HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Why do my toll house cookies deflat once out of the oven?

I've read hundreds of posts on suggestions to solve the flat crispy cookie problem. I know it's only a problem if you don't like flat crispy cookies, half the population like flat, the other half likes thick and chewy. Often the flat cookie populace strives for thick and chewy and vice versa.

I've tried everything, chill the dough, froze the dough, melt the butter, not melt the butter, change white/brown sugar combination, Alton Brown's recipe, 5 different other chocolate chip cookie recipes, added up to 3/4 cup more flour, used dark pans, light aluminum pans, preheated the oven, calibrated the oven with two different thermometers, tap the pan after I take them out of the oven.

The issue is I don't really want to change the tollhouse recipe as my good friend, and it seems many others, can achieve thick chewy chickens with the same recipe. I 've even checked elevation differences between our cities to see if elevations make a difference.

Finally, I conducted a control study where I invited my friend to come over to my house to bake them. She brought all her own ingredients, utensils, and battered aluminum baking sheet, and....redemption! Her cookies made at my house in my oven came out flat!!!

I've narrowed it down to my oven (but I don't want to discourage any other ideas). My question to all you Bakers, Chemist, Physicist (yes I think it's become more of a scientific questions) rather than one of technique or ingredients, is could it be the heat intensity on my Thermodor professional oven even though it calibrates correctly at 375 and correctly pre-heated. Could it be that the intensity, humidity of the professional oven could be melting the butter too quickly or differently creating the air bubbles I see when I take the cookies out of the oven, where all the air swooshes out resulting in flat crispy cookies???

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Well, everything I would have suggested, you seem to have already tried. Since it happened to your friend when she baked cookies at your house, my guess is that it's your oven. Personally, I like a flatter cookie, but I did bake an oatmeal cookie once that called for baking soda as well as baking powder and they came out higher and cakier than I prefer. Maybe you could add a little baking powder. You mentioned that you checked elevation differences but I am curious what your elevation actually is. Once you reach around 5,000 ft., things can change.
    Try baking them at a next door neighbors house and see what the results are.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Saluti

      Saluti,
      I tried dissolving the baking soda in 2 tsp hot water first and although it didn't make them thicker, they were slightly chewer, but still wafer thin flat. My cookies taste great, just like how toll house cookie recipes should taste. I haven't tried adding baking powder yet, mainly because I didn't necessarily want a cake like consistency. My town elevation is 352 vs my friends is 87.

      A couple more interesting tidbits in this mystery is my friend purchased the pre-made Nestle toll house cookie dough and baked in her oven and they came out flat and crispy like my homemade ones. Also, my previous oven was a whirlpool and the cookies came out flat also, although not as flat as my Thermodor oven. Literally my cookies de-flat to the point where only the chocolate chips poke out, the dough is flat as paper. One other thing I tried which one armchair scientist on the another blog suggested was adding almost an extra cup of flour, thinking the cookies lacked structure, although they were slightly thicker, they too deflated once out of the oven. With the added flour, the toll house buttery, sugary sweetness was gone...and although still a good tasting cookie, was not the same.

      I'm just curious on whether oven heat have varying characteristics, aside from the temperature as measured by the thermometer, that can cause this problem.

    2. couple of thoughts --

      I'm assuming your oven is convection... I would highly advise baking at 325 or possibly 350.

      I assume your only leavener in the Toll House is baking soda... i'd cut it in half, as there isn't enough acid to really utiliize its leavening capacity. instead, as an acid, it will promote spread, and browning.

      one other idea is keep your Toll House, and add an extra yolk. this will provide a little more structure and height to your cookie.

      you seem to have exhausted most of the other options, so i hope something in here is helpful!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Emme

        Hi Emme,
        I have both a convection setting and regular setting. I've understand convection runs about 25 degrees hotter and tried cooking on convection at lower temperature and watching them like a hawk. As with the regular oven setting, they come out ok, but than deflate....

      2. what sort of climate do you have where you live?

        Humid weather always gives me flat cookies -- drier weather allows them to raise higher AND retain their shape. (we're a thick and chewy household, although the thin crispy ones disappear at the same rate)

        I'd try a little baking powder, too -- it can't hurt -- I've added by mistake a few times, although I can't say that they came out significantly taller.

