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Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

I am trying to figure out a couple of things about Carol's Cookies...these are those huge, tall and round cookies, weighing about 7 ounces from Highland Park, Illiniois. Have your had these cookies???
Has anyone else tried to figure out her secret to keeping them so puffed up...and not cakey. These are not flat cookies, they are about 1.5 inches high and 4.5 inches wide. I love these cookies...but am getting sick of paying for the shipping charges...so, help me figure out what she does. Has anyone else made cookies that are not flat?? What is the secret, less butter, is it the way your combine ingredients or the mixing of ingredients?????
HELP ME figure this out!!!

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  1. Your post intrigued me, so I checked out Carol's site. If you look at it, you'll see that the batter (about 1/2 pound per cookie) is shaped by hand into semi-softball size pieces, then baked. I think the secret is the amount of dough used in each one. There's another shot of the finished product, and the cookies practically touch when completely baked. My suggestion is to try a good chocolate chip recipe, and fool around with the quantity of dough in each cookie and adjusting the baking time - really trial and error. http://www.carolscookies.com/locator/...

    2 Replies
    1. re: critter101

      I would add to freeze the dough balls before baking, so they are fully chilled through. Also, you can add some additional flour to your recipe. That keeps the cookies from spreading as much.

      1. re: critter101

        Well, I have tried to adjust my baking temps -four different temps. I did first batch at 375, then 350, 325 and 300. And I did exactly 7 ounces of dough, like Carol's portion and mine just flattened into a nice, huge flat cookie. haha EVERY TIME!! Bummer!
        So, I am pretty sure that temp is part of it...but I am thinking it is more so in the formula of ingredients. Less Butter was tried by me yesterday and it was not the answer. Still trying though. Thanks for the suggestions.

      2. Start baking in a hot oven so that the outside is baked quickly. After the outside of the cookie has set then lower the oven temp to finish baking the inside of the cookie. Unsure of the size of cookie you trying to bake, but it should take 8-10 minutes in a hot oven to set the outside of the cookie.

        Caution, if your using one of those tin baking sheets that are sold to home bakers, you may run into some issues with the bottom of your cookie becoming burnt. You may need to use two sheet pans, that way the bottom of the cookie does not become burnt.

        Also, if you don’t have a convection oven, only bake one sheet pan at a time.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Pastryrocks

          Great suggestion with the oven temperature!!

          Yes, I forgot about double panning. I have to do that with regular cookies, so with these monsters, it would be very necessary. And have the rack fairly high in the oven.

          1. re: Pastryrocks

            Great suggestions...I will try it...but do you have any thoughts about the actual recipe. I am pretty sure it is not a straight "Nestle toll house" cookie recipe.
            Have you tried any recipes with more flour to sugar ratio and produced a puffed up, solid cookie mass?? I am trying everything here. AHHHH!! haha

            1. re: abaker

              do you want it puffy chewy or puffy crisp? id say definitely play around with the brown to white sugar ratio - the more brown the chewier, the more white, the crispier.

              to stop from spreading, form the cookies into balls, put on baking sheet, then put the baking sheet in the freezer for 1/2 hour.

              also, avoid adding grease to your cookie sheet - use non-stick - the additional grease encourages spreading.

              finally, are you creaming room temperature butter or melted butter...? the former is your better bet.

              1. re: Emme

                Well, I think I am going for the puffy crisp type. I have not tried the melted butter option...thanks for the thought. I might try that next. The cookies I want are almost like a raw cookie dough inside with a slightly browned outside. It is like they are baked for about 10 minutes just to "set the dough" and give a slight color/crack on top. The inside is grainy...almost like they did not cream the sugar and butter. I am still playing...think I might try that melted butter.
                Thanks a ton!!

                1. re: abaker

                  Melted butter gives it chewier texture but will not make it taller. Melted butter releases water, and liquids incorporated in the dough makes the cookies rise. I think cold is the way to go. Cold butter and cold eggs, cold dough.

          2. I've been working on this, too. This site has been helpful:


            I've been playing around with the New York Times recipe. I think the long cold rest for the dough will help. Also, since the cookies are so big, I start the oven at 350 for about 8 minutes (I look at it when it has just set) and then turn down to 325 so they cook w/out browning. There is no baking powder, apparently, just baking soda, so I used 2 tsp but might use more. I've never had Carol's cookies but read that they have a strong baking soda taste. I've altered the flour to mostly cake flour, like Alton Brown's The Puffy cookie. I also played around with using a little Crisco, as in the Puffy cookie. Carol's cookies don't have it, though. Next time I'm going to reduce the sugar. I've found that makes a taller cookie, too. I don't use brown sugar but add brown sugar to white and have altered that but that didn't make a big difference in height. Also, when she bakes them, she puts them pretty close together so they touch when they're done. I wonder if that prevents more spreading, but there's the problem of getting one huge cookie if it hasn't set before touching the next cookie. But, I have to say the last batch of cookies I baked yesterday might have been the best ccc I've ever made. Using the NYT recipe, I altered the flour and increased by 2 tablespoons, used all baking soda, used 2 eggs plus an egg yolk (as a nod to the CI big and chewy ccc recipe). Let it sit overnight and baked in a doubled pan, no parchment paper or silpat. I used a cylindrical measuring cup to make the dough "balls", dough close together, then put in the freezer before baking while oven preheated. They were perfect out of the oven but flattened out some when they cooled.

