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Sep 3, 2012 12:21 PM

Changing a recipe

Mrs. G tried a new cookie recipe yesterday and they came out good but way too crisp for me. I couldn't bite through them. Is there any way to change that recipe to make soft, chewy cookies?

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  1. To make a cookie more chewy if the amount of flour is kept constant, then you need to adjust the following ingredients:

    - more sugar, especially brown sugar
    -more eggs and/or yolks
    -more gluten development
    -slightly less liquid (because of the brown sugar)
    -less baking time but higher baking temp

    So to sum up. High moisture content, baking time, and temperature must be adjusted to retain moisture. Binding the water in butter, eggs, and brown sugar (it contains molasses, which is 10 percent water) with flour slows evaporation. The dough needs a little extra flour, which makes it stiffer. The stiff dough spreads less, less liquid evaporates, and the cookies are thicker.

    Mass also helps cookies stay moist--big dollops of dough make softer and chewier cookies than tiny spoonfuls of dough. Bake these thick cookies for a shorter time at a high temperature to firm them quickly and minimize spreading. Most important, don't bake them too long--remove from the oven when the cookie rim is brown and at least 1/3 of the center top remains pale. The cooked centers will be soft.

    Hope this helps.

    7 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I hope so too, ipse. Here's the recipe. Maybe you can be more specific.

      1 c butter
      1/3 c butter flavor shortening, such as crisco
      1 c brown sugar
      1 c sugar
      2 eggs
      2 tsp vanilla
      3 1/2 c flour
      1 tsp baking soda
      1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt*
      1 1/2-2 c dark chocolate chips

      1 Over medium heat, melt butter in saucepan or skillet. When butter becomes foamy and small brown pieces start to form on bottom of pan and it starts to smell nutty it is done. Set aside and cool to room temp. or pour into a bowl and place in refrigerator until room temp.
      2 Preheat oven to 375.
      In a large mixing bowl add browned butter, shortening, sugars, eggs and vanilla and beat for 2-3 minutes until very smooth and creamy.
      Add flour, baking soda and salt to butter mixture. Slowly mix in with mixer on low until flour is incorporated, stir in chips and nuts if desired.
      3 Using a 1/4 cup scoop, scoop dough out onto cookie sheets, I line mine with parchment, but you wouldn't need to. I only place 6 cookies on one sheet to allow room to spread. Press down with palm of hand slightly. At this point, you may sprinkle tops of cookies with a little more coarse sea salt if desired. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown on edges and tops are starting to crack a bit. Remove from oven, place cookie sheet on racks, allowing cookies to cool completely on cookie sheets before removing as they need to finish cooking on pan.
      If you feel you accidentally let the cookies bake to long, remove them from pans while still hot to racks to cool.

      1. re: mucho gordo

        - Swap out the sugar with brown sugar.

        - Use 2 yolks and 1 egg.

        - Use bigger dollops and refrigerate your dough before baking.

        - 375 is pretty high already, maybe bake them a bit less.

        Dunno if that will do it, but that's my quick take.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Just found out that the cookies were made by my DIL who either left out or substituted something for the butter flavored crisco because my granddaughter would have been allergic to that ingredient.

          1. re: mucho gordo

            I find that cookies made with butter rather than shortening tend to come out a little crisper, but I agree with the other posters that there are several other things that need changing in this recipe to make it work well.

            ETA: I just re-read the original recipe - the browned butter is making the lack of moisture even more acute because by browning it, you remove the water that naturally occurs in butter (I believe about 10% by weight of butter is water).

        2. re: mucho gordo

          Shirley O. Corriher's "Cookwise" has a very detailed chapter on how to customize cookie results, explaining what the various ingredients contribute and how to adjust according to desired texture. I imagine this info is in her later book, "Bakewise", too.

          1. re: mucho gordo

            This recipe may be intentionally trying to make a crisp cookie. If you want a chewy cookie, you should use very cold butter (it's fine to brown it first, but it should not be room temperature). And you should not try to promote spreading.

            1. re: mucho gordo

              Could it have been as simple as the cookies were overbaked? To save the current batch, just add a piece of bread to them and leave overnight. They'll soften. You won't have chew but at least you'll be able to bite through them.

          2. Several things I find that are, IMO, errors in the recipe.
            First, it has only baking soda and no baking powder. It needs baking powder.
            Second, it has waaaaay too much flour as a ratio to the other ingredients.
            Third, there's a difference between "1 cup brown sugar" and "1 cup packed brown sugar". If your lady isn't packing the brown sugar into the measuring cup you're not using enough of it.
            Fourth, for the amount of other ingredients used, 2 eggs is not enough. Try 3.
            Fifth, if you roll the finished dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and refrigerate for an hour before cooking, then cut the log into 1/2 inch thick pieces you'll get more consistent results from one cookie to another.
            If that won't work for you, drop the dough onto a parchment covered baking sheet in 1 to 1/2 tablespoon pieces spaced about 2 - 3 inches apart.
            Sixth, for the amount or other ingredients you need more chocolate chips
            Seventh, while I agree with the oven temperature, baking time is too long. They should be done within 8 - 10 minutes. They'll be floppy and need a spatula to handle successfully while they're hot but they'll stiffen up as they cool when done correctly.
            Sorry I haven't time at the moment to re-write the recipe