        5 Replies
        1. re: sunshine842

          I'm in the San Francisco Bay area where the whether is temperate without much extremes most of the year, I'll try the baking powder....

          1. re: dorymoments

            but the fog would indicate pretty high humidity, wouldn't it?

            1. re: sunshine842

              It's not foggy throughout the (nine-county) SF Bay Area, as there are many inland areas and lots of microclimates. In general, it's only a moderate-humidity climate although until the past couple of weeks, we've had a couple of months of much lower than normal humidity (under 30%). At any rate, I've never had these flat-cookie issues here. I think it's the OP's oven or technique.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                I just know that the two times I visited (and loved) SF, the fog was of the pea-soup variety, lingering as a thick haze even through the warm afternoon....maybe I was just lucky.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  Fogginess in SF depends much on season and neighborhood, to be sure. I assumed that the OP wasn't in the city of SF, given that she mentioned Bay Area, and would note that the SF Bay Area proper encompasses nine counties, ranging from foggy bayside to well inland, and measures over 150 miles north to south, so includes many microclimates. However, on the whole it is, as OP says, temperate and even in SF lacks the high/low-humidity extremes that often affect baking. Good thought WRT troubleshooting, however.

        2. "thick chewy chickens"? Have to ask... typo or regional/family nickname for cookies? I totally want to steal that!

          Do you have an oven thermometer to check your friend's oven? Measure oven rack distance from element in both ovens? Does one oven have a hidden element? Unless you have oven ghosts smashing down those chickens, something simple and easily fixable is at play here.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chipoltay

            LOLOL - somehow I missed that.

          2. Have you tried decreasing the amount of butter? I made a batch of cookies a few weeks ago and accidentally doubled the fat, they tasted good but were flat & crispy. I know the butter will add flavor, but the more butter you have the flatter they will be.

            1. Are you baking them long enough? Even another minute could firm up the structure.

              1. I just had another thought. Are you using all-purpose flour or some type of low gluten flour? I remember experimenting with spelt and oat flours while making some cookies last year and they turned out as flat as you described yours but very crisp. It was because of the lack of gluten. Could this be the problem?

                3 Replies
                1. re: Saluti

                  I think Saluti is on to something here. The reason things collapse is because there isn't enough gluten strength to trap the air. There are a couple of things you can try to strengthen the gluten:

                  1. Use a higher-protein flour. I find that my Toll House cookies turn out flatter when I use Pillsbury flour (which has 3g protein per "serving", or about 10.5%) than when I use King Arthur All-Purpose (4g protein per "serving", or about 11.7%). I imagine that if I used White Lily (which I order in, and which has 2% protein per "serving", or about 9.3%) they'd be flat and crispy.

                  2. Beat the flour a little longer than you might otherwise; this seems counterintuitive because nobody wants tough cookies, but just as little as 5-10 seconds in the mixer will develop the gluten enough to make the cookies chewy. (This will vary on your mixer.)

                  3. Use solid butter (not melted) and chill your dough for just 5-10 minutes before scooping and baking. Butter is 20% water, so if you use two sticks' worth of melted butter, you've got almost a quarter cup of water in liquid phase that will boil out more quickly in a 375ºF oven—before the structure of the cookie can be set. (It seems like you're sort of halfway on this, because the structure sets but then deflates.)

                  4. Make sure you're using large eggs and not jumbo eggs. There's water in eggs too, and the difference is pretty big between the sizes.

                  5. As someone else said, bake the cookies a little longer. I think the recipe calls for 12 minutes' baking at 375ºF. I find that in almost every oven I've ever used that it requires 15 minutes.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Thanks Das Ubergeek,
                    Tried all your suggestions and more from multiple blogs....I typically use Pillsbury or Gold Medal flour and perhaps you're right, they may have a lower protein content, but then, how to explain my friend whose cookies always come out thick and chewy using all my same ingredients with success at her house, but failure at mine.

