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HELP - how to make thick cookies


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#1 twist77

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Posted 07 July 2003 - 02:17 PM

Hi -

New member here... Great forum!

I need help in making large/thick cookies (ie: chocolate chunk). I have read tips such as freezing the dough, using parchment paper, using room temp trays and so forth. As a good example, if you are familiar with Selma's cookies (http://www.selmas.com/ -- won outstanding cookie award at the International Fancy Food Show in New York) or specialtys( http://www.specialtys.com/ - CA) you'll know what I'm talking about. I'm looking to make big (3.5" 1/4lb each) cookies.... Perhaps a solid base recipe that would be flexible to try different "cookie add-ins"

What about dough, sugar, eggs, butter and especially chocolate....
Can I use store bought ingredients or for the real deal do I need to order high end ingredients?
I assume great chocolate is worth the extra $ -- what's the best type for cookies?

Got some great tips?
Killer recipes?


Thanks in advance!

#2 slkinsey

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Posted 07 July 2003 - 02:22 PM

There is a very good explanation of the variables involved in thin/crispy versus thick/chewey cookies in CookWise by Shirley Corriher. When I get home, I'll take a look and see what she says.
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#3 JFLinLA

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Posted 07 July 2003 - 02:23 PM

I've never made cookies that big before but I scoop then freeze my dough on parchment lined sheets. Once frozen, I put the lumps of dough into a zip-lock bag until I'm ready for baking. When it's time, they go onto parchment lined sheets directly into a hot oven. This allows the lump of dough to bake on the outside and "set" its shape while it then finishes baking on the inside.
So long and thanks for all the fish.

#4 Dave the Cook

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Posted 07 July 2003 - 02:41 PM

There is a very good explanation of the variables involved in thin/crispy versus thick/chewey cookies in CookWise by Shirley Corriher.  When I get home, I'll take a look and see what she says.

Alton Brown covers much the same territory as Corriher in one of his shows. I recommend both; while there is lot of overlap, the differing presentation styles can help make the stuff more intelligible.

Click here to go to the Good Eats Fan Page, and look for the transcript of Three Chips for Sister Martha.

And welcome, twist.

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Eat more chicken skin.


#5 elyse

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 05:47 AM

I question Alton's use of baking soda. I thought baking soda spreads, while baking powder rises. No?

#6 Ladybug

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 06:21 AM

Try Elizabeth_11's recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I tried them once and they were quite thick and tasty. Here it is, cut and pasted from the recipe archive:

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Submitted by: Elizabeth_11

Keywords: Dessert, American, Easy, Chocolate, Cookie

Servings: 15 as a dessert


These are my all-time favorite chocolate chip cookies! They're big, fat, and chewy--and finally you can eat just one, they are just that big and satisfying! This recipe is adapted from the Cook's Illustrated version, only with some minor adjustments to my taste. Enjoy!

2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 c semisweet chocolate chips





1. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. Stir together melted butter, brown sugar, sugar and vanilla. Add egg, then the yolk. Stir in dry ingredients, then fold in chocolate chips until incorporated. Refrigerate dough until firm (at least 30 minutes).

3. Drop 1/4 cup sized "puck-shaped" mounds of dough onto baking sheet. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for approximately10-12 minutes or ONLY until the edges begin to turn golden. (They'll look underdone, but trust me, they're perfect)! Cool and enjoy!


Yields about 12-15 BIG cookies!

#7 Dave the Cook

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 07:19 AM

I question Alton's use of baking soda.  I thought baking soda spreads, while baking powder rises.  No?

Sort of. Both should contribute to rise -- they both leaven by creating CO2, which gets trapped in the batter. But there's something else going on.

Soda raises the pH in the mixture by reacting with any acid that is present (baking powder supplies its own acid). Raising pH also raises the setting temperature of the cookie. Since the batter will have more time in the oven before it sets, it will spread more. The result in the first recipe, because of the added milk, is a thinner, therefore crispier cookie -- that's what he's trying to achieve.

In the third recipe (the chewy), I admit I don't quite understand the point, but I can guess. Since he removes an egg white from the recipe (to reduce dryness), it's clear he's after a moister, denser cookie, so soda makes some sense in this respect (acidity usually contributes to a lighter crumb, and the soda reduces acidity). The spreading effect created in the first recipe is going to be less pronounced because of the structure created by the bread flour. Also, the lower acid would to some extent mitigate the effect of gluten structure -- a control factor of sorts? Corriher might help here.

Dave Scantland
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Eat more chicken skin.


#8 elyse

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 07:22 AM

Wow. Let me read this a few more times.