            If you get anywhere, I'd love to hear about it.

            7 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              OMG, I think you are my cookie soulmate. haha
              Too funny...thanks for finding me. I have been thinking about these cookies for about 15 years now. Seriously...how does she do it??!!! She is very secretive too...I don't think her own daughter and son even know her secret. AHHH!!!
              Let me describe the cookie to you...it is very grainy inside, and almost raw.
              It makes me think she is not doing the normal creaming method for her cookie.
              When you cream your ingredients together...you pump air into the dough and dissolve the sugar into the butter. You can clearly see the sugar granules in her cookie. Which leads me to believe it is her method that is different, as well as less butter perhaps??
              I just bought a bunch when I was visiting my friends in Chicago and brought them back to Cali with me...have been doing a tasting about every night with them. haha
              And I am not so sure I would say they have a strong baking soda taste. Salty, yes, but I do not get that soapy aftertaste with a strong baking soda presence.
              And I try to avoid Crisco as much as possible. Bummer, I know...I had a good peanut butter cookie recipe with some Crisco in it...that word Crisco just scares a lot of people.
              If you look at Carol's Cookies website...she has a link to her appearance on Food Network. Her workers shape the cookie dough into big 7 ounce balls by hand and then press down lightly on the top to square them off a bit.
              I am going to check out the link you sent about cookiemadness. Thanks for the info!!
              And hopefully the NYTimes recipe is on that site too...I would love to see the ratio of ingredients and the mixing method. I think there is something different with the mixing. Can't say right now...but I will figure it out and get back to you. Nice to meet you!!!

              1. re: abaker

                Hmm, grainy makes me think she might do cold butter and mix the sugar, barely into it. Less butter does make sense, too, for less spread. Also, I noticed she doesn't use parchment or silpat, at least in the pictures. On the first site I posted, there was a blog about Carol's cookies and in the comments was the ingredient list, but nothing unusual, def. no Crisco. This was helpful for me, too:


                The NYT recipe (uses cake flour for starch and bread flour for more protein):


                It's an excellent cookie, esp with the adjustments I made, adding an egg yolk and more flour. But, I have that cookie in my head and want to try to get close to it.

                1. re: chowser

                  I agree with you...I think she is using cold butter, not melted...but might be worth trying once to eliminate. Yes, her ingedients are all normal stuff...here is a list of the ingedients from the latest cookie of hers I just ate. haha
                  Carol's Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies
                  Flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs, milk chocolate, salt, baking soda and vanilla.
                  First thing I find interesting is the flour being the first ingredient on the list. Usually you place the item with the highest volume (albeit weight or cup measure) in that first spot. This makes sense if we are leaning towards the more sugar, flour to butter ratio. Hmmm...
                  And I usually use parchment paper under my cookies. I noticed that too when I saw her video. haha
                  I am not giving up on this...do not worry. Thanks for the links. Your website is GREAT!!!!! I am a big fan now.

                  1. re: abaker

                    Oh, that's not my web site, just one I found while trying to figure this out. But it is excellent. Interesting that sugar appears higher than brown sugar. That was one of my thoughts, in addition to less sugar than normal. And, she uses milk chocolate instead of semisweet or bitter? She could be using less sugar, then, because I think milk chocolate would make it too sweet. More baking soda than vanilla, too. I usually use more vanilla so that's something else to play with, increasing baking soda. Thanks!

                  2. re: chowser

                    The Torres CCC is a keeper. One of the tricks we use to achieve a tall cookie is to cut them with a biscuit cutter. Thick roll of dough, cold as ice and placed in the oven one tray at a time in a traditional oven. Under bake if you want chewy middles.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      I love this idea. Do you flatten out the dough like biscuits? How thick? I'm thinking it would be great to do that and freeze some, too. Thanks!

                      1. re: chowser

                        That's exactly what we do, chowser! 1/2 thick, 3 inch round cutter. Set in freezer for 2 mins. bake.

              2. would less fat and a bit more flour help to prevent the melting and spreading?

                I remember back in the late 70's when these 'mounded' cookies became popular--Sunset Magazine did an article on them and called for refrigerating the scooped-out dough on the cookie sheet. So the dough and the sheet go into the oven cold. You might search Sunset archives for the recipe, for tips and techniques.

                1. I searched at Sunset's site and found this illuminating discussion of CC recipes and dough treatments:


                  Hope it helps you.

                  Me, I'm going into the kitchen in search of ingredients!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: toodie jane

                    Thanks for the link...I have printed them out and will do some comparisons with ingredient ratios. Very helpful, thanks!!!
                    And I do think that less butter and more flour is part of the answer here.
                    Here dough does not look wet it almost looks crumbly...which leads me to think more flour and less butter.

                  2. I heard a recent interview on "Splendid Table" in which Dorie Greenspan said that if your cookies broke and crumbled in the mail, to toughen them up with bread flour. Until then, it had never occurred to me to bake tender cookies with bread flour, but it made sense. Maybe if you used stronger flour, the cookies would "mound up" more in the oven.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ChesterhillGirl

                      Oh, I like that suggestion...thanks, I might try a blend of both cake and bread or bread and all purpose. thanks!!

                      1. re: abaker

                        Shirley Corriher said in her book "Bakewise" that higher protein (for all intents and purposes bread flour) is key in getting cookies that puff higher and spread less.