                    Your response implies a scientific bent, which I always appreciate and drawn to. I submitted my question to American's Test Kitchen and hoping they will give it some serious thought and perhaps testing and provide a response.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      Das Ubergeek,
                      I think gluten was the issue. I beat the flour an extra 10-15 seconds and viola, that solved the problem. It makes a lot of sense now thinking back on my problem because my cookies were not spreading in the oven, they deflated once out of the oven, implying insufficient structure to maintain the rise from the butter and eggs. I didn't even have to chill the dough or cook any longer than the 9 minutes. They came out perfect (at least from my perspective :), They were crispy and golden on the edges and soft and chewy, without being cake-like, in the center.

                      Thanks for all your great suggestions!!

                  2. First know that cookies are always going to "deflate" a little when out of the oven. Leaveners or yeast activity creates gas in the dough which expands when hot. What you're trying to do with any leavener is create gas to rise the product. Baking is your attempt to set that gas bubble matrix, and the gluten of flour is what creates the web or scaffolding for those bubbles. A dough with a high proportion of butter and sugar will always have a somewhat flexible scaffolding vs. say, a lean bread dough where you can bake it to a hard crust that doesn't deflate when it cools. Your cookies just don't have enough scaffolding.
                    Change nothing about the toll house recipe other than increasing the flour 1/2c. and retarding the dough--stash it the fridge for overnight or longer before baking. You'll get a HUGE improvement in texture of the finished product because it gives the flour time to fully hydrate and unwind it's gluten (the scaffolding, as outlined above). Retarding is also a boon to flavor, although two or three days is closer to ideal in that case. I get that this does not always suit ones' schedule, but it makes a huge difference.
                    Lower the oven temp to 325-350 and pull the cookies when they look just barely set. A thicker cookie needs lower, slower heat to set the center before the edges get too done.

                    Also make sure you're creaming the business out of the butter/sugar mix. Most people I've observed severely under-do this and it makes a huge difference. If you can feel any grittiness of sugar granules in the fluff, it's not done creaming. Beat in the eggs one at a time and until you're back to fluffy and light.
                    It is not your oven. I promise I could bake my thick, chewy cookies in yours or ANY oven.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: splatgirl

                      Splatgirl,
                      I have yet to chill the dough overnight and longer, definitely worth a try. I'm happy to hear you don't think it's my oven as it was depressing thinking I have to live with flat cookies the rest of my natural life (not about to replace the over having spent what I consider a small fortune on it).

                      Regarding you ability to bake thick chewy cookies in any oven, my friend said the same thing when she came over to bake. She baked using all her own ingredients, utensils, pans, applied her swear by hand mix method (her theory is to not to overcream the butter and sugar). Everyone raves about her toll house cookies being the best ever, she uses the toll house recipe to the letter and has made them successfully for 35 years, but at my house, her cookies deflated.
                      She's not convinced it's my oven either as she's baked the pre-packaged Nestle toll house dough at her house and they came out flat, so we're both determined to dissect ingredients, and methods until a solution is reached.

                      Thanks to all for replying and keep them coming in. I'm determined to find an answer....although I see there have been 4-5 threads dating back to 2004, and no one's solved it that I see :(

                      1. re: dorymoments

                        Try the flour thing. I promise you, it will work.
                        As you've already discovered, though, it's a fine line. Too much flour alters texture and flavor for the worse, so I'll repeat my advice about retarding the dough. In addition to better flavor, you'll need less flour to get the same thickness cookie than if you don't retard.

                        With any recipe you deem too flat, increase flour in 1/4c. increments and bake a test cookie at each step if you're not sure.

                        FWIW, I have used the flour ratio adjustment with success on many cookie recipes in my repertoire, not just chocolate chip, and traveled it far and wide.
                        Just observing the consistency of the dough will tell you a lot. It should be cohesive and stick to itself moreso than the bowl or beater, but the "just by look" thing comes after getting it right a few times and then remembering what "right" looks like.