#9 JFLinLA

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 09:19 AM

I don't understand the science but can speak for the results. Alton's "Chewy" is what I use for my basic chocolate chip cookie these days -- freezing the dough before baking as discussed in my earlier post.
So long and thanks for all the fish.

#10 Elizabeth_11

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 11:06 AM

Thanks ladybug ;-) The trick is in melting the butter and refrigerating the dough. I actually have recently added just a touch more salt to my currently posted recipe because some think it's a bit too sweet--good luck! :smile:

Edited by Elizabeth_11, 08 July 2003 - 11:19 AM.

-Elizabeth

Mmmmmmm chocolate.


#11 jersey13

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 02:14 PM

My trick is to use ingredients right out of the fridge. butter, eggs and I even use flour from the freezer. The dough is stiff and doesn't spread..

#12 claire797

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 03:28 PM

Here's my unofficial research.

The best cookies on this page are the Nielsen Massey cookies and the Malt Chocolate Chip cookies.

http://www.ginsberg....a/blogchart.htm

#13 Foam Pants

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 04:51 PM

I have often wondered the same thing. I tried to get a basic oatmeal cookie recipe to plump up so I placed the finished dough in the fridge. It spread even more than usual! The recipe calls for both baking soda and baking powder so I don't think it was a case of the gas gassing out. I dunno. I am going to try out the hints above and read the literature.
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#14 Chef Fowke

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 05:37 PM

Try replacing the sugar with corn syrup and (as already stated) keep the products ice cold.
The corn syrup will 'reduce the friction' in the dough and allow it to raise before it spreads (old cake secret for those over-sized wedding cakes).
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#15 twist77

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 01:13 PM

Thanks for all the great responses!

...trying to decide which recipe to try first, Elizabeth_11 or Nielsen Massey Chocolate Chip Cookies!
I'll let you know how it goes.

Any details on freezing the dough (after mixing)? For example, Elizabeth_11's recipe calls for "1/4 cup sized puck-shaped mounds." Should I shape these first, place them on a parchment lined tray (wrapped tight) and freeze the whole thing OR just keep the bowl in the freezer and shape when ready? I would think that placing the frozen tray directly in the oven would help in preventing spread...?

Also, I have been using Ghirardelli blocks (white and semi-sweet) roughly chopped with a chef's knife. I prerfer the large, random size pieces than chips, though I'm not overly impressed with the quality of this chocolate. Any rercomendations for block chocolate to use in cookies?


Thanks again!

ps: any good on-line sites for a kitchen Aid 6qt mixer (so far amazon seems to have the best price and no shipping cost).

#16 JFLinLA

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 01:21 PM

Twist:

I scoop then freeze. To save space, the mounds of dough go close together on the parcment lined sheet in the freezer. Then, if not baking immediately after freezing, into a zip lock bag. When I am ready to bake they get spaced appropriately on the sheet and go into the oven. I've used the same recipe to make the cookies big and small. All that changes is the cooking time.
So long and thanks for all the fish.

#17 elyse

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 03:07 PM

ps: any good on-line sites for a kitchen Aid 6qt mixer (so far amazon seems to have the best price and no shipping cost).

Is the Professional one? How much is it?

#18 twist77

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 03:16 PM

RE: Mixer

It's the pro 6qt
price: $369
free shipping

http://www.amazon.co...lance&s=kitchen


(I just missed someone locally selling a brand new 6qt pro - unopened, not refurbished - for $230! Damn!#@!)

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Any suggestions on the best type of trays to bake cookies on?

#19 twist77

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 03:17 PM

...how long should I freeze for if I want to bake immediately and not store? 1hr? Overnight?

#20 JFLinLA

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 03:35 PM

...how long should I freeze for if I want to bake immediately and not store?  1hr?  Overnight?

I typically freeze overnight but that's only for convenience. Depending on the size of your cookies, how cold the dough is, and how cold your freezer is, it shouldn't take more than an hour or two.
So long and thanks for all the fish.

#21 claire797

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 03:52 PM

Here's a recipe that uses dark corn syrup, has more flour and less butter. Based on the ingredients, I can tell these are thick cookies. If you try them, report back. I'd bake them myself but I'm a little burned out on CC Cookies right now.

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 tablespoon half-and-half cream
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, toasted


1 Position oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). (Using an oven thermometer will ensure proper baking temperature since ovens vary.) Line cushion-type baking sheets with baking parchment; set aside. (Professional bakeries double their baking sheets and use baking parchment.)

2 In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, cream together butter, sugars and vanilla at medium speed until creamy and light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in corn syrup and cream or milk. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour mixture, in 3 separate batches, scraping down bowl after each addition. Mix well to ensure full incorporation of flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) and nuts.

