Cookies – 4, Me – 0

There is an ongoing war at my house between cookies and myself. In the last month, I have made all of my favorite cookies and they have turned out perfectly. However, something then went very very wrong. I have tried chocolate chip cookies (which I am known to have trouble with), chocolate chip cinnamon cookies (which always turn out), oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies again. The cookies come out very flat and appear unappetizing. Surprisingly, they still taste good. I have tried real butter, margarine, switching out my flour, cooking at a lower temperature, etc. My next guess is to buy some new baking soda and baking powder. I have no idea if it will make a difference, but I have had them since before Wade and I were married.

As a side bar, I used a wooden spoon fresh from the dishwasher to stir my cookies tonight. It was still warm, but that didn’t really register. I noticed the spoon seemed less rigid than normal and pretty soon it broke in half. Wade dislikes my plethora of wooden spoons so he was more than happy to see one bite the dust. Madison had fun with it though.

Now I am off to eat cookie dough – the only real reason to make cookies!

2 comments
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  • MattOctober 25, 2006 - 1:14 pm

    Baking soda is just a homogeneous mixture and is just a base (not an acid base mixture) and thus has an indefinete shelf life. Baking Powder is a mix of baking soda and one or two acids to act as a leavening agent. Because they are pre-mixed the solution will start to lose power over time due to moisture (humidity) and such. The life-span will vary according to humidity and moisture allowed to penetrate the mixture. Both are leavening agents, and unless you used yeast or self rising flour (which is doubtful) then they are the only leavening agents in your cookies.

    One more thing… Baking powder is two stagged. Meaning it will begin to emit Carbon Dioxide as soon as it is mixed and then again later when it is heated in the oven. However Baking Soda only reacts when it is first added to the mixture. As such, you will get more rise if you get the mixture to the oven within the first 15 minutes. That last bit of advice is primarily for mixtures that don’t use Baking Powder. In mixes that use both, the Soda is generally just to balance out the acidity.

    So to sum up, My guess is that your Baking Powder is either flat or you added way too much/little of Baking Soda and threw off the acidity to the point where the acid leavening agent was over/underwelmed.

    I love the science of cooking. By the way, the Soda is designed to balance the acidity of the chocholate/vinegar/ect… that you add to the mix. Since that amount varies from mix to mix, the proper amount of Soda to add generally must balance. This is made even harder when dealing with the fact that most of those ingrediants are different in acidity from type to type.

    Good Luck! (I’ll take non-flat cookies as payment for my expertise)

    -Matt

  • HollyOctober 25, 2006 - 1:25 pm

    Matt, I have two comments for you.

    1.) You have way too much time on your hands.
    2.) I’ll bring you some cookies this weekend if they are non-flat.