                    2. It is funny I spent years trying to figure out why my chocolate chip cookies never spread in the oven. I tried many recipes, different ovens, 3 different cities over 10 years and finally I found out that my cookies did not spread because I never bothered to cream sugar and butter enough. Since you have the opposite problem, I would suggest that you simply mix butter and sugar instead of creaming them and I am pretty sure your cookies won't be flat.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: SerenaE

                        Thanks SerenaE! funny you suggest not creaming, as there are exact opposite suggestions within this thread and many outside blogs, that I'm not creaming enough :) My friend, whom I used to conduct my control experiment, swears by her method of hand mixing to avoid creaming too much, creating too much air, which than deflates. She used her method at my house, my oven, and her cookies, carefully "undercreamed" deflated

                      2. If you're interested in the scientific details, Alton Brown and Shirley Corriher covered them in his 3 chocolate chip cookies episode years ago. I find it interesting every time I reread it.

                        http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Season...

                        Have you tried changing the temperature of the oven? A higher temperature oven might set the outside of the cookies before they have a chance to rise enough. Maybe start w/ a lower temperature until the outside firms up and then turn it up, if you want. I never bake cookies at 375; usually I do it at 350, and reduce to 325 for large cookies. You might also try doubling the cookie sheets so they don't get too hot too quickly which can cause the cookies to spread.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: chowser

                          Chowser,
                          Thanks for the Alton Brown link. It's handy to have the written transcript. I have purchased several termometers to calibrate the oven and have modified the temperature lower and higher, than lower as you suggest, no success. The problem is not that they spread in the oven, I've got that controlled through chilling the dough, adding small increments of flour, reducing the baking soda, it's when they come out of the oven, they deflate.

                          Das Ubergeek made one suggestion of mixing the dough just 10-15 seconds longer to set the gluten. I haven't tried that yet, as there is so much caution to not overmix otherwise bake goods get tough, though I've exhausted all the variables, so will try that...

                          1. re: dorymoments

                            My favorite chocolate chip recipe uses a combination of bread and cake flour which has a slightly higher protein content, which is along the lines of beating the cookie longer to develop more gluten as Das Ubergeek recommended. Using some baking powder might be helpful, even in place of some baking soda. Would you consider using some shortening in place of butter? That would make a huge difference.

                            1. re: chowser

                              absolutely -- Crisco will give you a much airier texture. (smacking my forehead for not having thought of it before chowser said something)

                              I can't buy Crisco where I live, so I use half butter and half of an all-vegetable margarine used for cooking here in France...using all "margarine de patisserie" gives me nice-looking cookies with no flavor...all butter gives me great-tasting cookies that spread all the way across the pan...and a 50/50 blend gives me nice cakey-chewy cookies with great buttery flavor.

                              1. re: chowser

                                Cake flour is lower protein than AP or bread flour. If the point is more gluten development, cake flour is counter productive and a mix of cake and bread flour probably gets you pretty close to the protein content of plain old AP flour.

                                In the OP's situation, it would be difficult to overmix chocolate chip cookie dough to the point where the gluten overdevelops or starts to break down. There's just too little liquid and too much fat for that to be a problem. And a difference of 15 seconds in mixing time isn't going to make a lick of difference for the same reason. Unless you're doing an autolyse with the flour which I have never heard of or done for cookie baking, the time it takes to mix up and pan a cookie dough is much too short for the flour to fully hydrate in the first place. Which is why retarding is helpful. Just like with no-knead bread, retarding the dough allows the flour time to fully hydrate and unwind it's gluten.

                                1. re: splatgirl

                                  The recipe, if I recall correctly, calls for being chilled in the fridge for 15 minutes. That is plenty of time for an autolyse, though it would happen after the mixture.

                                  1. re: splatgirl

                                    The recipe calls for a combination of bread and cake flour, not just cake flour and the end result is a little more protein than AP (sorry it wasn't more clear in my post). Mixing the dough a little more will develop the gluten more, not to the point of it being overdeveloping or breaking down (not sure when that would be since it doesn't happen easily even with kneading bread). The fat in the cookies won't stop the development of the gluten, or we'd never have successful brioche. Funny you should talk about autolyse with this because letting the dough rest overnight to let the flour absorb the liquid makes the best chocolate chip cookies, which leads to my favorite recipe.

                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/din...

                                    And my favorite ccc:

                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/din...

