Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Cookie Experiment #6: Melting Chocolate in Saucepan vs. Microwave

This is the strangest thing. I have no idea why it's happened. I did this experiment on a lark, since I was going to be melting butter and chocolate anyway. I didn't really think they would produce different results.

Below: same recipe, prepared in same way. On the left, cookies made from chocolate and butter that was melted in a saucepan. On the right, cookies made from chocolate and butter that was melted in a microwave. (In both methods, the butter and chocolate were cut up before being heated, and stirred periodically to prevent them from clumping up.)

The saucepan cookies are obviously much tighter and puffier. The microwave cookies spread much more. It's possible that I let the microwave run too long, thus burning the chocolate slightly. I'll have to test this again in the future.

Since this cookie was supposed to be puffy, obviously the saucepan melting method is preferablem, and though the microwave cookie looks better, it is dry and not as delicious.

The dough was obviously different too: (again, saucepan-melted is on left)

Baffling. Why has this happened?


Anna said...

Do you think maybe more moisture evaporated from the open saucepan? I know when I melt butter in a saucepan, there is lots of steam that escapes and the water is removed from the butter.

In the microwave, perhaps the moisture just stays in the enclosed area and the mixture doesn't dry out as much. This might explain why the saucepan batter was so much dryer.

One test you could do is try the same thing, but with a very high fat/low moisture butter such as Plugra.

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Anonymous said...

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Nic said...

I don't really think this has to do with moisture; I think it has to do with the temperature. If the saucepan melted chocolate was hotter, it would have dissolved more of the sugar in the dough prior to baking. Sugar causes spread in cookies as it melts in the oven, so more undissolved sugar will result in wider spread.

Nic said...

I meant to add that I'd really have to see the recipe to say for sure, too.

Curiosity Killed the Cook said...

Huh! These are interesting suggestions. I'll need to experiment with this further . . . I'll try the following:

1) Covering the saucepan and microwave dish so no moisture can escape

2) Cooling both mixtures to room temperature before mixing in the sugar

I've never heard of Plugra, but of course now I have to go out and find some!

Thank you for the insights!