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Why do my cookies and brownies turn out cake-like?

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I don't bake often, but lately when I've tried, my cookies and brownies have turned out more cake-like than cookie or brownie-like. I've got all new ingredients, followed several different recipes closely, and I keep getting the same bread-y texture.

I must be doing something wrong, but I don't know what. Any ideas?

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  1. Without know what ingredients you are using and the ratios, it's almost impossible to say.

    Generally, "cake like" happens when the proportion of fat and liquid is disproportionate to flour and leavening agent (baking powder or soda).

    Other causes include, over-mixing which can cause cookies to be tough b/c extra gluten formation.

    Also, leaving cookies to cool on the sheet can be another culprit.

    But without knowing more it's impossible to give you specific guidance.

    1. All new ingredients? A higher protein flour could affect texture.

      1. Aside from the cookies, depending the the recipe, brownies can range between a moist cake to candy like fudge. It might just be the particular brownie recipe.

        1. try underbaking slightly to get that dense chewy texture

          1. As previously stated, it's impossible to assess your issue without a complete recipe. However, be thankful you have brownies that are "cake-like". Some people can't make a brownie that isn't "brick-like" ... those are inedible.

            1. Have they turned out fine in the past? My first guess would be too much flour or overmixing--how are you measuring and mixing?

              1. Eggs are often the culprit in both, and too much flour often in brownies.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chefj

                  @chefj My thought too -- "cake-like" brownie box instructions always call for an extra egg.

                  I wonder if the OP is buying jumbo eggs? Standard for recipes is large. That would account for a 20% increase.

                2. I like cookies that are flat and chewy, so I melt the butter and mix ingredients by hand. Melted butter and hand mixing also produce, fudgy brownies. Both should be slightly underbaked, and cookies should not be cooled in the pan. The easiest way is to bake them on parchment, so you just slide the parchment onto the cooling rack as soon as the pan comes out of the oven. The cookies may be too soft to move with a spatula, but will quickly firm up as the parchment sits on the rack. Using parchment also means you can portion the cookies onto the paper as the first pan is baking, then just slide the filled parchment sheet into the still-hot empty pan and get it right back into the oven. Saves time and fuel. I make brownies in mini-muffin tins because I like a lot of edge, with a fudgy center. I underbake slightly, 15 min @350, cool in the pan for 15 min, then turn out onto the cooling rack.

                  1. Here are a few things that may really help:

                    Do not completely melt the butter. Allow it to soften to the point where you can mash it with a fork.

                    Add butter to the mixer first. Let the mixer whip the butter til it gets slightly creamy then add other wet ingredients.

                    Add eggs 1 at a time.

                    For the eggs-the omega 3 eggs seem to be a bit fuller I dont know. And this could give the recipe more moisture and turn the cookies into a cake like texture. Try just regular eggs.

                    It's ok to use the whisk like attachment on the mixer when mixing the wet ingredients. Maybe switching to the cookie attachment or the dough hook once you start adding the dry ingredients to the mixture.

                    If you dont have the dough hook or cookie attachment. Just use a fork and start to fold the dry ingredients into the mixer and keep folding and lightly stirring with the fork.

                    Also check and make sure you are using all purpose flour for your cookie recipe. The tollhouse recipe calls out baking soda instead of baking powder. Also something to keep in mind.