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I am a big fan of the Great British Baking Show. If you've watched it, you will have noticed that the bakers create their recipes using digital kitchen scales. It got me to wondering if there is a big difference in the results between the use of the scale compared to the standard way of measuring with cups and spoons. So, I asked for a digital kitchen scale for Christmas and I got one! (Thanks Maddy and Jacob!) Now, my experimentation has begun, much to my husband's delight.
I began by searching for recipes given in the weight form, as well as for conversion charts to change an old recipe to one that is weighed. I made a few discoveries:
I decided to begin with a recipe that I am very familiar with to test and see what the difference might be between the two methods. So, I started with Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. I made 2 batches, the first one weighed, the second one measured the traditional way. I've created a recipe for you that contains both methods of measuring.
My hypothesis as I started this experiment is that because weighing should be much more accurate than cup measuring, there will be a difference in the final outcome of the cookies. I mean, obviously when you measure with cups and spoons, there is room for small differences in the actual amounts of ingredients that are added to a recipe, while weight is pretty definitive. I felt I needed to see if there would be a difference in how the recipe spread, how it baked, how thick or thin the cookies came out and if the taste was any different.
Here is the recipe that I used:
I shared these cookies with some volunteers that I work with at a church food bank. They were gone in 5 minutes. So, if you haven't tried Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies yet, you will want to. The browned butter and the dark brown sugar add such a great depth of flavor. But, I digress, back to the experiment.
Here are photos of the results. Click on them for my explanation:
I was careful to measure my ingredients carefully when I used the traditional method. No eyeballing allowed! Here is one of the main reasons I think there is a difference in how the cookies spread: I always use half butter and half shortening in my cookies to get the texture that I want, not too flat and not cakey. I want a slight crunch on the outside and chewiness in the middle. Since I browned the butter and it was melted, that would have given me a very flat cookie all by itself. The shortening helps them to hold their shape. I believe that the weight of the shortening was the biggest variable compared to measuring it in a cup. You never know if you might have an air gap or something that changes the amount of shortening that you are actually putting in. That difference would definitely change the outcome of the spread of the cookies.
But, don't get me wrong, when it came to taste, there was no difference and both of these cookies were delicious! The slight difference in the spread was negligible and I had to be really careful photographing because the difference was difficult to notice. So, I believe that my experimentation will continue and I will keep you apprised! I think I will do cake next. Do you think there will be a bigger difference there? Do you bake with cups or with a scale? I'd be interested in your notes on the subject! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these cookies!
Other Cookies Experiments You Might Enjoy:
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!