                    2. OK, I had a good day of testing recipes today to figure out this cookie. AHHH!!
                      This is what I have found...
                      1) Stiff dough is the answer for high, tall cookies, not flat ones. Well, and a large amount of dough squished into a large mound. I did 7.4 ounces of cookie dough. Mounded it high and then just slightly pushed down on the top. Slight push!
                      2) High heat is what will set it up and brown it slightly on the edges. I baked my testers at 400F for 16 minutes. Stayed nice and tall, fell a bit as they finished baking outside the oven, but not too bad. I took them out of the oven once I saw a nice golden brown on the edges and slight cracking towards the top. Still looked shiny and wet when I took them out. Cooled them at room temp for about 5 minutes and then to the fridge. If my freezer was bigger, I would have placed them in there.
                      3) I think the real solution is in the mixing method...and a lower butter to flour ratio.
                      I did NOT cream my butter and sugar together. Instead I mixed it like a biscuit dough. Mix all the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter and then add the wet ingredients.
                      This gave me the exact texture of the dough I was looking for...nice big granules of sugar that you can see and feel.
                      I am not done though...I think I am almost there...but I am not getting the exact texture I want on the inside of my baked cookie. I think my ratio of white sugar and brown sugar is off...so I will do more testing and get back to you all with my findings and some pics. I am just not there yet!!! Send me good vibes!!! AND thanks for all the great suggestions. I really studied all the sites and ideas to come up with my tester recipes.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: abaker

                        Please, I beg of you, do not falter in this quest. I posted a while ago asking for help with this recipe and got no replies. I am obsessed with those cookies, but can't pay the price anymore. BUt you must be spending a fortune in ingredients!

                        1. re: abaker

                          Good idea on mixing it like a biscuit. I remember a recipe where you add chunks of cold butter to the flour first. What ratio of flour to butter did you use, and what type of butter? Did your cookies get dark at 400 deg? At 375, mine were too dark and i lowered the temp to 325 after 7-8 minutes. Thanks for the update.

                          1. re: chowser

                            Toutefrite, I will not give up!!!
                            And Chowser my ratio of butter to flour is 4oz butter to 2 cups all-purpose flour.
                            I use unsalted Land of Lakes butter. I do not believe in using European butter (Plugra or other) unless I am making croissants or something that highlights butter flavor. My cookies did not burn at 400F. I even use an oven thermometer to check the internal temp of my oven to make sure I am at the right temp. I think it is due to the fact that I have a chilled dough. I mean, at 8 minutes I didn't even see movement or color in these cookies. Which was a good sign to me. I am going to try it with less brown sugar and more white sugar next. Great questions too!!!

                            1. re: abaker

                              Okay, I've made cookies that look just like these but maybe you can try it out and see if it tastes anything like them. I made them a little like scones, like you did, with cut cold butter.

                              2 c. (10 oz) King Arthur AP flour
                              1/2 c (3 1/2 oz) white sugar
                              1/2 c (4 oz) brown sugar
                              1 1/2 tsp baking soda
                              1+ tsp kosher salt

                              Mix together.

                              1/2 c + 2 tbsp cold cutter, cut into pats
                              2 eggs, 1 egg yolk
                              2 tsp+ vanilla
                              2- c. chocolate chips

                              Add 1/2 c + 2 tbsp cold butter. Mix until just uniform. Add 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk (One at a time until mixed); vanilla (I don't measure vanilla) mix, then less than 2 c. chocolate chips. Refrigerate at least one hour but overnight is better. Scoop 1/4 cup balls, round and flatten slightly. Bake 375, preheated oven, 8 minutes, then 325 for 2-3 minutes until done. Remove, let sit 2-3 mintues on tray on wire rack and then remove off tray onto rack. They come out almost as tall as they go in. Also, I used a cheap nonstick cookie pan. I find they spread more on good stainless steel pans, maybe because that conducts heat better? I can also replicate it using two ss cookie sheets. I will post pictures when I recharge my batteries.

                              1. re: chowser

                                I'm dying to know. Did they turn out like Carol's? I love the oatmeal raisin cookie as well and am dying to learn how to make it.

                                1. re: lvhkitty

                                  I might break down and order some to see. They do look like the pictures but you can't replicate on appearance. I have to say, the day after being baked, that while good, they're not as good as the NYT recipe or the Best Recipe big and chewy ccc cookies. I think more butter makes a better cookie. I did bring them to an outing and people loved them but anything home made gets gobbled up (or, anything free gets gobbled up). I'm going to play around with it more and use more butter.

                                2. re: chowser

                                  will be waiting most patiently. broke down the other day and drove to manhattan beach to get some. damn that woman!!!! bless that woman!!!!!!!

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Chowser, do you have a convection oven or a conventional oven???
                                    And do you use parchment paper on your cookie sheets or silpats??
                                    I wonder if one is better over the other with spreading.
                                    Hmmm...still working on this spread thing.

                                    1. re: abaker

                                      Conventional oven. I've done parchment, silpat and none (using both expensive stainless steel from a cooking store--gift, and nonstick Target kitchenaid). Silpat makes it spread the most. Parchment a tiny bit more than using nothing but not a huge difference. But, the surprising thing is cookies baked the cheap Target pans hold the shape the best. They're much taller than ones baked on the ss sheets. It seems counterintuitive because being thin and cheap, I thought the sheet would get hot faster which would make the cookies spread faster.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Gotcha...I have found the same with the silpat...spreads a lot more.
                                        And I have been using the stainless steel with parchment....makes me want to go out and grab some of those Target ones. Thanks for the tips. I would have thought the same thing...the cheaper, flimsy ones that pop and twist in the oven upon heating up are thin...wouldn't think much insulation is there to stop the spreading. Great tips, thanks!!

