Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies - dissolve the baking soda

Chocolate Chip Cookies - made dough June 15, 2013 from Something Swanky

One of the blogs I follow that has amazing recipes is Ashton's at Something Swanky.  And, like any good baker, I'm always trying out new chocolate chip cookie recipes, to see if I can find something better than the ones I already love and use.  Since I needed a ton of cookies and brownies for Cookie Palooza (see previous post), it was serendipity that she blogged about these chocolate chip cookies.  It seemed like the perfect time to try out her recipe and her method of dissolving the baking soda in water before adding to the dough.  This is meant to have the perfect thickness of cookie without chilling it first.  I was curious so I thought I'd give it a try.  I did have to bend my baking principles though as I'm just not a fan of shortening, especially in cookies.  But all in the name of research.....

I always chill cookie dough before I bake it.  It comes from years of wanting thick, chubby, chunky chocolate chip cookies instead of thin, flat ones.  There are a few tricks I've learned through the years to achieving cookie thickness: chill the cookie dough and/or bake from frozen dough, use a convection setting on the oven, never bake on hot cookie sheets, don't have your butter too soft before using, and so on.  Ashton's recipe adds another tip: dissolve the baking soda before adding to the dough.  I haven't studied enough of the chemical composition of cookies to truly understand why that would prevent spread, although it's on my to-do list to check out Shirley Corriher's Bakewise since I'm sure she addresses it.

This dough came out a little soft; I think it was from the added liquid of dissolving the baking soda in 1 tablespoon of water.  Although I made the dough ahead of time and wasn't planning on baking it until the night before Cookie Palooza, I did bake off a test batch right after mixing just to test the dissolving-the-baking-soda experiment.  I was a little skeptical because any time I've baked from dough that soft, the cookies have always spread thin.  But there must have been something to that baking soda trick because, while the cookies did spread, it wasn't as much as I would've expected given the softness of the dough and they still maintained a respectable thickness.  Although I will confess, I froze the rest of the dough anyway and baked it the night before I filled the goodie bags.

1/2 cup butter, softened but still chilled
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp hot water
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and shortening together until well mixed and smooth.
  3. Add the brown sugar and sugar. Beat for 1-2 minutes, until nearly creamy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time and mixing in between additions.
  5. Dissolve the baking soda in the tablespoon of water. Add both the baking soda and the vanilla to the mixer and mix well. Mix in the salt.
  6. Add the flour and mix until dough forms.
  7. Mix in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon or spatula.
  8. Scoop dough by heaping tablespoons onto a parchment lined or silicon lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.


  1. I just made some oatmeal raisin cookies where it requires to simmer the raisins for 5 mins and drain reserving 5 tsp of the liquid and mix it with baking soda. My cookies and plump and soft kinda like a cake mixture. Perfect cookie in my opinion. I want to try it with chocolate chip cookies. Or you can add vanilla instant pudding to the dough too.

  2. What will happen if I cut the shortening out and replace it with butter? I am looking for a crunchy cookie recipe. It's so hard to find...

    1. If you replace the shortening with all butter, your cookies will actually become more soft and chewy, not crunchy. You can try increasing the shortening instead but you may be sacrificing flavor for texture. If you want crunchy, then a shortbread or wafer type cookie like my lemon chip cookies might be a better option.