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Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

Gotcha...I have found the same with the silpat...spreads a lot more.
And I have been using the stainless steel with parchment....makes me want to go out and grab some of those Target ones. Thanks for the tips. I would have thought the same thing...the cheaper, flimsy ones that pop and twist in the oven upon heating up are thin...wouldn't think much insulation is there to stop the spreading. Great tips, thanks!!

Mar 27, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

Chowser, do you have a convection oven or a conventional oven???
And do you use parchment paper on your cookie sheets or silpats??
I wonder if one is better over the other with spreading.
Hmmm...still working on this spread thing.

Mar 21, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

Chowser, I am dying for you to try Carol's cookies so you can seriously tell me if this cookie is right on with hers. It totally looks like it texture wise in the pictures on Anna's site. BTW, Loving Anna and her experiments. I cannot wait to try the roux method. I am having a hard time believing that Carol would have used the roux method though!!! Hmmmmmm....
Sorry I have not been checking the chowhound site lately...I have been playing myself with some cookie recipes. Here is what I have discovered.
Less butter is a good thing!! Still has a nice butter flavor, and no one guesses that there is less butter.
Mixing like a biscuit helps to keep the structure high. Yes it is a crumbled mess once mixed, but you just grab a big handful of dough and shape it in a ball, no problems...it holds together nicely.
Chilling the dough once it is shaped into an individual ball is a huge help in keeping the height of the cookie.
I have been doing 5.5 ounces of dough for my cookies, not as huge as Carol's, but still looking pretty good.
I have had some friends sit down and taste Carol's cookies and mine...results are pretty funny. Mind you, I LOVE Carol's Cookies...my friends are not having the same reaction as me. haha It might not be helping that I had a friend bring me some from Chicago 2 weeks ago on her visit from Highland Park. I froze them immediately and have been taking one or two out of the freezer at a time, letting it come to room temp and then cutting into them. They are crumbly!!
I am pretty sure I am using more brown sugar than Carol, so mine look a bit more brown on the inside and are a bit more moist. No crumbles with my cookie.
When I did the switch to more white sugar than brown sugar, the cookie looked a bit pale and unappealing.
I have not figured out exactly what Carol does...but know I am getting close.
I want to try your cookie recipe you sent in here too...looks good and with a low amount of butter, but a lot of eggs.
Thanks for all the GREAT feedback!! You rock!

Mar 03, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

charlieboy, I absolutely think you are right on. I truly believe that Carol made a blunder like this long, long ago and her cookies just happened to turn out big and tall. Everything I read about her says that her mother was a great pie maker and not into cookies. I think Carol might have watched her mother in the kitchen and adopted the pie making method to her cookies. Makes sense. Thanks for the reassurance.

Mar 03, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

I have thought about cream of tartar due to the fact that my snickerdoodles get a nice crispy crust and soft insides...but like Chowser pointed out...it is not an ingredient on Carol's Cookie list. I know...bummer!! Great thought process though.

Mar 03, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

Toutefrite, I will not give up!!!
And Chowser my ratio of butter to flour is 4oz butter to 2 cups all-purpose flour.
I use unsalted Land of Lakes butter. I do not believe in using European butter (Plugra or other) unless I am making croissants or something that highlights butter flavor. My cookies did not burn at 400F. I even use an oven thermometer to check the internal temp of my oven to make sure I am at the right temp. I think it is due to the fact that I have a chilled dough. I mean, at 8 minutes I didn't even see movement or color in these cookies. Which was a good sign to me. I am going to try it with less brown sugar and more white sugar next. Great questions too!!!

Feb 11, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

OK, I had a good day of testing recipes today to figure out this cookie. AHHH!!
This is what I have found...
1) Stiff dough is the answer for high, tall cookies, not flat ones. Well, and a large amount of dough squished into a large mound. I did 7.4 ounces of cookie dough. Mounded it high and then just slightly pushed down on the top. Slight push!
2) High heat is what will set it up and brown it slightly on the edges. I baked my testers at 400F for 16 minutes. Stayed nice and tall, fell a bit as they finished baking outside the oven, but not too bad. I took them out of the oven once I saw a nice golden brown on the edges and slight cracking towards the top. Still looked shiny and wet when I took them out. Cooled them at room temp for about 5 minutes and then to the fridge. If my freezer was bigger, I would have placed them in there.
3) I think the real solution is in the mixing method...and a lower butter to flour ratio.
I did NOT cream my butter and sugar together. Instead I mixed it like a biscuit dough. Mix all the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter and then add the wet ingredients.
This gave me the exact texture of the dough I was looking for...nice big granules of sugar that you can see and feel.
I am not done though...I think I am almost there...but I am not getting the exact texture I want on the inside of my baked cookie. I think my ratio of white sugar and brown sugar is off...so I will do more testing and get back to you all with my findings and some pics. I am just not there yet!!! Send me good vibes!!! AND thanks for all the great suggestions. I really studied all the sites and ideas to come up with my tester recipes.

