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The Case of the Salty Cookies

by on August 15, 2006 · 9 comments

Earlier this week, my friend Val pointed me towards 3 new chocolate chip cookie recipes in the New York Times. The recipes were written and tested by a food writer I trust, so I had high hopes and was anxiously looking forward to trying them.

The first thing I noticed about one of the recipes was that it called for 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. I hadn’t bought kosher salt in quite a while, but remembered it as being a lot coarser than table salt. One tablespoonful seemed like an awful lot, but since the recipe said 1 tablespoonful of kosher, I walked to the store and bought a box deluding myself with the notion that maybe 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt would equal 1 tsp. of table salt. In my eerily quiet kitchen, I laid out all the ingredients, chopped the chocolate and followed the directions precisely, save for one minor change of using Lyle’s Golden Syrup in place of white corn syrup.

As it turned out, the cookies were way too salty. Much too salty to eat (though I did), and much less give. It’s sad because had they not been ruined by the salt, the cookies would have been fabulous.

Meanwhile, Val was baking a batch of these at her home in Connecticut. Val stuck to her instincts and used 2 teaspoons of kosher salt rather than 3. I’m looking forward to hearing how hers turned out and debating whether I should bake another batch or just go on a long, long walk. After taking so many nibbles of cookies just to make sure they really were too salty and that I wasn’t losing my mind, I have a stomachache.

I’ve also written to The Times just to check to make sure it wasn’t a typo. The cookies have been tested 6 times! I think it was a misprint. Hopefully they will clear up the issue.

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Published on August 15, 2006

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy August 15, 2006 at 12:58 pm

I think it’s especially strange that the first two recipes clearly say “1 tablespoon” and the third says “2 teaspoons”. I can’t wait to see what kind of response you get.

I cook with kosher salt all the time. But I have never baked with it.

Amy August 15, 2006 at 1:01 pm

p.s. Happy First Day of Kindergarten, Fuzz!!

Anna August 15, 2006 at 2:04 pm

Hi Amy!

I’m getting ready (or “fixin’ to”) as we Texans like to say, go pick Fuzz up. I’m kind of nervous.

As for the recipes, I really think that it should be 1 tsp in the first two recipes, but I can’t understand why the other one would have 2 teaspoons, which is still A LOT of salt. It’s almost as if she’s using some special, lightweight, poofy, bouffantesque salt.

carole August 15, 2006 at 4:15 pm

Hope Fuzz enjoyed her first day of school.

penguin August 15, 2006 at 5:21 pm

That salt thing does seems really odd. I’m going to check out the NYT website to see if the recipes are on there. If not, can you post a link?

penguin August 15, 2006 at 5:25 pm

Sorry, just saw your link. Oops!

Stephanie August 16, 2006 at 12:03 pm

I remember reading in Cooks Illustrated (I think) that Morton kosher salt is saltier than Diamond kosher. Maybe the brand accounts for the difference in saltiness versus NYT and your cookies.

This link http://new.cbbqa.com/articles/Salt/index.html
says that you should use 1 and 1/3 t. for every one teaspoon of table salt if you are using Morton. If using Diamond, use 2 t. for every one teaspoon table salt.

tg August 16, 2006 at 1:03 pm

look at stephanie, uncovering all that cool sciencey research!

Ms. Chevious August 16, 2006 at 1:11 pm

Trying to bribe the teacher on the very first day? :P

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