Weird reaction to cookies
April 9, 2012 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Why does my mouth feel raw after eating the cookies I made?

I made white chocolate chip cookies with almonds. These are the first cookies I've made in years and they taste really good, apart from this side effect.

After the first cookie, the inside of my mouth and teeth felt kind of rough, as if it were very dry (it wasn't, and the cookies were nice and soft, too). Rubbing my tongue against my teeth felt like they were skidding against something dry.

I only ever get this effect after eating a type of baloney, of all things.

So I wasn't particularly worried and I ate five more, because, hey, nom!

After that my mouth felt almost raw. Like I'd scalded it by eating something too hot. It still felt a bit rough the next morning (after which, yes, I ate more cookies. They're addicting and I'm stupid for cookies.) They're gone, now, but I still would like to know what the problem was.

I can't fathom what it could be. I'm not allergic to any ingredients afaik (flour, eggs, brown sugar, salt, baking powder). Maybe two teaspoonfuls were too much baking powder, or the fact that I erroneously added it to the sugar right at the beginning instead of waiting until I'd mixed sugar and eggs?

Can you help me avoid this?
posted by Omnomnom to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Most obvious answer is nut allergy or oral allergy syndrome. Is it possible you have one of those?
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:47 AM on April 9, 2012

Response by poster: I've never had any reaction at all to nuts. I don't like them much but sometimes I do snack them infront of the tv.
posted by Omnomnom at 11:48 AM on April 9, 2012

FWIW, you can develop nut allergies later in life. Witness my poor SO, who loved nuts growing up, and then became allergic during grad school.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:52 AM on April 9, 2012

Response by poster: Only one way to test that!

I'm eating a handful of the same nuts now (meh). Doesn't seem to have any effect.
posted by Omnomnom at 11:56 AM on April 9, 2012

Since there's a limited number of ingredients, maybe eat a spoonful of each one just to see if you can pinpoint the problem? Esp the white chocolate, as it's a finished food rather than strictly an ingredient. presumably you've been eating plenty of other things involving flour, eggs, and sugar. Two teaspoonfuls, while kind of a lot of baking powder, isn't unusual (my husband's favorite bread recipe uses 3t per loaf); and order of addition shouldn't affect anything like that.
posted by aimedwander at 12:07 PM on April 9, 2012

Best answer: I get this when I eat something too sugary and starchy, like it sucks up all the water in my mouth and scrapes up the tender membranes in there. Sugary cookies definitely do it, particularly if the sugar hasn't totally melted during the baking process. They can feel soft and whatever, but if there's even a slight bit of the sugar grain texture left it will leave my mouth kind of sore in exactly the way you're describing. Toast often does the same thing too, even lightly cooked soft toast, so I think it can be set off the by the dry starchyness even without the sugar issue. But adding the sugar at the wrong point during baking makes it less likely to dissolve properly, so is my bet for the culprit.

Personally, I get round it by having a big glass of milk with my cookies then cleaning my teeth soon after.
posted by shelleycat at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: That's interesting, shelleycat. Yes, I did get the impression that the sugar was still a bit crystalline in some of the cookies. And the problem did get better the next day, when the cookies had gotten softer and crumblier (due to injudicious storage with moist bread).

Is there anything I can do while baking to make sure the sugar melts properly?
posted by Omnomnom at 12:21 PM on April 9, 2012

The baking powder could do this to your mouth if you put too much in relative to the amount of other ingredients, and especially if you didn't mix it into the batter well enough (possibly not adding enough liquids to hold it in suspension).

I'll second aimedwander's idea of trying a small bit of each ingredient to pinpoint the problem.