3 For each cookie, using a 1- 3/8 inch spring-loaded scoop (or 1 tablespoon measuring spoon), scoop 2 level spoonfuls of dough and roll into a ball with wet hands. (Dough will be very sticky. Wetting hands between every 3 rollings of dough will prevent sticking. Simply hold hands under running tap water and shake hands 10 times over sink before handling dough. Don't worry, this will not harm the cookies. I guarantee that this added effort will be worth it for these cookies!) Arrange at least 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. (Cookies will spread a bit during baking.) Flatten each ball of dough slightly with heel of hand or fingers.

4 Bake for 14 minutes or until light golden brown around edges and centers are still a little puffy. (Do not underbake this particular cookie or they will be too soft.) Allow cookies to cool at least 5 minutes while on baking sheets before transferring (with a thin, metal cookie spatula) to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and fresh sheets of baking parchment. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. (These chewy chocolate chip cookies keep better than traditional types.)

5 Note: Professional chefs and pastry chefs use coarse kosher salt and I use it in my everyday cooking and baking. It really does have a better flavor. However, you may substitute 1 teaspoon regular table salt for 1- 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt.

6 To Toast Nuts: Toasting nuts brings out their flavor and makes them crisp. It is easy to do. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place nuts, in a single layer, on an ungreased baking sheet. (I like to use my round non-stick pizza pan because it has a lip on it which prevents the nuts from rolling off.) Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time, or until nuts become fragrant and are lightly browned. (Watch nuts closely to prevent burning.) Cool nuts completely before chopping and adding to recipe. (You can speed up the cooling process by immediately placing hot, toasted nuts onto a plate and place in the freezer for 5 to 8 minutes. Halfway through chilling time, stir the nuts to aid the cooling process.)

#22 Elizabeth_11

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 04:33 PM

I just put the bowl of dough into the frig/freezer until it's very firm; I've found that as long as it's more or less cold/hard, the results are the same. I usually keep mine in the freezer for under an hour, then store it in the frig. I don't use frozen dough really, I just use the freezer to speed up the process. Once it's chilled and firm, I take my 1/4 scoop (which happens to be shaped like a "puck" already, you can actually use an ice cream scoop and make plain mounds if you like) and then place them on the cookie sheet and bake off immediately. Hope that helps!
-Elizabeth

Mmmmmmm chocolate.


#23 twist77

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 09:55 AM

First test completed last night...

I tried Elizabeth_11's recipe - truly AWESOME!

Instead of 1/4 cup "pucks" I used 1/2 cup size and baked for 17 minutes. In addition, I doubled up (parchment lined) baking sheets and kept the dough in the freezer between batches. After each batch, I returned the trays to the freezer until they were cold. I also used bittersweet block chocolate and bulk english toffee instead of chips (probably won't do the toffee again though). Total yield was 8, huge delicious cookies! :)

While this was certainly a success, I'm still trying to get the height (ok, maybe I'm a little obsessed). The pre cooked 1/2 cup "puck" is about the height I'm looking for. Obviously there will be spread, but I've seen cookies (see my original post) that not only have the diameter, but also the height. Don't get me wrong, by no means were these cookies thin...

I think I might try claire797's recipe next. The extra dough and corn syrup might make the difference (?)
BTW, where did you (claire797) get this recipe?

Thanks again for all the help - I'll keep you posted!

#24 claire797

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 10:15 AM

Twist,

The recipe with the corn syrup was posted on another bulletin board by a woman who says it's her favorite recipe and she is just now sharing her *secret*. She swears by these cookies. Unfortunately, I just read a post on said board where another user made those cookies and found them cakey. She said the spread a lot too. Now I'm really curious. I'd go bake them myself, but I'm on a yellow-cake kick right now. No time for cookies.

#25 twist77

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 11:56 AM

what other board are you referring to?

#26 claire797

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 03:53 PM

Twist,

Feh on the cookie recipe I just posted. It's not worth your time. I'll give it a very low 4 out of 5. The cookies were fairly puffy, but they weren't dense like you want and they seemed a little less "short" than they needed to be. They were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, but they lacked complexity and character.

Here's a picture.

Posted Image

#27 MatthewB

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 03:56 PM

They were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, but they lacked complexity and character. 

You know some of the people that I know!

#28 twist77

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 04:20 PM

thanks Claire -

...have you tried any from http://www.ginsberg....a/blogchart.htm ?

#29 claire797

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 05:48 PM

thanks Claire -

...have you tried any from http://www.ginsberg....a/blogchart.htm ?

I sure have. That's my chart.

#30 elyse

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 07:07 AM

Amazing!