Feb 10, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

Oh, I like that suggestion...thanks, I might try a blend of both cake and bread or bread and all purpose. thanks!!

Feb 05, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

Thanks for the link...I have printed them out and will do some comparisons with ingredient ratios. Very helpful, thanks!!!
And I do think that less butter and more flour is part of the answer here.
Here dough does not look wet it almost looks crumbly...which leads me to think more flour and less butter.

Feb 05, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

I agree with you...I think she is using cold butter, not melted...but might be worth trying once to eliminate. Yes, her ingedients are all normal stuff...here is a list of the ingedients from the latest cookie of hers I just ate. haha
Carol's Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs, milk chocolate, salt, baking soda and vanilla.
First thing I find interesting is the flour being the first ingredient on the list. Usually you place the item with the highest volume (albeit weight or cup measure) in that first spot. This makes sense if we are leaning towards the more sugar, flour to butter ratio. Hmmm...
And I usually use parchment paper under my cookies. I noticed that too when I saw her video. haha
I am not giving up on this...do not worry. Thanks for the links. Your website is GREAT!!!!! I am a big fan now.

Feb 05, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

OMG, I think you are my cookie soulmate. haha
Too funny...thanks for finding me. I have been thinking about these cookies for about 15 years now. Seriously...how does she do it??!!! She is very secretive too...I don't think her own daughter and son even know her secret. AHHH!!!
Let me describe the cookie to you...it is very grainy inside, and almost raw.
It makes me think she is not doing the normal creaming method for her cookie.
When you cream your ingredients together...you pump air into the dough and dissolve the sugar into the butter. You can clearly see the sugar granules in her cookie. Which leads me to believe it is her method that is different, as well as less butter perhaps??
I just bought a bunch when I was visiting my friends in Chicago and brought them back to Cali with me...have been doing a tasting about every night with them. haha
And I am not so sure I would say they have a strong baking soda taste. Salty, yes, but I do not get that soapy aftertaste with a strong baking soda presence.
And I try to avoid Crisco as much as possible. Bummer, I know...I had a good peanut butter cookie recipe with some Crisco in it...that word Crisco just scares a lot of people.
If you look at Carol's Cookies website...she has a link to her appearance on Food Network. Her workers shape the cookie dough into big 7 ounce balls by hand and then press down lightly on the top to square them off a bit.
I am going to check out the link you sent about cookiemadness. Thanks for the info!!
And hopefully the NYTimes recipe is on that site too...I would love to see the ratio of ingredients and the mixing method. I think there is something different with the mixing. Can't say right now...but I will figure it out and get back to you. Nice to meet you!!!

Feb 05, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

Well, I think I am going for the puffy crisp type. I have not tried the melted butter option...thanks for the thought. I might try that next. The cookies I want are almost like a raw cookie dough inside with a slightly browned outside. It is like they are baked for about 10 minutes just to "set the dough" and give a slight color/crack on top. The inside is grainy...almost like they did not cream the sugar and butter. I am still playing...think I might try that melted butter.
Thanks a ton!!

Feb 05, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

Great suggestions...I will try it...but do you have any thoughts about the actual recipe. I am pretty sure it is not a straight "Nestle toll house" cookie recipe.
Have you tried any recipes with more flour to sugar ratio and produced a puffed up, solid cookie mass?? I am trying everything here. AHHHH!! haha

Feb 04, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

Well, I have tried to adjust my baking temps -four different temps. I did first batch at 375, then 350, 325 and 300. And I did exactly 7 ounces of dough, like Carol's portion and mine just flattened into a nice, huge flat cookie. haha EVERY TIME!! Bummer!
So, I am pretty sure that temp is part of it...but I am thinking it is more so in the formula of ingredients. Less Butter was tried by me yesterday and it was not the answer. Still trying though. Thanks for the suggestions.

Feb 04, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking

Carol's Cookies, how does she get them to stay tall, not flat?

I am trying to figure out a couple of things about Carol's Cookies...these are those huge, tall and round cookies, weighing about 7 ounces from Highland Park, Illiniois. Have your had these cookies???
Has anyone else tried to figure out her secret to keeping them so puffed up...and not cakey. These are not flat cookies, they are about 1.5 inches high and 4.5 inches wide. I love these cookies...but am getting sick of paying for the shipping charges...so, help me figure out what she does. Has anyone else made cookies that are not flat?? What is the secret, less butter, is it the way your combine ingredients or the mixing of ingredients?????
HELP ME figure this out!!!
Thanks!!
ABaker

Feb 02, 2009
abaker in Home Cooking