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Cookie scoop that will work with hard, cold dough

bmorecupcake Jul 20, 2012 08:45 AM

I've just run through two cookie scoops in two days and would appreciate if anyone can share experiences with specific brands. The first one I used was branded "Martha Stewart". It literally lasted 3 scoops and broke. It felt very sturdy and I tried to fix/modify it, but no luck. I then purchased a cheapo one from WalMart that lasted for 20 cookies, on less chilled dough, but that was it. By "broke" I mean, the mechanism that scoops the dough out (that little metal piece that slides back and forth inside the scoop) completely came out of its "track" (in it's resting position it was suspended outside of the scoop).

Anyone know of a brand that will work with cold, hard dough? As a bonus, one that works on room temp dough would be great, too. I haven't found one that will work with room temperature dough without the scoop mechanism getting stuck every 5 scoops or so. (I have to clean with water, dry, 5 more scoops, repeat.)

  1. kaleokahu Jul 20, 2012 08:57 AM

    Resto supply stores usually carry a range of commercial-quality "dishers" that should be strong enough. But if you freeze your dough, an ice cream scoop's your answer.

    My dishers are Hamilton-Beach, and they're pretty stout.

    1. sunshine842 Jul 20, 2012 09:16 AM

      for chilled dough, perhaps rolling it into logs before chilling would allow you to just cut off slices or chunks.

      I bought my stainless dough scoop at Walmart several years ago - -hundreds of dozens of cookies later, it's still going strong (and I've only rarely had to stop to wash it) Nothing fancy -- Kitchen Collection brand or some such -- whatever the "regular" brand was.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sunshine842
        Candy Jul 20, 2012 03:26 PM

        Rolling into logs and slicing is the way to go. I was being exacting on some sandwich cookies and wanted them to be exactly the same in size and depth. Norpro makes a soft cheese slicer that looks like an over sized egg slicer, the one where you put the hard cooked eggs in the bottom and then push the wire top down. I did let the dough soften a bit so I would not break a wire. Perfection was achieved.

      2. l
        Liz K Jul 20, 2012 09:30 AM

        I wouldn't use a mechanical scoop for either. I would use the 2-spoon method for softer doughs, and cold hard doughs (like chilled chocolate chip) I would use my hands to break off pieces and form into balls.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Liz K
          bmorecupcake Jul 20, 2012 02:25 PM

          2-spoon and hand forming is what I usually do. I have just seen so many blogs, CHOW videos, cooking shows, etc where the hosts magically form 12 cookies or fill 12 cupcakes liners in 20 seconds with their handy dandy scoops and I want that standard of living.

        2. ipsedixit Jul 20, 2012 09:37 AM

          Dip your scoop in water before scooping.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit
            Sid Post Jul 20, 2012 09:47 AM

            Hot water helps but, most scoops are pretty flimsy for heavy dough.

          2. iluvcookies Jul 20, 2012 02:29 PM

            I have one of these... they come in a bunch of sizes. Smallest I've seen is 3/8 oz, and they go up to 4 or 8 oz.


            Vollrath 4 oz. Baller/Scoop

            6 Replies
            1. re: iluvcookies
              chowser Jul 20, 2012 07:21 PM

              These are the ones I have and they're sturdy. I've had mine for years and bake often.

              I find it easier to scoop the dough into balls and then refrigerate or freeze.

              1. re: iluvcookies
                bmorecupcake Jul 21, 2012 05:26 AM

                iluvcookies, have you used it on chilled dough?

                1. re: bmorecupcake
                  iluvcookies Jul 21, 2012 06:19 AM

                  Chilled dough is usually best sliced, or scooped before like Chowser does.
                  But my choc chip cookie dough is very stiff, and I use my larger one on ice cream.

                  1. re: iluvcookies
                    bmorecupcake Jul 21, 2012 12:06 PM

                    What did you mean by "I use my larger one on ice cream"?

                    1. re: bmorecupcake
                      iluvcookies Jul 21, 2012 07:22 PM

                      I have 3 of thesescoops in different sizes. The larger one (I think it's the 4 oz size) is good for scooping hard ice cream. I use the 2 smaller sizes for cookies and meatballs.

                      Ahhh... I wrote that I have one of these... What I should have said was that I own these scoops. Sorry for the mix up.