                            2. Hi All!

                              I was glad to see this thread. A few months ago, I was completely obsessed with cloning these cookies and had a never ending stomachache from all the experimenting. My cookies were most like the ones mentioned when I cooked the butter and flour (a roux, so to speak) then made the cookies in the food processor using the cooled butter and flour mixture. Because I don’t like wasting ingredients, I kept my batches small. If you all would like to play around with it, here’s the recipe. I put links to some texture shots at bottom. The first cookie is an actual specimen (purchased at a specialty store) and the second cookie shot is my clone.

                              Experimental Cookie Recipe
                              2 ounces unsalted butter, European style (e.g. Plugra)
                              3.1 oz all purpose flour (weigh the flour or carefully measure 2/3 cup plus a tsp.)
                              1/4 scant teaspoon salt
                              1/8 teaspoon baking soda
                              2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
                              2 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
                              1 tablespoon beaten egg
                              1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
                              Small handful of chocolate chips – milk chocolate actually taste great here
                              European style butter works best, but if you don’t have any, you can use regular. Most important tip is to let the cookie cool completely. These aren’t very good served warm. They need to go through the whole cooking and cooling process. And, so you know what to expect going into this, these aren’t chewy.
                              So start by making the roux. To do this, melt the European style butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Slowly stir in the flour and stir the flour around in the butter, coating it well, for about 3 minutes. You should end up with a thick, dry, doughy, looking mixture. It will be thicker than a typical roux. Set it aside to cool. At this point, I like to just dump it in the processor bowl and let it cool there.
                              It’s takes a while to cool.
                              Add the salt and baking soda to the flour mixture and pulse to mix. Add both sugars. Pulse to mix. Add in the egg and vanilla then pulse until moist. Dump crumbs into a bowl. If mixture is still warm, let it cool before adding the chocolate chips. Mixture should look like a bowl of crumbs, but it will hold together when you form it.
                              Add the chocolate chips. Use your hands to mold the crumb/chip mixture into a big fat 8 oz ball.
                              Set the big ball on an insulated cookie sheet and bake for about 18-20 minutes. You can bake it as few as 18 minutes (for a softer inside) or up to 21. It won’t brown much at all. In fact, it won’t look very tasty. Let the cookie cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes. Transfer it to a rack to cool for another 20 minutes or so, then put it in the refrigerator to hasten the process. Waiting is the hardest part. Remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temp for a while. Now cut into it with a knife and serve it in little wedges.
                              Makes 1 giant cookie

                              The real thing




                              17 Replies
                              1. re: AnnaCG

                                How did it taste? Was it like Carol's? I've never seen this technique before, interesting. I wonder if making a beurre manie would have the same result w/ less wait time (though faux roux is much more fun than beurre manie). I found the same thing about making small cookies as you did--that large worked but small didn't as well. BTW, I love your blog and go to it all the time. Mouthwatering for a baker. Oh, since you've made the NYT recipe, which do you prefer?

                                1. re: chowser

                                  good morning. this is my first go here. i think prevailing wisdom that the road to taller cookies includes these steps:
                                  1. use higher protein flour (eg king arthur a.p. or even bread flour)
                                  2. consider drying out dough with some extra flour
                                  3. chill--and so also--"age" the dough

                                  1. re: silverhawk

                                    I agree with these there steps. Letting the dough sit overnight helps increase the absorbtion of liquid ingredients by the flour, and a cold dough will not flatten out as much when cooked.

                                    We made a batch of chocolate chip cookies two nights ago, and because I was craving them, baked most right away. The remaining cookies were baked the following night and using cold dough out of the fridge resulted in cookies twice as puffy with a huge improvement in flavor. It was such an enormous difference that next time I'll try to bake just enough to satisfy my craving and save the rest to bake the next day.

                                    1. re: silverhawk

                                      I've given those all a try, using all bread flour and using extra flour (see above with the 10 oz flour to 1/2 c + 2 tbsp butter), let it rest overnight and for an hour. I get a tall cookie but not exactly like Carols. And, it doesn't help me that I haven't tried the original.

                                    2. re: chowser

                                      Well, they tasted almost identical to Carol's. In fact, I did a side-by-side and couldn't tell the difference. If you look at that photo, you'll notice the crumbliness. Carol's cookies are definitely unique in texture -- dry but still "fatty" and appealing. My theory is that drying out the butter and flour (removing all moisture via a roux) give you that sandie texture and allows you to replace the lost moisture with extra fat via the European style butter. Again, this is all just guessing. I made the cookies with regular butter and they were good, but not quite the same as Carol's but still good.

                                      The NYT Cookie is great. My only complaint is you have to have all those flours on hand and I'm too lazy to go find them all. LOL. But I really like that one.

                                      The two cookies are different animals, though. It's hard to even compare them.

                                      1. re: AnnaCG

                                        One more thing. The lady at Central Market told me that the cookies arrived at CM frozen and they thawed them and sold them. After making some of mine, I tried freezing them and thawing them. I thought the texture seemed more like Carol's after the cookies had been frozen and thawed.

