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Please help me troubleshoot these Chocolate Chip Cookies

housewolf Feb 10, 2010 05:41 PM

I made these Chocolate Chip Cookies, supposedly the "Best" Chocolate Chip Coolies

The dough turned out to be very dry and crumbly, and the baked cookies are hard, tough and overly chewy. I still have a lot of the unbaked dough. Can you think of anything I can do with it at this point to improve the cookies? I hate to just throw out the ingredients, but the cookies are not enjoyable in the least.

Any suggestions?

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  1. firecooked RE: housewolf Feb 10, 2010 06:02 PM

    The ingredients are the same as the Nestle's recipe, but with almost 2x the ratio of sugars to the other ingredients. wow (and I normally cut back on the recipe as I don't like things overly sweet)!

    Have you tried underbaking them?

    1 Reply
    1. re: firecooked
      cookieluvntasha RE: firecooked Feb 11, 2010 12:15 PM

      with that much sugar, no wonder the cookies were hard!

    2. l
      Lixer RE: housewolf Feb 10, 2010 06:33 PM

      You could try pressing the dough into a pie or springform pan as the crust for a cheesecake or peanut butter pie maybe?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lixer
        housewolf RE: Lixer Feb 11, 2010 01:28 PM

        Thank you for your suggestion. I think I figured out what was wrong - see my post below.

      2. chowser RE: housewolf Feb 10, 2010 06:44 PM

        I actually like this recipe and got about the same result as the pictures in the blog. I wonder if you used too much flour? What method did you use to measure? Did you mix it a lot after adding the flour--that could also make it tough.

        With the dough you have, for something easy, you could just bake the cookies, mix with a slightly sweetened whipped cream and refrigerate a few hours. You get a mousse like chocolate chip cookie dessert. Or for something a little more complicated, this would go well w/ it:


        Or, along the lines of Dorie Greenspan's chipster topped brownies, make brownie batter, carefully spoon the ccc dough on top and bake. The moisture from the brownies should help the dry ccc.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chowser
          housewolf RE: chowser Feb 11, 2010 01:27 PM

          Thank you for your suggestion. I think I figured out what was wrong - see my post below.

        2. kattyeyes RE: housewolf Feb 10, 2010 06:50 PM

          Check this thread for ideas.

          The OP suggested adding espresso powder to cut the sweetness. Having made a slight variation of these just yesterday, I can only say:
          1. I don't find them to be too sweet.
          2. Don't make them small, use a scoop and plunk down a generous scoop of batter. I used about a 2-inch ice cream scoop.
          3. firecooked is right on--don't overbake.
          4. I don't trust my oven to do the top to bottom switch. I made the second batch just using the top rack of the oven and they were perfect. Take a gander.

          Done right, (not too small and not overbaked), these cookies come out crispy outside, chewy once you break through the crisp. Wishing you better luck with round 2--don't feel bad, btw, I burned some of my first batch 'cause they were rounded tablespoonsful and I was messing with the setting of the oven because my hanging thermometer had a low reading. I really did like these cookies and thought they were especially good (I added pecans, too).

          1 Reply
          1. re: kattyeyes
            housewolf RE: kattyeyes Feb 11, 2010 01:30 PM

            Completely agree with you about using a scoop - it makes for a much more even batch of cookies and they all bake better. I used a 1-1/4" scoop when I made the cookies.

          2. c
            crigg RE: housewolf Feb 10, 2010 08:37 PM

            Bakers Best Chocolate Chip Cookies


            Everyone always loves this recipe, watch the first batch or they'll end up burnt!!!! I usually make the cookies with one tbsp of dough so they are about 100 calories each... :)

            1. c
              cinnamon girl RE: housewolf Feb 10, 2010 09:12 PM

              Yes it sounds like too much flour to me too. Did you scoop the flour maybe, packing it in too much? Is the dough warm? Would working it with your hands a bit soften it? . . . even working it with buttery hands.

              As an aside, another thing not mentioned in the blog (or I missed it) is about "aging" the dough. There was an article in the NYT about a year ago and I'm wondering if City Bakery, mentioned in the blog, is that of one of the bakers interviewed. The upshot of it was that they let the dough sit in the fridge a good long time for better flavour (more caramelly from the brown sugar) and, I suppose, hydration. I tried it as soon as I read the article (not too obsessed), and baked a couple right away, waited 6 hours baked a few more . . . and so on up to 36 hours, which was optimal (I'm going from memory here). I found a big difference in flavour at 24 hrs. Anyway only interesting if you're on a quest for cookie perfection.