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      Fat is an impediment to gluten development. It takes significantly more working to get a well developed brioche vs. a lean dough.

                                      I actually think the cake+BF combo has merit as a way to improve cookie texture, but not for the reason you state. Protein content varies significantly enough between flour brands that unless you're doing the math and scaling to the gram, the assumption about protein level could be completely off. Based on King Arthur flours (simply because their protein contents are easily gleaned), with a 50/50 mix of cake and BF the protein content ends up LESS than with 100% AP.
                                      BUT--I've read before that cake flour is processed in some way that allows it to hold moisture better than other flours--a benefit in the quest for chewy to be sure.
                                      It's my guess that the cake flour component is for this purpose, and the bread flour to the protein content back up to AP level.

                                      In any case, IMO, the OP's issue seems to be macro vs. micro. Flour volume vs. the minutiae of cake vs. AP vs. BF would still be where I'd look first. But again, retard, retard, retard.

                                    2. re: splatgirl

                                      I had a chance to reread your post from above (I was on my phone before so just skimmed it) and it seems we have similar techniques on letting it rest. I consider that long rest to be like autolysing that allows the flour to absorb the liquid. And, it's the theory behind the Best Recipe chocolate chip cookie recipe, which I also like, of melting the butter to allow the flour to absorb it better.

                              2. Sunset magazine has a piece on this. Their take is retaining moisture is the key and the solution is a stiffer dough, generously portioned and baked for a shorter time.

                                http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/techn...

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: caputoOO

                                  That's a good article. Have you tried any of the recipes?

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Another thanks to everyone for additional responses. One notable thing I had been doing was minimally mix the four into the cream butter mixture based on a life time of warnings on avoiding overbeating. But but the flour gluten development makes a lot of sense, so I'll try mixing the flour a good minute vs my 10 seconds just to incorporate the flour.

                                    I'm appreciative of all the advice and hope one of the suggested techniques will work. Guess what still mystefies me is how the "thick and chewy" camp of cookies out have achieved their results without all these extra steps. Again, my friend hand mixes everything minimally, soften her butter in the microwave, doesn't chill her dough, uses cheap, thin aluminum pans, and her cookies are the best thick and chewy cookies with a good rich, toffee taste. Go figure.....

                                    1. re: dorymoments

                                      I mix minimally, too, adding the chocolate chips well before the flour mixture is incorporated. For that toffee taste, you can either use more brown sugar, let it rest, or cheat and use some Heath toffee bits (adding a little flour to accommodate the extra fat) in place of the fat. The Heath bits make a huge difference. Or, you could make browned butter cookies and add chocolate chips. So good.

                                      It's a mystery why your friend, using the same technique/equipment, gets different results in your oven. I have attributed baking differences to ovens, even at the same temperatures. I regulate mine by leaving tiles on the bottom rack. I don't lose as much heat when I open the oven. Is your oven larger than usual?

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Chowser,
                                        I don't think my oven is bigger than normal. It's a Thermodor professional series, which I got about 3 months ago during my kitchen remodel. My old Whirlpool also caused deflated cookies, but not to the level of my Thermodor.

                                        Regarding my friends results, I conducted an experiment where she came over baked her cookies with all her ingredients/utensils and my oven, than with all my ingredients/utensils - her cookies deflated also!!!! It's not the altitude...checked that.

                                        Also, I want to make a distinction in that my cookies aren't spreading caused by warm dough, cookie sheets, or expired ingredients. They are rising and look beautifully thick and chewy in the oven. But once out of the oven, all the air swooshes out and they are wafer thin!!

                                        1. re: dorymoments

                                          I'm enough of a geek that I'd have her mix up a batch, bring half to your house and she bake her half at her house and see how it compares. Make sure to bake at the same time so you don't get the longer rest time at one place. I assume your friend lives nearby so has similar weather.

                                          FWIW, you had me thinking of tall chocolate chip cookies today so I mixed up a batch, to make them extra tall. I used a combination of bread and cake flour, about 2 1/2 cups. One c. butter, 1 c. brown sugar, 1/2+ c white sugar, 2 eggs, dollop of vanilla, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, Guittard ultra dark chocolate chips, 1/2 bag Heath bar brickles; regular cookie making technique. Super tall cookies but a little cakey for my taste. Next time, I'll add more brown sugar. I think adding flour, or reducing some sugar would do it for you but deviate from the Tollhouse recipe.

