When it comes to baking cookies, the great debate really comes down to crispy versus chewy and holding shape or spreading into a mess. So the question is, what’s the science behind it? If you master the science, will each batch of cookies come out just the way you like it?
Creating the perfect cookie comes down to making the perfect dough and then cooking it just so. Sounds easy, right? Well, not so fast.
“Food is amazingly complicated and we kind of think this thing is just sitting there and nothing’s happening, but that’s not the case at all,”. “Whether the dough is resting before or after baking, it’s constantly undergoing change.”
For example, when cookies go into the oven and heat up, the outer edge dries out first, and the middle becomes kind of becomes gooey and then eventually sets. Over the course of the day, after you take them out, the moisture equalizes in the cookie. “This means your cookies will be more uniform a day after baking them,” So if you like chewy cookies, you might like them better a day after baking them instead of the day of.”
There are several variables that determine how your cookies will come out:
1) The type of sugars and the ratio between them
With cookie dough, the ratio between complex sugars (that is, sucrose, or standard table sugar) to simple sugars (fructose or glucose) will change the amount of moisture the cookies hold onto during baking
2) The gluten level in the dough
The gluten level also determines how much moisture the cookie will hold onto.
3) Melting the butter versus keeping the butter unmelted when you mix it into the dough
This is another common cookie quandary.
If you melt the butter, then the water becomes available to the flour as you mix, increasing the amount of gluten in the dough. Also, depending on how you’re creaming your butter and your sugar together and then adding your flour, you’re going to get differences in the way the flour incorporates into the rest of the dough
4) Weigh your ingredients
If you are a serious cookie aficionado, or you teeter on the edge of obsessive-compulsive behavior, the single most important thing you can do is to weigh your ingredients — carefully. “because one cup of flour can vary in weight by as much as 20 or 30%.”
“That’s a huge difference” , “especially when you’re talking about the difference in texture between four percent or six percent or eight percent water content. So weigh the flour.”
5) Unsalted versus salted butter
Using unsalted butter and then adding the salt yourself lets you control the amount of salt in the dough. The amount of salted in salted butter can vary from 1.5 to three percent salt
6) Make sure your oven’s calibrated.
If your oven is not cooking your dough at the temperature you think it is, all of your other careful work could crumble as easily as on over-cooked, crispy gingerbread man.
To help you in your baking endeavours here are some common cookie problems and how best to avoid them.
Tips for perfect cookie baking
• Do not over-beat your eggs. This will add too much air to the cookies.
• Leaving your cookie dough in the fridge overnight will make for more delicious cookies, plus the dough will be easier to work with the next day.
• Watch your cookies very carefully while they are baking – you want to take them out at exactly the right moment, when they are golden but not hard.
• If you like thinner, crisper cookies, reduce the amount of flour you use slightly.
• Bake your cookies on baking parchment or on a Demarle Silpat Baking Mat. This helps prevent sticking and burning.
• If you are baking cookies at high altitude, plan to adjust your recipe, in order to retain moisture and consistency.
Hopefully these explanations have set you on the right track if you’ve been experiencing some cookie woes. Remember, practice makes perfect. Everybody’s kitchen equipment and ingredients are slightly different, so it might take you a few tries to perfect your cookies even if you have a great recipe.
My Sugar Cookie And Royal Icing Recipe
Learn how to prepare my Sugar Cookie and Royal Icing Recipes and start decorating like a pro! Please note PDF will be send to your email, once payment is received. Allow 24 hours for Payment to be processed
My Gingerbread Cookie And Royal Icing Recipes
Learn how to prepare my Gingerbread Cookie and Royal Icing Recipes and start decorating like a pro! Please note PDF will be send to your email, once payment is received. Allow 24 hours for Payment to be processed
PME Scriber Needle Modelling Tool