              3 Replies
              1. re: cinnamon girl
                mooncaked RE: cinnamon girl Feb 10, 2010 11:50 PM

                "Aging" the dough definitely saved a batch of chocolate-mint chip cookies I made once -- it was my first time with the recipe so I followed it exactly and the first batch came out dry, hard, and rather tasteless. I added half another egg on a desperate whim to combat the dryness, and the second batch had somewhat better texture, but still not amazing. I stuck the remaining dough in the fridge out of frustration/sadness, then resumed baking the next evening. The "aged" batch produced a very admiring "ohmygod" from my taste testers who couldn't believe it was the same dough -- the final cookies had a distinctly 'caramelly' flavor and great texture (crisp outside, chewy inside); they were nothing like the cookies from the first few batches.

                I 'age' my chocochip cookie dough whenever I can wait for them; the time spent in the fridge has NEVER done any harm to my cookies. Worth a shot!

                1. re: mooncaked
                  cinnamon girl RE: mooncaked Feb 11, 2010 02:10 PM

                  Wow - that's a dramatic difference. I didn't notice a huge textural difference (there was a subtle one); it was mainly in the taste with my chocolate chip cookies. But your post reminds me of making the Dorrie Greenspan/Pierre Herme Korolov (?) cookies last C'mas. (She dubbed them "World Peace Cookies.") The dough was so hard to work with after refrigerating the required time that I just wrapped it up and let it lounge in the fridge a couple of days. Then I tried again and it was much easier to work with. However, there wasn't a lot of taste difference likely as there was so much dark chocolate . . . likely obscured the caramel nuances.

                2. re: cinnamon girl
                  housewolf RE: cinnamon girl Feb 11, 2010 01:32 PM

                  Admittedly, the ones I baked the 2nd day were better-flavored than the ones I baked the first day. There does seem to be something to the technique of refrigerating the dough for a period of time.

                3. ChristinaMason RE: housewolf Feb 10, 2010 11:49 PM

                  I made the same cookies, and they turned out pretty well, tho they looked different from the blog photo you referenced.


                  Overbeating sounds likely, since you mention they're tough. Was your butter soft enough to distribute evenly? Did you use brown sugar as called for? Pull them out of the oven and off the hot pan while you still think they're underone...they'll be just right. A couple minutes more and these turn into crunchy cookies (which have a richer browned butter flavor, but still...


                  Maybe you could mix in another egg or a few more tablespoons of butter to up the moisture content? I'm worried about doing any more mixing though. The longer you "age" the dough, by the way, the drier and crumblier it tends to get.

                  Definitely make BIG cookies with this recipe. I've read a CI (I think) method where you form a big drop cookie, pull the dough apart into halves with your hand, they turn the rough edges up and smush the cookie back together. This is supposed to make a craggy, uneven top for nice chunky cookie texture.

                  Frankly, if you have an ice cream maker, you might try re-purposing your dough in homemade chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Otherwise, bake the dough and make trifle with pudding and whipped cream.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ChristinaMason
                    housewolf RE: ChristinaMason Feb 11, 2010 01:34 PM

                    Unfortunately, I don't own an ice cream maker.

                    Thank you for your ideas and suggestions. I think I figured out what was wrong - see my post below.

                  2. e
                    elaine3116 RE: housewolf Feb 11, 2010 05:04 AM

                    Well I agree that the sugar may have caused the problem. Here is what I would do to try to save this-- place all of the cookie dough in a pan . Mix together cream cheese and an egg with just a little bit of icing sugar (for a small brick of cheese I would add about 1/4 c of icing sugar) -- them put this mixture in dobs by teaspoon all over the brownie mixture. Cut the cheese mixture in with a knife so that it goes in between the cookie dough-- this should add more moisture into the dough. Bake just like you would a brownie. Then serve with a little ice cream and some chocolate sauce

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: elaine3116
                      housewolf RE: elaine3116 Feb 11, 2010 01:36 PM

                      What a creative suggestion - Sounds delicious! I think I figured out my problem - see my post below.