                                      2. re: dorymoments

                                        have you and she compared notes on the brand of butter you each use? IME with cookies and pastry, that is a suprisingly big factor because water and fat content varies as much as a couple of percent between brands.

                                        My default everyday butter at home is Kirkland organic salted butter from Costco, but because my stash (of cookies and butter) was depleted and all of this cookie talk got me hankering, I made a batch the other day with what I consider a better quality butter from a small local dairy. Somewhat beside the point, I tasted it first and noticed right away that it was quite a bit saltier than the Kirkland. Performance-wise, all other things the same, it did make for a flatter cookie than my normal which would have to be due to either more water, more fat or both.
                                        If I were to continue to use it for everyday baking, I would increase the amount of flour I use beyond my standard extra 1/2c.
                                        FWIW, I could tell you this same story with flour brands-they differ in performance much more than you might expect.

                                        Anyway, how one measures flour is always the biggest and most obvious variation in a baking recipe. If you want to be truly scientific about it, measure your flour by volume as you would normally and then weigh it to get a baseline (I find grams more precise than oz.) Or just convert the recipe to grams and use that as your baseline. Note your weight of flour used and your cookie outcome. Have your friend do the same if you want to compare notes. Adjust your weights until you've got a product you're happy with. You can do the same with the eggs, salt, etc., but as I've said I know the amount flour to be what makes the biggest difference, so I'd start there.

                                        Harold McGee's book "On Food and Cooking" is a good, novice-friendly read if you want a more scientific understanding of how ingredients do what they do.

                                    2. re: caputoOO

                                      Ditto on Great article in your Sunset Magazine link, it poses all the same burning questions I have, why people using the same recipe can yield different results! I've tried the underbaking as suggested, but once deflated, the center of the cookie looks raw, while the outer edges have a nice crunch. I'm thinking about using a bigger "dallop" like the article suggest, perhaps pack the dough a bit more per teaspoon.

                                      1. re: dorymoments

                                        One thing that immediately came to mind when I read your comment was that maybe our measuring cups & spoons vary. That's why metric recipes work better. If you weigh something it is going to be more accurate. Yes I know 1 cup flour should be equal in all measuring devices, but I have 3 sets and it's rare that all 3 will measure the same amount.

                                        Sifted flour is going to measure differently than non sifted flour, Morton's Kosher Salt will measure different that Diamond Chrystal Salt.

                                        Pardon the pun, but it's food for thought :)

                                        1. re: jcattles

                                          Jcattles,
                                          My friend came over and baked one batch using all her ingredients/equipment, than one batch with all mine. Her's when done at home are beautifully thick and chewy. Both control batches done at my house, wafer thin, so it's not the measuring cups & spoons......

                                          1. re: dorymoments

                                            Isn't that just weird? Be sure to let us all know if you ever figure it out.

                                            1. re: dorymoments

                                              Hi there -- told ya the Home Cooking board would be the best! Isn't it nice here?

                                              But doesn't this experiment prove it's gotta be your oven? If her batch baked up perfect at home?

                                              Oh wait -- one more experiment! You mix a batch at home the way you usually do and bring it to HER house and bake it there and see what happens!

                                              1. re: visciole

                                                Visciole,
                                                Yes, thanks for referring me to this Home Cooking board! I've received great response and wonderful suggestions. I will try making up a batch at my house and taking it over, hadn't thought of that option yet.

                                                Thanks again to all for the great helpful feedback and the advantages of all these collaborative cooking minds :)

                                                1. re: dorymoments

                                                  Glad you like this board as much as I do :)

                                                  Please come back and let us know what happens if you bake a batch in your friend's oven!

                                      2. i have one other recipe tweak suggestion, and apologize that it would alter your tollhouse. personally, i'd add 1/4 dry milk powder, 1/4 c cornstarch, and maybe another 1/4 c sugar. this will stop the spread and help the chewy.

