, 03:28 PM
Thomas R. Leith
 
Posts: n/a
Default Thanks

Thanks for the advice. I'm going to try using plain-old cookie sheets with
parchment paper & cooking the dough from "referigerator cold". I'll post a
post here about how it turns out...

t


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Old 16-12-2003, 04:50 AM
Alton B. Wilson
 
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Default Spreading Toll House Cookies

Tom,

I was in the same position as you about a year ago, and post a similar
question to the newsgroup. I got good suggestions from Vox Humana
concerning the ratio of butter to Crisco.

The simple switch of substituting some of the butter with butter flavored
Crisco solves most of the problem. I have tried ratios of 25:75, 50:50 and
75:25 butter to shortening. I prefer something around 50:50 (although I
keep meaning to try 60:40). I have tried both plain cookie sheets and the
air-envelope sheets. The main difference being a slightly more crispy
bottom with the standard cookie sheet. The parchment paper is nice, in
keeping the cookie sheet clean. I have not tried baking cold dough or
frozen dough.

One other suggestion from Vox Humana was eggs. I have tried experimenting
with the amount of yolk versus egg white. However, I have not tried it
enough to make any firm conclusions. I have gone to rather small eggs, to
get rid of that "fluffy" mouth feel that you get with too much egg. I think
another big issue could be the type of oven that you use. I would be
interested in hearing from anyone who has a "forced-air" oven. It would
seem that this type of oven may give a cookie closer to a high-end
commercial cookie ( I am thinking of something like Blue Chip Cookies).
What bake temp are you using? I have tried 375F down to 350F, varying the
time. Prefer about 10 minutes at 360F in a standard electric oven (middle
rack).

My day job is that of a paint chemist (develop paint formulas for food, beer
& beverage cans). Maybe I am bringing my day time experimentation home ...

Good luck,

Alton

"Thomas R. Leith" wrote in message
k.net...
Thanks for the advice. I'm going to try using plain-old cookie sheets with
parchment paper & cooking the dough from "referigerator cold". I'll post a
post here about how it turns out...

t




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Old 16-12-2003, 07:01 AM
Jean-Scott
 
Posts: n/a
Default Cookies Spread Too Much

"Thomas R. Leith" wrote in
link.net:

Hi --

The thread on baking sheets makes me think I can get some advice here.

I've been having troubles with my toll-house recipe chocolate chip
cookeis and snickerdoodles "spreading" too much for several years. (I
only bake at Christmas, so this isn't so drastic as it sounds).

I'd thought maybe butter nowadays has a higher milk content or
soemthing, and I should try to adjust the flour upwards to compensate.
But the cookiesheet thread suggests a couple more possibilities.

We use air-cushioned pans. Do they not heat-up quick enough, and let
the butter melt before the flour, sugar, and eggs start to "set"? Can
this be why my cookies are too flat?

We bought a box of frozen, unbaked cookies from some school fundraiser
and we don't have trouble with these. But maybe they're made with
shortening instead of butter, or baking them from frozen mitigates the
problem.

Any ideas??

t



I would like to suggest that you try different flour. A cake flour with
cold butter will give you a fluffy puffy cookie. Shortening and all purpose
flour will give you a thin and crispier cookie. High glutem bread flour or
bread machine flour with melted butter will give you a nice chewy cookie.
The melted butter will help develop the glutens before baking. A
combination of cake and some bread (high gluten), with clearified butter
will tend to give a puffier chewy cookie.

Jean-Scott
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Old 24-12-2003, 11:12 PM
Angel
 
Posts: n/a
Default Cookies Spread Too Much

I want to thank you for (probably) solving my problem! I've been so
frustrated since I moved to a high-altitude area (6100') that my
cookies *never* come out right, unless I use commercial frozen dough.
I thought it was the altitude ... then I realized that we got some of
those air-insulated cookie sheets when we moved! I'm going shopping
for *normal* cookie sheets.

Today I tried making cinnamon chip cookies for the holidays ... ugh
.... they spread all over the pan and the oven bottom into one big
mess. I scraped the cookie sheets and told everyone it was a cinnamon
crisp topping for ice cream! (Tasted fine, just looked horrid!)

Angel

On Thu, 11 Dec 2003 18:16:49 GMT, "Thomas R. Leith"
wrote:

Hi --

The thread on baking sheets makes me think I can get some advice here.

I've been having troubles with my toll-house recipe chocolate chip cookeis
and snickerdoodles "spreading" too much for several years. (I only bake at
Christmas, so this isn't so drastic as it sounds).

I'd thought maybe butter nowadays has a higher milk content or soemthing,
and I should try to adjust the flour upwards to compensate. But the
cookiesheet thread suggests a couple more possibilities.

We use air-cushioned pans. Do they not heat-up quick enough, and let the
butter melt before the flour, sugar, and eggs start to "set"? Can this be
why my cookies are too flat?

We bought a box of frozen, unbaked cookies from some school fundraiser and
we don't have trouble with these. But maybe they're made with shortening
instead of butter, or baking them from frozen mitigates the problem.

Any ideas??

t




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