                    2. d
                      dknylic RE: housewolf Feb 11, 2010 10:03 AM

                      Hi all. That's my recipe you're all discussing, and I must admit I'm a little stymied! I've only had a handful of people write to me about problems over the years, but crumbliness/toughness has never come up before. There is indeed quite a lot of sugar in these cookies--that's what helps achieve the crispy/chewy/toffee effect--but I'd be surprised if that's the culprit. I'm inclined to think it's too much flour, as others have said--I always "fluff" my flour before measuring (by stirring it around a bit), then scoop spoonfuls into the cup, and sweep the back of a knife across the top.

                      Housewolf, what's your technique?

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: dknylic
                        kattyeyes RE: dknylic Feb 11, 2010 10:08 AM

                        Well, hey, look who's here! :) I kicked off my blog with a very minor variation of your cookies and think they rock. Welcome to Chowhound! I hope you noticed the positive feedback on the thread someone began several years ago about your recipe.

                        1. re: dknylic
                          chowser RE: dknylic Feb 11, 2010 12:14 PM

                          Your blog is fun. I love the way you describe the roll of ccc dough.

                          1. re: chowser
                            dknylic RE: chowser Feb 11, 2010 12:41 PM

                            Thanks, guys! Kattyeyes, I've been on chow for a looooong time, but mostly I use it for research. Don't post often enough, even though I'm here at least a couple times a month.

                            And yes, I did see that earlier thread. Just didn't seem appropriate to jump in there, kwim?

                            1. re: dknylic
                              kattyeyes RE: dknylic Feb 11, 2010 01:27 PM

                              Understood. Nice to meet you electronically and thanks for the recipe! :) I got a kick out of "HFS!"

                          2. re: dknylic
                            housewolf RE: dknylic Feb 11, 2010 01:40 PM

                            Thanks so much for checking in here and for trying to help!

                            I really like to weigh my ingredients, but when I made the cookies the other day like you, I fluffed the flour and then lightly spooned the flour into the cup and leveled it off. I think the problem was with the butter - I think I must have only used half the amount the recipe called for. I'll try your recipe again very soon and I'm sure I'll have better results with it.

                            1. re: housewolf
                              dknylic RE: housewolf Feb 11, 2010 01:48 PM

                              That would definitely do it ;) Better luck next time! And the refrigerating thing is big too--when I wrote that post the NYT article hadn't been published yet. I do find that the cookies are better if I refrigerate overnight. The hard part is not eating all the dough in the meanwhile.

                            2. re: dknylic
                              ChristinaMason RE: dknylic Feb 11, 2010 02:56 PM

                              mmm, toffee. I just baked up a mini-batch of leftover dough I'd frozen, and my DH said they tasted even better than the ones from the night-of. They sure look good!

                              1. re: ChristinaMason
                                chowser RE: ChristinaMason Feb 11, 2010 03:45 PM

                                I sometimes add Heath toffee bits to my ccc cookies and increase the flour slightly. They're really good.

                            3. h
                              housewolf RE: housewolf Feb 11, 2010 01:51 PM

                              Thanks, everyone, for sharing your ideas and suggestions. I think I figured out the problem - I must have only used half the butter called for in the recipe. I was contemplating making just a half a batch since I live by myselt. I dug through the trash for the piece of paper on which I'd written the ingredients and quantities, and found that I'd written just 2 oz for the butter.

                              But when I looked at all the ingredients as a whole, it seemed easier to just go ahead and make a full batch. But having the wrong amount on my sheet, I goofed it up.

                              I'd only baked 4 cookies and still had all the remaining dough, so I tried to fix it by adding more butter. Should have worked, except that then I confused myself by trying to remember if I onlly halved other ingredients and ended up adding too much butter, so ultimately I dumped it so that I could start fresh and not have a batch of sub-par cookies to eat.

                              Again, thank you all so much - this is a wonderfully friendly and supportive forum with many creative bakers, which is a delight.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: housewolf
                                chowser RE: housewolf Feb 11, 2010 02:10 PM

                                Funny, I thought it was either too much flour or too little butter but since butter isn't as hard to measure, just assumed it must be the flour. Dry and crumbly doesn't normally describe the dough at all. Glad you figured it out.

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