                                        1. re: AnnaCG

                                          Thanks for all your help. I think I need to try Carol's cookies. They look so good--I think the first place I saw them was your blog and decided I had to try to replicate them. They do look more dense and fatty and yours look almost like scones. That's the route I was trying for above and actually played tried to combine a scone recipe with a ccc recipe. I definitely want to try yours above and love that it only makes a small amount.

                                          I love the NYT cookie (I have far too many different types of flour at home) and it's become, along with the CI big and chewy cookie, my go-to, unless I want something with a more adult taste. No, that's a lie. I have many go-to ccc recipes and am always adding on. Thanks I think I'll give yours a try now.

                                          Oh, btw, as a cookie fan, if you have extra dough in the refrigerator, try a couple of them in a panini maker. Watch closely so they don't burn but you get the great crispy outside, soft chewy inside. Two minutes for me and I have freshly baked cookies. Odd shaped, flat and oval but still delicious.

                                      2. re: AnnaCG

                                        I'm baking them right now but you don't say what temperature. I'm assuming 350? That's what I'm using.

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            I've tried to replicate also and never thought of the roux method. I was using more of a pie crust method. Cutting cold butter into the flour via the food processor. Then adding the rest of the ingredients. The batter is rather dry and crumbly. The cookies are better as they "sit" and I think freezing them will help with the texture. I'm close - but not there yet.

                                            1. re: SherryT

                                              I tried a similar method with cold butter added to the dry ingredients, and then added cold eggs. I let the dough sit for an hour in the refrigerator and some overnight. The cookies were tall but not as tall as AnnaCG's method. They were good right away but lost a lot the day after. And didn't have the butter taste I like in cookies.

                                          2. re: AnnaCG

                                            I really liked this. It was nice and tall and the center was excellent. Mine was a little moisture than your picture, maybe because I pulled it earlier but I did it at 350 for about 18 minutes and then turned it down to 325 for a few more minutes. It looked a lot like Carol's cookies. Thanks! I need to try the real thing now.

                                            1. re: chowser

                                              Sorry I left out the temp. You are right in that it was 350F. I just made an edit.

                                              Thanks for trying the experimental version. Can't wait to hear what you think of the real thing.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                Chowser, I am dying for you to try Carol's cookies so you can seriously tell me if this cookie is right on with hers. It totally looks like it texture wise in the pictures on Anna's site. BTW, Loving Anna and her experiments. I cannot wait to try the roux method. I am having a hard time believing that Carol would have used the roux method though!!! Hmmmmmm....
                                                Sorry I have not been checking the chowhound site lately...I have been playing myself with some cookie recipes. Here is what I have discovered.
                                                Less butter is a good thing!! Still has a nice butter flavor, and no one guesses that there is less butter.
                                                Mixing like a biscuit helps to keep the structure high. Yes it is a crumbled mess once mixed, but you just grab a big handful of dough and shape it in a ball, no problems...it holds together nicely.
                                                Chilling the dough once it is shaped into an individual ball is a huge help in keeping the height of the cookie.
                                                I have been doing 5.5 ounces of dough for my cookies, not as huge as Carol's, but still looking pretty good.
                                                I have had some friends sit down and taste Carol's cookies and mine...results are pretty funny. Mind you, I LOVE Carol's Cookies...my friends are not having the same reaction as me. haha It might not be helping that I had a friend bring me some from Chicago 2 weeks ago on her visit from Highland Park. I froze them immediately and have been taking one or two out of the freezer at a time, letting it come to room temp and then cutting into them. They are crumbly!!
                                                I am pretty sure I am using more brown sugar than Carol, so mine look a bit more brown on the inside and are a bit more moist. No crumbles with my cookie.
                                                When I did the switch to more white sugar than brown sugar, the cookie looked a bit pale and unappealing.
                                                I have not figured out exactly what Carol does...but know I am getting close.
                                                I want to try your cookie recipe you sent in here too...looks good and with a low amount of butter, but a lot of eggs.
                                                Thanks for all the GREAT feedback!! You rock!

                                                1. re: abaker

                                                  I'm dying to know - what is your final recipe? I tried to read the posts again to try to make your version! Just had a Carol's cookie dessert at a restaurant - amazing.

                                              2. re: AnnaCG

                                                I just made AnnaCG's cookies, used half king arthur AP/half ww pastry flour, raw turbinado (granulated) sugar, regular organic butter. Mixed dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter like making pie, then added egg and vanilla, had to use more egg to get it to stay together. 4 ice cream scoops, chilled 20 minutes, sat 10 minutes after baking.

                                                Haven't tried Carol's but these were delicious. Will use a little bread flour next time and let sit overnight. Thanks Anna!

                                              3. I've never had a Carol's cookies, but I regularly freeze chocolate chip ookie dough in a log. I have always sliced it into regular cookie slices, so I'm wondering what would happen if you made a log, froze it, and cut it into "slices" that are 2 inches thick?

                                                1. Has anyone tried adding Cream of Tartar to their recipe? Carol's seems to have a very distinct "baking soda" taste. I think Cream of Tartar adds that same flavor without having the "lifting" action of the baking soda.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: SherryT

                                                    Good thought but it's not in her ingredient list, just the basics w/ baking soda.

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      It does add more "soda" taste.

                                                      I really think the key is in the freezing. Freeze before, Freeze after - and don't back too much.

