Does freezing cookie dough make the baked cookie softer?

Menlo Park, California
ChemistryMaterials Science
DOI: 10.18258/6429
Raised of $54 Goal
Funded on 1/18/16
Successfully Funded
  • $94
  • 174%
  • Funded
    on 1/18/16

Project Results

About This Project

I tried out a new Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe yesterday. I was very surprised to find this unique step "place it in the freezer for no less than 12 hours".

For this study I will be comparing cookies where the cookie dough has been frozen for 12 hours vs. cookies where the cookie dough is at room temperature. My hypothesis is that if the cookie dough balls are frozen for 12 hours, it will produce a softer cookie.

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What is the context of this research?

I've been a big fan of Molly Yeh's blog and recipes for the last month. Yesterday, I made a batch of her Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies for the first time. I found it surprising that the recipe required me to "place it [the cookie dough balls] in the freezer for no less than 12 hours". This is the first time I had encountered a step like this. I turned off my preheated oven and while waiting for my dough to freeze was inspired to run this experiment.

What is the significance of this project?

To my knowledge, there is no scientific study that has studied how freezing cookie dough for 12 hours affects the final outcome of the cooked cookie. This is the first study of this kind.

What are the goals of the project?

I will make 4 batches of the Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies. All cookies will use the same ingredients and baking methods. The experimental variable is freezing the cookie dough for 12 hours at 0 degrees Celcius after the cookie dough has been scooped out with the ice cream scoop. My control will be cookies that are baked immediately (at room temperature) after scooping out onto the cookie sheet. My hypothesis is that if the cookie dough balls are frozen for 12 hours, it will produce a softer cookie.

Molly claims "this will allow the gluten in the flour to relax and will give you a tender soft cookie. do not skip this step."


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I am using Molly Yeh's recipe for Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies for this research study. I will also be using parchment paper, a small OXO Good Grips Small Cookie Scoop, KitchenAid, and the Breville Smart Oven (recommended by Wirecutter).

I would like to do a follow on study where the gluten structure in the cookie dough is analyzed at room temperature and at 0 degrees celcius. I may add this as a stretch goal if there is enough interest. Having worked with proteins, I don't know if this is feasible. Most proteins are frozen for storage before being analyzed, but I maybe able to outsource this through Science Exchange and make the dough directly in the lab, so it can be analyzed fresh.

My previous Chocolate Chip Cookie Study.

Endorsed by

As a cookie enthusiast, I can attest to the deliciousness of tahini cookies frozen and baked. They came out soft and delicious. I'm curious to know the merit of freezing cookies before baking. I'm confident Cindy will use the same rigor while investigating this phenomenon as she has in her other projects.
As a computer scientist, I can appreciate a beautiful, tasty mathematical formula or algorithm, but I am completely convinced that research does not get tastier than this!

Meet the Team

Cindy Wu
Cindy Wu

Team Bio

I am one of the people that makes Experiment. Last year I ran a chocolate chip cookie study. The study was inconclusive, but I have sustained an interest in cookie science.

Before this, I was a scientist designing cell-based immunotherapies at University of Washington. While there, I also worked with a team to design an anthrax therapeutic using the videogame Fold.It. We won a big award for this and the U.S. Army is now doing follow-up studies. Now I do websitey things and eat 🍪.

Cindy Wu

Staff at Experiment. If this site is broken you can blame me. I don't check my direct messages, but would love to hear from you by e-mail:

Project Backers

  • 11Backers
  • 174%Funded
  • $94Total Donations
  • $8.55Average Donation
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