The Great Cookie Spreading Experiment

I know I'm long overdue for a post, but this one is a good one! I call this the great cookie spreading experiment. (I feel like Alton Brown!) You see, a few months ago I posted about how I found the PERFECT base for my chocolate chip cookie recipe. I was happy as a girl could be. But then... a few people tried the recipe themselves and reported that their cookies spread a little when they were baked. This confused me since mine hardly spread at all the first time I baked them (maybe it was the weather?).

The recipe that I used called for milk to be added into the cookie dough. I figured that reducing the liquid would reduce the spreading, and so the cookie spreading experiment was born.

(1/4 c, 2 T, no milk)

The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of milk. I made the recipe as written orginally, with 2 tablespoons of milk, and with no milk. The results?

From left to right: no milk, 2 tablespons., 1/4 cup

As you can see, there was a definite difference in the spreading. Sure enough the 1/4 cup of milk DID spread a lot. Even though they all tasted amazing, I had a clear favorite. My favorite was the middle cookie with 2 tablespoons of milk. The reduction from 1/4 of liquid helped with the spreading but having some liquid in there kept it moist and chewy. The ones with no milk were also really good. The bread flour and the extra egg yolk kept them chewy. They held their shape really well, so if you're looking for a cookie that definitely will not spread, skip the milk all together!

So here it is... my OFFICIAL favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe

Recipe - Makes 20 - 30 cookies
Adapted from AllRecipes
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini m&m's (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, egg yolk, and milk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips and m&m's by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.


mamma3monkeys said...

I read about other reasons cookies spread. 1) temperature of butter, eggs, milk, etc at time of making. The more things were room temp and not straight from the fridge, the better. 2) The temperature of the dough. The colder, straight from the fridge spread less then room temperature. 3) The temperature of the baking sheet. If you reuse the baking sheet without letting it cool down completely - not only will you have a cookie that's spread more, but you will also have very crispy edges.

So I'm not sure if that was a factor for any of your cookie testers but it's definitely something to look into! :)

ps. I love cookies...

Rivqah said...

just to clarify, we're talking 1 teaspoon and not 1 Tablespoon vanilla, right?

Rivqah said...

love the blog, btw. the homemade oreos were very successful...the three occasions in a row that i made them...

SugarCooking said...

Hi Rivqah. Actually, the 1 tablespoon is correct. I know it seems like a lot. I adapted this from a recipe off of allrecipes and I was a little shocked when I read that too, but sure enough that's what I use now everytime I bake cookies! Try it!

Tatjana said...

Thank you so much for this "update". :)

I think before I got out this evening I'll try the recipe with the 2 tablespoons.
Last week I baked the cookies with no milk, but they were too dry.
So I hope this ones will come out p e r f e c t. :)

SugarCooking said...

Also, try chilling the dough for a little bit before baking them off. I find that always helps!

sweetie said...

excellent on job on your blog! i'm shocked you've only been blogging since june bc you've done all of my favorites.

you might enjoy these:
monster cookies from the baked book
pb cookies from magnolia
magic cookie bars
chewy molasses cookies (allrecipes)
best ever banana cake (recipezaar)
ina garten's coconut cupcakes, granola bars

would be awesome to see what you can do w/an oatmeal cookie too.

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grace said...

what a nifty experiment! for me, the variety with the most milk appeals the most--i like my cookies flat and chewy. the middle version looks pretty tasty too. great blog, by the way!

Anonymous said...

I have been searching for a recipe like this to make for today. The middle cookie looks great and just what I was looking for.

Hopefully they come out delicious!! THANK YOU!

Jenn said...

My son wants chocolate chip M&M cookies for his birthday treat at school tomorrow! Can't wait to make these and surprise him with these!

Jenn said...

ummmm so will regular M&Ms work? I forgot and bought regular ones and not mini ones and I have to bake them tonight! ugh!

SugarCooking said...

Yes, you can definitely make them with regular m&m's.

Kim said...

Does this recipe call for dark brown or light brown sugar?

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