                                                    2. re: SherryT

                                                      I have thought about cream of tartar due to the fact that my snickerdoodles get a nice crispy crust and soft insides...but like Chowser pointed out...it is not an ingredient on Carol's Cookie list. I know...bummer!! Great thought process though.

                                                    3. I saw this recipe and it says to use instant pudding for the texture.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. I may have the answer to your question, but please indulge me with the preface.... Last week my 13 year old son decided he wanted to bake choc. chip cookies. I was feeling ill and would ordinarily have been happy to help him with the process, but this time I told him he was on his own. He printed out a recipe from the computer, set up the stand mixer, and preheated the oven. All of a sudden a loud "OH NO" came from the kitchen and I stepped in to help. The directions clearly stated "first cream the butter and sugars", then add.(the rest of the ingredients), .but being in a hurry and not paying attention he just dumped everything into the mixing bowl at the same time, except for the eggs, baking soda and choc. chips. Not wanting to throw good ingredients away, we decided to go ahead with the recipe anyway and just let the mixer do its thing, after 5 minutes we had a sandy mix, we added the eggs which made things a little smoother but not much, we then added the dissolved baking soda and the choc chips. The batter was more like a pie dough than a choc. chip cookie dough and the only way to gather the batter together was rolling it into balls. We placed them on the cookie sheets and baked them. They came out looking very much like the cookies on Carol's site. So, I would venture to say, just dump everything into the mixing bowl at once and roll the dough into balls and bake. What turned out to be a mistake, may be the secret to the cookie you're looking for. Please post your results if you try it.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: charlieboy

                                                          charlieboy, I absolutely think you are right on. I truly believe that Carol made a blunder like this long, long ago and her cookies just happened to turn out big and tall. Everything I read about her says that her mother was a great pie maker and not into cookies. I think Carol might have watched her mother in the kitchen and adopted the pie making method to her cookies. Makes sense. Thanks for the reassurance.

                                                        2. Has anyone tried pastry flour??

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: SherryT

                                                            I've made this one, from AnnaCG's site, with pastry and bread flour. It's where the NYT recipe is derived from and good but not tall. I actually prefer the NYT version w/ cake flour instead.


                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              Well, I tried 1/2 pastry and 1/s regular unbleached flour. The only pastry flour I could find was Whole Wheat.

                                                              I want to try again with WHITE pastry flour.

                                                              They turned out very crumbly - like Carol's.

                                                          2. What's the NY Times recipe that you all are referring to? I'm a cookie fiend, so have to try it...

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: ochound

                                                              I have actually only had one Carol's cookie (3+ yrs ago) in my life, but it was so memorable that I am now on her distribution list and her Mother's Day mailout has gotten me on the quest to duplicate her cookies and lead me to this post. After reading it all I am completely capitvated. (and I have never blogged before)

                                                              I am going to make cookies this weekend and after all my reading (above) and resarch (I have also called on my Cook's Illustratated chewy choc chip recipe) I think i am going to try the following.
                                                              1/2 melted butter (in order to help flour "bind" to butter and increase protein/chew)
                                                              1/2 shortening (to add to height, also reduces overall water in recipe making dough siffer)
                                                              Bread flour (again for the gluten)
                                                              equal parts brown and white sugar (traditional)
                                                              1 egg + 1 yolk (increase fat to avoid hardness without adding to much butter and making greasy)
                                                              I am also going to refridgerate the dought to insure the melted butter does not cause any extra spreading. Finally Cook's Illustrated has very specific shaping instructions (make a ball then break in half, "fold", and then smush back to gether with "broken" side facing up)

                                                              Any other thoughts before I embark?

                                                              1. re: cdowning23

                                                                I love the CI recipe and it makes a great cookie. Going with half shortening will help it stay taller but Carole's ingredients don't have that (though I did try). Bread flour is good with the extra protein but the extra gluten could make it tough. The NYT recipe calls for both bread flour (for chew) and cake flour (for less spread) with less gluten to help with toughness. The 1 egg and 1 yolk works well for the CI recipe and I've tried more yolk but it didn't have the effect I wanted. Refrigerate the dough at least 24 hours so the flour has time to absorb the liquids and it makes a huge difference with all cookies. The CI method on breaking the ball makes a nice shaped cookie w/ a scraggle top. If you see the Carole's cookies, prebaking, they look more like hockey picks. I'd love to hear how yours turn out. As odd as the recipe seems, the experimental cookie above is very tall and very good.

                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                  They were delicious (gobbled up in less than 10 minutes at the party I took them too), but still a different animal than Carol's . Still a bit crispy (I don't remember hers having much crisp to them) on the edges and gooey but flat. Like normal cookies -flat. If her's look like hockey pucks pre-baked then maybe they are directly pulled from the freezer.

                                                                  1. re: cdowning23

                                                                    Glad they turned out well! If you like the changes you've made, you might like the NYT recipe we talked about above. It's my favorite chewy ccc so far. It's excellent. The only reason I'm trying variations is that Carol's cookies look so good. But, it, by far, gets better reviews when I bring them to others than any other ccc I've made, including CI's big and chewy CCC cookie which used to be my go-to recipe.

                                                                    I'd thought she might freeze it first but read that the dough wasn't frozen and workers scooped from a batch. I wouldn't be surprised if it was refrigerated for a long time, though. I wonder if frozen cookie sheets might help.