On a separate note, Omnomnom, your username is very fitting here.
posted by cmchap at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2012

Typical cookie recipe:
In one bowl, mix wet ingredients and sugar (i.e. eggs, butter, oil, and sugar(s)
In another bowl, mix dry ingredients (i.e. flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices)
Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients
Add nuts/chocolate chips/other additional things

I find that when you mix the sugar into the wet ingredients, it partially dissolves the sugar, which might help with the sensation you're feeling with the crystalline sugar. Did you make your cookies by throwing everything in one bowl at the same time?
posted by asphericalcow at 12:37 PM on April 9, 2012

Response by poster: Cmchap, I tried the nuts and the chocolate, and everything else I pretty much have regularly.
(And yeah, my username reflects my cookiemonster habits!)

asphericalcow, I did observe the wet ingredients / dry ingredients setup, but by mistake I added the baking powder to the sugar instead of to the flour. So it got mixed in when I mixed the sugar with the egg to I don't know what effect.

I did think the batter seemed a bit stiff but have no experience how goopy it is supposed to be. I could have taken a handful and thrown it at someone without anything dripping.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:41 PM on April 9, 2012

I'm guessing it's the BP, and that you didn't mix it thoroughly enough.
posted by spunweb at 12:43 PM on April 9, 2012

The key to correctly mixing sugar into cookie dough is to cream it properly with the butter. If you don't mix it for long enough you can end up with little pockets of butter and sugar which changes the texture of the final product.
posted by bq at 12:44 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, it's the creaming step with the butter that lets the sugar melt properly and removes any crystalline structure. The butter needs to be soft but not melted, and you need to beat until it's white and fluffly and the sugar is totally melted before you beat in the eggs. This also adds lift to the batter so the cookies are lighter and better overall. There generally isn't that much baking powder since a lot of the leavening is provided by the beating and mixing, so adding in a bit more probably doesn't change things that much. Adding in the baking powder at the wrong place may have made it harder for the sugar to melt too. Using castor sugar instead of standard sugar helps (castor sugar has smaller crystals), but your brown sugar should also have small crystals that melt nicely. Personally I'm a bit lazy about my creaming, hence the glass of milk.

Sugar soaks up water drying things out (salt does the same thing). Undissolved sugar left in the cookies can particulary do this, giving the dry feeling. Add in the slight microscopic scratchyness from the sugar crystals and you get that horrible burnt scraped feeling the next morning. I highly doubt it's an allergy (the symptoms are all wrong) and you'd have to add a lot more baking powder before it irritated your mouth.
posted by shelleycat at 1:09 PM on April 9, 2012

I would've guessed this sort of recipe to be a baking soda recipe, not baking powder. If the recipe did indeed call for soda and you added powder, the outcome would be acidic cookies, which could give that mouthfeel.

I'm not saying your cookies are giving you acid-burn, but I bet they could give you that feeling.
posted by Sunburnt at 1:55 PM on April 9, 2012

Response by poster: No, it did call for baking powder.

But I just realised that the sell by date on the baking powder is February 2012, argh. Maybe it was that.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:09 PM on April 9, 2012

I don't think baking powder can really go off. Not in two months, anyway.
posted by zadcat at 2:27 PM on April 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I have this problem when I eat sugar cookies - the ones that come by the dozen at the grocery store with the visible sugar crystals. I always just figured it was the sugar scraping the inside of my mouth - also - I dislike drinking beverages when I am eating, so that probably makes it dryer.
posted by KogeLiz at 4:12 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

My mouth can feel like that after eating white chocolate. a little, anyway.
posted by gjc at 6:05 PM on April 9, 2012

If it had been an error involving baking powder or soda, I suspect the intense chemical taste would have hit you first, and any texture problems would be secondary. Myself, when I've accidentally left bits of baking powder in baked goods, when a clump hits, your mouth fills with this overwhelming acrid sourness that made you want to vomit, and it took many glasses of water to get the taste out.

My guess is that you just got overenthusiastic eating hot, crispy food. Pizza does that to me the most. Is it anything like pizza mouth?
posted by Hither at 11:56 PM on April 9, 2012

Best answer: Somebody just told me that I used the wrong kind of brown sugar that is far too crystalline (German brown sugar).
All in all Shelleycats explanation jibes best with my experience so I'll mark it. But I've learnt a lot in this thead so thank you for puzzling it out with me!
Hither, the link timed out on me but sounds interesting.
posted by Omnomnom at 4:38 AM on April 10, 2012

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