If you have a homemade chocolate chip cookies question, contact me. I will answer your question as quickly as I can. If you are in the middle of making cookies and are in need of IMMEDIATE help, it would be best to quickly scan this whole page before waiting for a reply from me. The odds of your problem already being on this page are pretty good.
A picture is worth a thousand words so if you had a batch of cookies turn out horribly, snap a quick picture and upload it with your question. Based on what I see I can try to determine what went wrong. You can then be our most recent "Plate of Horror" participant!
"What happened to my cookie? The dough was just fine."
Honestly, this cookie turns my stomach a little. Turns out she avoided some fairly simple, but vital steps. After following all the tips and helps in How to Bake Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies: Insider Secrets, her next batch turned out perfect!
Q. What if all I have is salted butter?
A. Salted butter is fine to use, but you will have to reduce the amount of salt you add to your chocolate chip cookie dough. With salted butter change your measurements as follows: 1/2 tsp. Table Salt, 1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt, or 3/4 Tsp Kosher Salt.
Q. Can I use margarine?
A. It depends on the type of margarine you will be using. I personally never use margarine of any kind in my cookies as I want the best quality cookies I can produce. Margarines are not made the way they were used to back in our parent's and grandparent's generation. They used to be of higher quality than they are now. Margarines today have higher water content, preservatives and extra trans fats. Margarine in tubs that are made for spreading even have extra air whipped into them. It is the water content in margarine that makes it an un-superior baking product. However, if you have a margarine that is at least 80% fat content, then it would work better than others. If you have to use margarine, make sure that you use it in brick form and never out of a plastic tub. Flavor qualities of your chocolate chip cookies will be similar to butter, but in my opinion nothing matches the pure ingredients, flavors, and textures of butter.
Q. I don't have shortening availbale to me? What else can I use?
A. If you do not have shortening on hand you can always use straight butter. The butter will melt at a lower temperature than shortening making your cookie spread out more in the oven. To prevent this you can add another 1/4 C-1/2 C flour for a thicker cookie. You can also leave the flour the way it is for a chewier larger cookie.
Q. Can I use regular flavored shortening?
A. No. Plain shortening has no flavor at all and would make a very bland cookie. It would be best to use straight butter in your homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Q. Is there really a big difference between baking soda and baking powder?
A. Yes. Although they are both leavening agents that produce gas to raise the cookie, they each will produce a different finished product. Either is suitable to use in a chocolate chip cookie. Baking soda will make a flatter cookie, as a double acting baking powder (which actually contains baking soda) will make a thicker fluffier cookie. See Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients to learn more.
Q. What if I don't have time to chill the cookie dough?
A. Most chocolate chip cookies are made at the last minute due to overpowering cravings. Who wants to wait a couple of extra hours for chill time? No one. I get that. So, you can put them in the oven right away to satisify that craving sooner. However, there are so many benefits to chilling the dough when it comes to flavor and texture it is definitely worth the wait. For a quick chill you can stick them in the freezer for half the time.
Q. I don't have parchment paper, can I use wax paper? What is the difference?
A. Wax paper is not a great substitute because the wax on the paper will melt and smoke up your kitchen big time. Parchment paper is a silicone based product that has no wax. Just use an ungreased cookie sheet. I do, however, urge you to grab a roll of parchment paper the next time you are at the store. Parchment makes beautifully brown bottomed cookies that slide off the cookie sheet with ease.
Q. I don't have a mixer. Can I mix my chocolate chip cookie dough by hand?
A. Use this Quickest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and it will work.
Q. I only have a hand mixer...will that work?
A. A good quality electric hand mixer works just fine, it just requires a little more arm strength. When using a hand mixer it becomes even more important to gradually add the flour a little at time due to the extra work of getting it mixed in.
Q. Can I use more than one kind of chip in the cookie?
A. You may be as creative as you want and add whatever baking pieces you like. However, remember that your chips and nuts and whatever else you are adding should total around two cups per single batch of dough. You don't want too many chips.
Q. Why are my cookies flat and greasy?
A. There are three things the come to mind with a greasy flat cookie. First, there may be too much butter, or the butter was melted when it went into the dough. Butter should be soft so that air is eaily whipped into it, but never melted. Second, not enough flour, and third the cookie dough was not properly chilled before going into the oven. For more detail on these tips visit Cookie Baking Tips page.
Q. Why do my cookies get very crunchy after they cool?
A. A crunchy cookie after cooled possibly means that it was overbaked, or contains predominately white sugar. Visit Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies page for tips on when a cookie should leave the oven, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients page for more tips on how sugars affect your chocolate chip cookies.
Q. How many cookies can I put on one cookie sheet?
A. It really depends on the size of your cookie sheet, but I reccomend no more than a dozen cookies per sheet. Make sure there is at least a 2" space around each dough ball for spreading and heat to circulate. An overcrowded cookie sheet makes for doughy cookies that run into one another.
Q. I don't have cookie sheets. What else can I use?
A. Any metal or glass casserole pan would work, however, it limits the amount of cookies you can bake at one time. Follow the 2" spacing rule. Cooking a cookie on a glass dinner plate is not recommended at all. You can also purchase disposable foil cookie sheets at a local dollar or grocery store.
Q. Why didn't my cookies spread at all?
A. Larger amounts of flour will prevent cookies from spreading out in the oven. If your recipe calls for more than 2-2 1/2C flour than that may be the very nature of the cookie as in this Fat Chocolate Chip Cookie. Reducing the amount of flour, in small amounts, in a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe should help this problem.
Q. Why do my cookies keep burning?
A. A chocolate chip cookie should never be cooked at a temperature higher than 375 degrees(F). Also, a chocolate chip cookie should be checked after no more than 8 min. in the oven to check for doneness. You could also try a lower temperature of 350 degrees(F) with more time in the oven. See Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies for more tips.
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