                                                              2. re: ochound

                                                                This is a NYT recipe my husband has been making for me.... It's the standard for the past year or so in our freezer. They freeze very well.

                                                                The salt on top is good, but we've opted to leave it out most of the time.


                                                                1. re: rln

                                                                  I have been following the post as I have been looking to duplicate Carol's Cookies for awhile. I have tried several of the above suggested receipes. To date I have found Anna's experimental cookie to be the most like Carol's. I would love to know if ABaker tried it and what she came up with as her best "Carol's" receipe.

                                                              3. Through the magic of Facebook, check out the following link - http://www.facebook.com/CarolsCookies...

                                                                Carol has pics of her "kitchen" which shows the cookies in ball form. Also nice shots ofthe dough. Maybe more evidence for our CSI project (Carols's Cookie Secret Investigation....


                                                                Also - for 2011 Vday, she has a coupon code for 15% off on the FB page.

                                                                I, too, will be delving into this project as the Whole Foods by us no longer carries Carol's product Apparently, she also sells the raw dough in the fridge section at Sunset Foods in Highland Park, IL. Perhaps a North Shore Carol's Cookie stalker could analyze the dough for the rest of us??
                                                                Carol, I hope you're reading this thread and laughing. :)

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: stellamystar

                                                                  Nice shots. I've seen those--and cold dough definitely helps maintain that taller shape. But, after a few minutes of heat, unless there's a high proportion of flour, the butter will melt and the cookies go flat. I'd love to figure out that ratio. If there were too much butter, that dough on the tray would end up like a big sheet cookie.

                                                                2. You guys have made me very happy, seeing that there are other people that are determined to copycat a giant cookie and having trouble! Only, I've never heard of Carol. In Atlanta we have these cookies by Rooster 14, and I was first introduced to them at a wine tasting. Imagine a giant table stacked high to overflowing with these incredible monstrosities....I still regret not shoving more in my bag and this was 6 months ago. I can't wait to try all these tips!


                                                                  1. So I just saw a recipe for choc chip cookies that looks similar to Carol's and I think would be even more so if we chill or even freeze the rolled cookies before baking. Interestingly, you pulse the butter and flour in a food processor until crumbly, and the eggs in the recipe take the form of chopped or riced hard boiled eggs. Using hard boiled eggs in a Viennese technique that I believe produces a moist, tender, and sturdy cookie. I'll make these as soon as I can and report back. Here is the recipe, which was created by three talented bloggers, as you can read in the link: http://www.bakingandboys.com/2008/10/...

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ohmbecca

                                                                      I saw something with hard boiled eggs a few years ago--I think it was on cookiemadness's blog? It caught my eye but I never got around to trying it. I was working on the tall cookies a few years ago but was gaining too much weight so stopped. If it works for you, I'd love to hear about it.

                                                                      1. re: ohmbecca

                                                                        For sure going to give this one a try!!! They look divine! I love a chewy cookie, so this is looking mighty delicious

                                                                      2. I won't be able to sleep at night if this thread dies.....I just had a Carol's Cookie for the first time the other day and it was incredible! They are seriously THE perfect cookie. I immediately started looking for a mock recipe and stumbled upon this forum. I've read through everyone's comments multiple times, eating up every bit of info I can get my hands on. It sounds like a few of you have come sooooo close to coming up with the recipe, but the posts all of the suddenly stopped. Has everyone given up on this endeavor?!

                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                        1. re: sleepoveroverture

                                                                          Yeah, I stopped--I was gaining too much weight. I decided I needed to try them and then figure it out, rather than trying to match a picture and description. Where did you get yours? Do you live near the store?

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            The calories are worth it for these! If it were the last thing I ever ate, I could die a happy man. I live in AZ and there just so happens to be an AJ's Fine Foods just 2 miles from where I live. The cookies are 2 bucks a piece (way cheaper than ordering them online) and well worth the price. Big enough to share and still be satisfied. Carol's website has a vendor locator. Check it out and see if there is a place close to you that sells them. You have to try them!


                                                                            1. re: sleepoveroverture

                                                                              Thanks--this fell off my radar but she's expanded a lot since I last looked for local stores. I wonder if the quality has suffered but from what you say, it sounds like they're still delicious. I'll have to check it out. Thanks...though maybe my waistline doesn't appreciate it.

                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                Oh man, why did I ever read this thread? And why did I go to Carol's website? Why did I taunt myself like this, when she doesn't ship to CANADA!! *sigh*

                                                                                Now I'll have to ask my colleagues in Chicago for a special favour...;)

                                                                                1. re: AverageJo

                                                                                  You have no idea what you're missing out on....Maybe if we get enough people working on figuring out this recipe again, you can get a glimpse of their greatness.

                                                                              2. re: sleepoveroverture

                                                                                I picked one up at my local AJ's today ($2.79) - chocolate chip w/ walnuts. It was crunchy all the way through. I've never had one of these before - is this how they are supposed to be? If so, I really wasn't impressed.

                                                                                1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                  I'm replying to my own post :)

                                                                                  I went to Carol's website and filled in the "contact us" page, describing my experience that I listed in the above post. This morning, I got a phone call from Carol, thanking me for taking the time to contact them. She followed up the phone call w/ a nice email -- I am pasting the text below. (I was hoping that she'd offer to send me a cookie or two to make up for my inconvenience, but no such luck!). Anyway, here is the email she sent me:

                                                                                  * * *
                                                                                  We are so sorry you had this experience with our cookie. The cookie is a dense cookie but should be hard on the outside and softer on the inside. You can put our cookies in the microwave for 20 sec. to soften them up. We ship frozen and the stores keep them in their freezers..When they put them out there will be a 3 to 5 day shelf life on them. I hope this answers your question.. Hope you will purchase our cookies in the future.

