Friday, June 6, 2014

Running Cookie Diagnostics

There I days I wish our bodies had some sort of "service engine soon" light that alerted us of a coming problem so we could go plug in a cord and have a computer tell us what it is our body needs. I woke up so shaky and lightheaded this morning. Eating breakfast hasn't helped (that only made my tummy woozy). Drinking water hasn't helped. I think I need peanut butter and chocolate. I'm sure that's what my body is telling me. Those'll fix anything, right?

Hey, speaking of chocolate...I have a chocolate chip cookie Pinstrosity for you today!

The Original Pin

Chocolate chip cookies seem like the easiest thing in the world to make. They are the quintessential cookie. But with how easy these cookies are, it's amazing how easy it is to "go wrong" with them.

Using Nicole's own description of her attempt at these cookies, "Below is the Crisp & Chewy version".

The Pinstrosity

"They are supposed to be large, thin, crispy outside and chewy inside. Nice right? Not so much. I ended up with small, brown, hard, thick cookies. I had to try one did not taste good. As a bonus, it left me with a super weird feeling in my mouth. Seriously."

Cookies are chemistry. Really! You have to have the ingredient ratios just right. Humidity makes a difference in how much flour is actually needed (which is why many people weigh flour rather than measure it by cup), altitude plays a part, the order in which you add ingredients makes a difference, the temperature, etc. Making yummy cookies is truly an art. 

I ran across a pin the other day with some interesting variables tested in chocolate chip cookies. This led me to searching out some other cookie troubleshooting material. Who knew I'd be able to use it on the blog so soon?! That was fortuitous! 

Here's a picture of cookies with different ingredient variations:
That site also gives tips on what to tweak in the recipe to get different results (more chewy, more crunchy, more beautiful, etc.). 

Another pin I found was this troubleshooting chart (which was linked to a blog post about troubleshooting cookies, but it didn't have this chart on it):

And then I also found this pin:
She gives 8 "secrets" to getting the perfect cookie, and then she goes through and shows (as well as explains) how different variables (heat, melted butter vs. "solid" butter, sugar types, etc.) affect the outcome of the cookies. Check it out! It really is fascinating.

So now what went wrong with Nicole's cookies? She solved that one on her own actually

"I had no idea how I could go so wrong! But now I know. For starters I didn't pay enough attention. I just made Martha's Soft & Chewy cookies the other day and they turned out fine so I wasn't as careful with this recipe. I halved it and got the sugar amount wrong. I realized after the first batch so I went back and added sugar. BAD Idea! Apparently there is something about the sugar not melting...yada, yada and that is what left the dry-ish strange taste in my mouth. Who knew! The size and thickness of the cookie was wrong because I used the wrong baking sheet and the color was from using dark brown sugar instead of light brown. I will attempt again. This time I'm not halving and I'll be more attentive" 

Sounds like any recipe I try to halve. I can double a recipe and have it turn out well, but I always get something goofy when halving a recipe.

Well hey...the shakiness has stopped. Maybe what my body needed was a little Pinstrosity. We'll see though when I go to stand up. Good thing I cleaned yesterday, I can just take it easy today and relax and figure out what's going on. Oh, and I think it'll be the perfect day to eat some cookies. Mmmm.

Happy Friday everyone!


  1. Also pulling them out of the oven "just before they are done" and let them cool on the baking tray. s far as your light headed ness eat some peanut butter you may just need protein. Or maybe that is why you are craving pb and choc chip cookies ;)

  2. If I need to make just half a batch, I still whip up a full batch of cookie dough -- bake half of it, freeze half of it. Depending on how well it's stored, cookie dough can stay in the freezer for a good amount of time; just put it in the fridge to thaw the night before you want to bake it. You do not want to bake dough that's still a bit frozen (talk about a variable)!

  3. That Martha Stewart recipe makes THE BEST COOKIES EVER. Yeah, you have to follow them to a T, but that's my go-to cookie recipe and people love them when I make them. Two things that make a *massive* difference is chilling them and putting them on parchment paper. For some reason chilling the dough for 24 hours makes them better and baking them on parchment paper bakes them evenly to ensure you don't get brown bottoms when the rest of the cookie is fine. Though I don't think her baking time is ever accurate for my cookies, I think I wind up doing them for 11-12 minutes.

  4. To get a chewier, denser cookie make sure to drop or bang your pan on the counter when you take it out of the oven. It breaks down air pockets and makes for a better cookie. Also cooling them on brown paper bags helps soak up any excess fats in the cookie. I have experimented and found some great recipes through trial and error. My best are my heath bar cookies.


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