View Full Version : What's this funny taste in my cookies??

12-23-2008, 04:41 PM
A few months ago, I bought my daughter a birthday cake from the grocery store, and it had a strong unpleasant after-taste.

Dh baked some spritz cookies yesterday, and I could taste that same taste, just a little. I got the recipe off the internet, and I saw that reviewers left comments, and some mentioned that these cookies had a bitter after-taste and some tweaked the recipe to get rid of it (mostly by leaving out almond extract). So we left out the almond extract and cut the vanilla in half. I could still taste some bitterness, but nobody else could.

So, now, my question: I want to make a Hawaiian cookie every Christmas, and I found this recipe I want to use - Hawaiian Tea Cookies. It's light and mild and has coconut. I tried the recipe today - and there's that same aftertaste! What is it? And how can I get rid of it? These are the ingredients:

1 3/4 c. flour (I used unbleached white flour)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened (I used margarine)
1 c. sugar (I used fructose)
1 egg
1 tbsp. lemon juice (I used the kind in the little lemon-shaped plastic bottle)
2 tsp. vanilla (I used imitation extract)
1 c. coconut (I used unsweetened shredded)

Dh's spritz cookies had confectioner's sugar instead of fructose, no lemon, no coconut, and he used real vanilla.

Can someone please help me tweak my recipe?

12-23-2008, 05:06 PM
I found www.exo.net/~jyu/activities/SugarCookies.doc+bitter+taste+cookies&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=us&lr=lang_en&client=firefox-a]this ([url) page[/url], which says:

Batch C is the standard recipe for Sugar Drop Cookies in Oil from the Joy of Cooking. The recipe uses baking powder. So why add baking powder?

Baking powder is neutral; it is composed of baking soda (a base), cream of tartar (tartaric acid) and a dry starch (which makes the dough in Batch C thicker and easier to shape than the other recipes.) Since you are mixing an acid and a base you get a chemical reaction resulting in a gas (carbon dioxide) and a salt resulting in fluffy, light cookies.

Batch D replaces the baking powder with the same amount of baking soda. Baking soda is also a leavening product, but since it is only a base, you donít have a chemical reaction, so it is not as fluffy, and you taste the base, and bases taste bitter.

Batch A also uses baking soda with the addition of lemon juice, so it is neutral. The rule of thumb for neutralizing baking soda: 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda is neutralized by one teaspoon of lemon juice. I didnít add this proportion of lemon juice to this recipe because the dough was already so runny (since there is no starch like in batch C) and I didnít want more liquid, but it still seemed to neutralize the acid so that these cookies did not have the same bitter taste as batch D. These cookies are not a fluffy as batch C since you added the liquid to the base in the mixing bowl, the chemical reaction took place there instead of during the cooking process.

So, could it be the baking soda I'm tasting? Should I try baking powder instead?

Then again, the lemon juice should neutralize the baking soda...

I see this, too:

"You can substitute baking powder in place of baking soda (you'll need more baking powder and it may affect the taste), but you can't use baking soda when a recipe calls for baking powder. Baking soda by itself lacks the acidity to make a cake rise. However, you can make your own baking powder if you have baking soda and cream of tartar. Simply mix two parts cream of tartar with one part baking soda."

And this:

"The problem with baking soda is that it releases the gas all at once! So if the cake batter sits around for a while before you get it in the oven or it you beat the batter too much, the leavening will be lost and your baked goods will be flat. You don't want to add too much, either, because the taste is rather salty and you'd have to add more acid too. If you don't have enough acid to react with the baking soda you won't release the gas, plus your cake or muffins will have a bitter or soapy taste because of the unreacted bicarbonate."

Wonder Woman
12-23-2008, 05:13 PM
artificial vanilla (which, incidentally, is a by-product of pulp and paper mills :yuck) - try real vanilla

Wonder Woman
12-23-2008, 05:14 PM
also...I always use self rising flour :shifty I cheat!

12-23-2008, 05:14 PM
Or it could be the pan you are using to cook it in. Those "anti stick" pans...I can always tell when food has been prepared on those. I either use plain old foil , or a regular pan and oil it.

12-23-2008, 05:21 PM
artificial vanilla (which, incidentally, is a by-product of pulp and paper mills :yuck) - try real vanilla
I made brownies today & used fake vanilla for the first time in ages...it totally ruined the whole batch, gave them a NASTY aftertaste. :yes2

12-23-2008, 06:04 PM
I've never used real vanilla, we've always used the artificial stuff - although we can certainly switch.

I'm beginning to wonder if it's the coconut. I made a second batch, decreased the vanilla, baking soda and lemon - and this time instead of topping them with colored sugar, I topped them with the coconut - and I could smell that weirdness as they baked.

I'm going to try regular sweetened shredded coconut, the normal Durkee stuff, instead of the organic unsweetened coconut I have.

12-23-2008, 09:35 PM
I tried the original recipe using shredded sweetened coconut and juice from a real lemon, and the cookies are fine now. I'm guessing it was the coconut - it can have a funny taste. Oddly enough, I've always thought of coconut as my favorite flavor, but what you get inside a Mounds bar is not the same as pure unsweetened coconut. I can taste that same odd taste in canned coconut milk and coconut oil. Apparently, my favorite flavor is processed, sweetened coconut. :shrug :lol

April G
12-23-2008, 09:49 PM
A couple things give a nasty aftertaste for me. One is margarine. I always use real butter in baking... The other is rancid flour, so I would check the expiry date on it... Another thing is are you sifting all your dry ingredients? Sometimes you will get a lump of something like baking powder that will give a nasty after taste...



ETA :doh I should have read your updates... Sorry... :blush

12-23-2008, 11:47 PM
Don't apologize - I can use all the help I can get!

I've tried using organic butter - but it smells and tastes like parmesan cheese. So I went back to margarine.