                                        how do you measure your ingredients - weight or volume?

                                        as suggested by others, i second subbing some shortening for some of the butter. and letting the dough rest.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Emme

                                          Yaaay!!! Ok, everyone, success at last!!! As I stated in my initial problem statement, I've tried most everything, not just from this thread, but from many others found on the Internet. I didn't really want to change out too much the toll house recipe as others using the same ingredients achieved, crispy,thick, chewy (not cake like though) cookies. One reference to an old Sunset article noting how little tiny changes in technique could make the difference, not just from baker to baker, from from batch to batch by the same baker and I think that was the issue with me. I was very scientific about the measuring, chilling, calibrating the temperature, matching exact higher quality brand name ingredients (e.g. good quality butter for consistent butter fat content). So, the one thing difficult to interpret was specific technique, such as how long to cream the butter, mix the flour, blend the flour or beat the flour to incorporate. I believe all these nuances in techniques made the difference.

                                          My last batch, using pretty much the same toll house recipe, just upped the flour by a couple of tablespoons) came out perfect! The edges were crispy toffee brown, the center slightly thicker, soft and chewy, and no deflating once out of the oven!!!! :)

                                          I didn't even have to chill the dough and they did not spread or deflate. I think the key was Das Ubergeek's suggestion to beat the flour a little bit loner 10-15 seconds. I had been overcautious to not overbeat batters and I think the flour needed to more mixing to develop the gluten to provide the structure for the cookies. Again, my problem had not been spreading in the oven, that could be solved with chilled dough, less moisture via reducing part part of the egg white, etc). It was deflating once out of the oven, which makes sense there wasn't enough structure in the dough to support the rise from the butter and eggs.

                                          So, success at last - thanks to all!!!

                                          1. re: dorymoments

                                            Woo hoo! I'm glad you figured it out. Thanks for letting us know.

                                            1. re: dorymoments

                                              I'm so glad you figured it out! I still think the oven had to have something to do with it, because your friend failed in your oven using the same technique, but at least you got it figured out!

                                              I predict this thread is going to be useful for many Toll House cookie bakers in the years to come, and not just ones whose cookies deflate. :)

                                              1. re: dorymoments

                                                Good to hear it! I think the addition of a couple of tablespoons of flour probably also helped in preventing it from flattening. This still leaves in my mind why your friend couldn't get the same results w/ her cookies in your oven as she does in hers, though.

                                            2. going by the toll house cookie recipe on the bag there is one to many sticks of butter . only use 1 stick instead of 2 sticks of butter.

                                              Ruth Wakefield that invented the cookie was a friend of mine and I checked the recipe she had hand written for me only 1 stick of butter not 2
                                              thomjcksnvll@aol.com

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: tomtag

                                                depends on which bag -- the small bag has a recipe for a small batch; the large bag has a recipe for a large batch.

                                                (and Nestle modified her recipe)

                                              2. Perhaps your friend forgot to mention her important tip about adding some extra flour?

                                                1. I had this happen to me for the first time. I finally realized what probably caused it for me. I was making a triple batch, I tripled everything but the granulated sugar and brown sugar, for this, i multiplied the amount by 4. But as I think about it, this baking season, I was doing a double batch, but the 2 sugars were being tripled. I think what really happen was the there wasn't enough baking soda spread through out the batch to maintain the air bubbles.
                                                  \

                                                  1. One of the things I do when I bake cookies or anything with flour and I learned this from watching Alton Brown, was to shift the flour. When I get it out of the container, I pour it through an old wire strainer that use to be my moms, it's probably at least 50 years old, because most of them on the market are plastic. Anyways, I always run my flour through this strainer, then I use a scoop to put the flour in the measuring cup and a butter knife to level it off. When I do it the other way, the flour is compacted and you can control that each scoop has the same amount. As for both Brown & granulated sugar, I do those by weight.

                                                    1. I made white chocolate macadamia and dark chocolate chip with the recipes on the package. Used same oven, temp and cookie sheet the white came out thick and chewy the dark chocolate flat and crispy. I never used to have this problem until4 or 5 years ago been making these cookies over 30 years.