                                                                                  1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                    I was wondering, based on your experience, whether they shipped the cookies or the cookie dough to be baked. The latter would give so much better shelf life and cookies but you lose the control of baking. I'm surprised they didn't send you a coupon.

                                                                                    As the cookie goes, rather than microwaving such a large cookied, I'd put a piece of bread in the container with it to soften it up. It'll ruin any chewy exterior but the cookie won't be hard at least.

                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                      I think they ship the cookies already formed, since she said the stores keep "them" in their freezers. Otherwise they'd have to trust that the stores scoop out the dough to the right size portions, bake at the right temp for the right amount of time, etc.

                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                        I'm not surprised they didn't send a coupon, since the same thing happened to me. I explained in an email that I drove an admittedly ridiculous 30 miles each way to taste a ccc from Carol's. It was far from worth it. The cookie was obviously stale, as hard as a cookie would be that sat in the jar for at least a week if not two. The plastic wrap around each cookie did nothing for the freshness of the cookie.

                                                                                        The store I purchased from had definitely let them linger too long. Carol sent pretty much the same email response to me, which left me very reluctant to spend money on any of her products again. A simple gesture would have gone a long way in this case.

                                                                            2. I realize this is an old thread, but I spent the weekend working toward cloning a Carol's Cookie -- and thanks to AnnaCG's recipe -- it worked. I've managed to make an identical clone (at least according to my tasters and my blind taste-test).

                                                                              I followed the recipe -- including making the roux -- and deviated only by changing the ratio of brown sugar to white. I used 3.5Tbsp brown, 1.5 Tbsp white. I also used slightly less than 1Tbsp of a beaten egg.

                                                                              The dough was incredibly crumbly -- but it matched a picture I saw on Carol's site of her cookie dough. It looks like there's not enough moisture in it, but if you ball it up tightly -- after adding the chips -- it forms (just barely, though). This seems to be (one) secret -- an almost dry, crumbly dough. I formed it and pressed it just slightly into a big raw cookie ball.

                                                                              20 mins @ 350F in a convection oven. 18-19 mins for a slightly softer center (which matched some Carol samples I had. Some had slightly soft, doughy centers -- which were incredibly good when reheated slightly).

                                                                              Cool for 30 mins, then directly into the freezer for 12 hours. Defrost in the fridge, then eat. A big, tall cookie that's not at all "cake-like" -- just dense, slightly chewy, with an interior texture identical to Carol's. I'd venture to say that this was *slightly* better than Carol's (or at least that's the opinion of the tasters -- however, our Carol's samples were from Whole Foods, so it's hard to tell how fresh they were. I assume they were pretty fresh, though.)

                                                                              A couple other things I did:

                                                                              - Made the roux with the Euro butter and flour, dumped it into a mini food processor. It was very warm, but I went ahead and pulsed it, then I added the salt and baking soda, pulsed it, then added the egg and vanilla -- pulsed it. At this point, it was cooler, so I just dumped it into a bowl, added a handful of chips, and pressed everything together with my fingers just barely wet with cold water. Another batch I made -- identical -- didn't hold together at all. So I added a bit of Grand Marnier (I just happened to have it sitting on the counter) -- a tiny bit, maybe a 1/4 tsp -- and this held it. No taste in the final product -- and no real difference in the texture. Previously (before I narrowed down the ratios and realized that the crumbly texture is the real secret here) I tried a bit of heavy cream to bind it, but the cream *did* change the cookie -- flattened it out and didn't give it the fat look of Carol's cookie. The cookie with the cream tasted really good -- thinner -- and it looked like a prototypical "chocolate chip cookie" is supposed to look: thinnish, chewy and dense. It's a great cookie, just not a Carol's clone.

                                                                              - I also tried adding a bit more egg -- even tried the hardboiled egg route -- but beyond a tablespoon of egg and the cookie's texture became too cakey -- and not very good. The hardboiled egg -- actually one half of a hardboiled egg -- worked but only when I also added a bit of water (maybe 1/2 teaspoon or so). I think the moisture of the egg helps hold it together, so I'd recommend just lightly scrambling a single egg in a bowl, measure out just smidge less than a tablespoon, and then discarding (or using in something else) the rest of the egg.

                                                                              - Preheated a Breville convection oven for about 15 mins to 350F. Baked on a cookie sheet with parchment. The recipe makes a cookie that's slightly smaller -- but just as dense -- as Carol's. I tried fiddling with the egg (adding more to add moisture -- but it made it too cakey) and fiddling with the sugar ratios (I used dark brown sugar and found that the more brown sugar, the better the taste -- and the closer to Carol's) and even tried splitting the batch into 2 cookies (but one big cookie seemed to work the best).

                                                                              - I'm not sure the freezing and defrosting makes that much of a difference, but the defrosted cookies do have a slightly different -- better, I suppose -- texture -- so there might be something to this. Hard to tell.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: bobbyrolla

                                                                                Bobbyrolla, you are a true Chowhound! I look forward to making these cookies.
                                                                                Going to Chicago in March and Carol's Cookies are on the list!