(This is long. I'm so, so sorry.)
The chocolate cookie. So easy to make good. So hard to maike great.
I looked through some of the other chocolate chip cookie problem threads, but didn't find my answer there. Some of these threads included my own smug comments about my techniques for making chewy, thin cookies, which worked perfectly...until now.
I make cookies for a friend about once every four or five weeks. She likes flat, chewy cookies. Until recently, I've consistently produced that kind using this recipe (it's pretty standard).
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
12 oz chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375.
Roll into balls (about 1 tsp-2 tsp) and bake 8 minutes.
Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. Melt the butter, and mix in the sugars. Let cool slightly, then mix in the eggs. Mix in the flour mixture, then add the chocolate chips.
The last two times I've made these, they've puffed up, with a thick texture and light color (as opposed to the nice caramel color I usually get); the last batch in particular seemed almost bready. Not what we want at all. I told my friend she could toss them, or just abandon them in the kitchen at work, but she said they were okay. They bothered me, though.
What could I possibly be doing wrong suddenly? Here are some possibilities:
1) I used to just bake them for about 7 minutes, check them, then decide whether they need another minute or two. I noticed that the bottoms of the first batch were always very dark, though, so the last few times I've made them I've been rotating the sheets after four minutes. Is that doing something to them...? (I don't see why, but I'm willing to consider everything.)
2) I only have two cookie sheets and don't really have the luxury of time to let the sheets cool down on their own before putting in the next batch. So I usually take off the warm cookies as soon as I can, cool the sheets by running them under cold water, drying them off, then putting on the next batch. I know my recent problems don't come from them being too hot, because I've seen what happens to the cookies when that happens (the bottoms get dark really fast and the tops kind of slide off). Is it possible it's too cold?
3) I don't have a kitchen scale so I measure by scoop and sweep. Does it sound like I got in too much flour the last few times? I would point to that immediately as the culprit, but it seems odd that it would have happened twice in a row, after a pretty long streak of getting it right...
Two other notes. a) I had to work really hard to get the eggs thoroughly mixed in the last time I made the cookies, possibly because they weren't quite room temperature. Could I have gotten too much air into the dough while mixing it? b) I noticed that the dough thickened as I was scooping out cookies, almost as if I had put it in the fridge.
Anyone have any ideas? I'm due to make another batch this weekend. (If anyone made it through all of this, that is. If you did, congratulations. You deserve a cookie.)