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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

    I made the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from Nigella Express for the first time. I followed the recipe carefully, except that I only added 250g choc chips instead of 350g. My cookies went as flat as a pancake, and spread all over the tray as they baked! Is this because there was too much fat in the recipe? They still tasted delicious I might add, and I made the second sheet of them smaller, and drizzled white chocolate over them and popped half a red glace cherry on the top, and they will pass muster. How can I make them turn out like the picture in the book?

    From the nigella team:

    There could be a few reasons why the cookies have spread too much in the oven. Most probably the cookie dough could be too soft, particularly if you are working in a warm kitchen. The butter should be soft enough so that if you press your finger onto it it will leave an indentation, but the butter should still be firm enough to pick up without breaking. Once you have formed the cookies on the baking sheet then chill them for 1 to 2 hours before baking so thatthey are firm. If the dough is soft then the butter melts out very quickly, causing the cookies to spread.

    Also make sure that the cookie dough is formed into good mounds. An ice cream scoop is ideal, particularly one that has a sweeping arm which will help to ease the dough out of the scoop. Otherwise take roughly 4 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball with a slightly flat bottom. Be sure to chill the cookie dough before baking if you do this as the heat from your hands will warm up the dough. Don't flatten the cookies at all before baking.

    It is also possible that your oven is running slightly cool which will tend to make the cookies spread as the fat melts before the starches in the dough can set. It is worth checking your oven with a thermometer to make sure it is running at the correct level. You could also try turning the oven up slightly, to 180c/Gas mk 6/350F but be careful as the cookies will bake more quickly and the bottoms can scorch easily. Rotate the baking sheet after 7 minutes and start checking the cookies after 14 minutes.

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