                  2. re: bmorecupcake
                    chowser Jul 22, 2012 07:03 AM

                    FWIW, I've used those scoops on Jacques Torres's chocolate chip cookie dough that have been in the refrigerator for two days and it didn't break. It was more challenging on my arm strength than the scoop.

                2. splatgirl Jul 20, 2012 02:31 PM

                  This is driving me nuts lately. Recent experience tells me it's very difficult to find a good one these days. I just broke one of the all stainless steel squeeze type on the first or second scoop on NON chilled dough! It looked like the nice ones but was flimsy crap. SO annoying. I honestly think this is a prime candidate for a durable, high quality makeover by someone like Chef'n, Rosle, Kuhn Rikon, or some other mfgr. who makes good stuff. I would buy them for everyone I know if they worked and didn't end up skipping teeth as you've described.
                  For a number of years I have been using a lever-style ice cream disher from the restaurant supply, but it had about had it. Its possible but tough to fix without damaging them further, so (Nevermind that they are severly lefty-unfriendly and I am thus.) I bought new one that looked exactly the same from the same source. It's complete garbage and was worse than my original one after the first use. It actually broke into two pieces.
                  I guess my answer is to find an old one. Or to buy as many different versions as you can find and try them all. Or to let the dough come back to room temp before scooping.
                  There's really no other fast and easy way to get completely uniform cookies, so no, hand portioning and rolling won't cut it, IMO.
                  Iv'e also found that the small ones last longer than the large. My #16 gives me more trouble than my #40.

                  1. g
                    gnomatic Jul 20, 2012 05:52 PM

                    I got a no name all metal cookie scoop from Sur La Table that works well with room temperature dough.
                    But I have never tried it with cold or frozen dough. I usually scoop and then chill/freeze the dough balls for storage.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: gnomatic
                      sunshine842 Jul 20, 2012 11:23 PM

                      that's the other solution...

                      1. re: sunshine842
                        Becca Porter Jul 21, 2012 08:49 PM

                        Missed this comment... :)

                    2. Becca Porter Jul 21, 2012 08:48 PM

                      My secret work around to this problem is.... scoop all your dough immediately after making it onto sheet pans. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Then just move 6-8 cookies at a time to a new pan to bake them off.

                      1. b
                        bmorecupcake Jul 22, 2012 10:35 PM

                        The good folks at King Arthur told me their cookie scoops are used by their test kitchen and bakery, and perform well on chilled dough: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/i...


                        1. f
                          falconress Jul 29, 2012 11:43 AM

                          When I am working with a hard, cold dough, I don't try to scoop it at all. I roll the whole thing into a long cylinder and slice it up. I use parchment paper as a "rolling aid," to get the cylinder shape with minimal manipulation of the cold dough with my warm hands.

                          Another benefit of rolling is that you can easily freeze it, and then slice and bake only the quantity you need.

                          More than 100 years ago, when I was still in the first blush of youth, I acquired a neat-o little cookie gadget that lets you fill up baking pans quickly and efficiently. It's like a spatula for scooping up a chunk of dough, with a pusher that lets the dough slide off onto the baking sheet. I use it for cold doughs that are chunky, like chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies.

                          It's called a "cookie drop" and Amazon has it for 5 bucks:

                          Also, I love your aspiration to achieve Dandy Living With Useful Utensils.

                          ETA A store called Fantes.com has another efficient gadget similar to this, called a "scoop and release" cookie dropper. This one is a regular spoon shape and also has this "sweeping" arm that lets you easily flick out the dough onto the baking sheet.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: falconress
                            bmorecupcake Jul 30, 2012 11:02 AM

                            That cookie drop sure looks like a cool gadget! Unfortunately, the Amazon reviews seem to indicate this specific model is quite flimsy and will probably bend with cold dough. I can't find another one for sale online.

                            I don't even know what to make of the coop and release cookie dropper... I don't even know...

                          2. ChowFun_derek Jul 30, 2012 06:13 PM

                            Cooks Illustrated did testing and said the "industrial" ones by Fantes were highly recommended.. such as the Fantes #16 Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop (tested on cookie dough meatballs etc...
                            here's a link...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ChowFun_derek
                              bmorecupcake Jul 30, 2012 06:37 PM

                              I can't find any mention on the Amazon product page that this scoop is indeed manufactured by Fantes. Any ideas on how to check this?

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