Crsipy, Gooey, Chewy? What is your favorite Style of Cookie?
10 cookie recipe hacks to make the perfect cookie for your preference !
The perfect chocolate Chip cookie recipe is often a matter of personal preference, although there is science behind making your next batch of chocolate cookies the way you like. The art of the perfect cookie has been battle tested in home kitchens around the world since the invention of the modern oven.
Toll House and Pilsbury a have been perfecting the science of baking for years. Recently a food scientist and cook book author Tessa Arias,wrote up a great analysis on her site, Handle the Heat, on how to make the perfect cookie based on a controlled experimental process.
After reading this article, I scoured the internet looking for the best articles explaining the science of modifying cookie recipes based on modifying the ingredients, methods and tools. There lots of tips out there, but here are the common cookie hacks that I found.
Cookie Recipe Hacks
Type of flour
As a general rule, bread flour will make your cookie more chewy and all-purposeflour will make them softer. Why? Bread flour is higher in protein, creating more structure to the binding agents of the cookie. All purpose flour is balanced, providing the best of both. Reference: http://www.finecooking.com/articles/choosing-flour-for-baking.aspx Adding extra flour will make the cookie gooey.
Type of Fat
Butter versus vegetable shortening, like Crisco. – Butter has the most flavor, although shortening like crisco will spread out when melting during the bake, making them soft, but dense. Butter will result in a better browning and give it a butterscotch flavor. Source http://www.handletheheat.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-chocolate-chip-cookies and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0260877406001427
Physical state of Fat
Using cold butter when fluffing it into the flour traps in air, resulting in light and fluffy cakie cookie. Melting the butter will create a more short and dense cookie. If you brown the butter it will make the cookie have nutty and toffee flavors. Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/09/04/345530660/the-science-behind-baking-your-ideal-chocolate-chip-cookie
Amount of egg
The proportion of egg yolk to egg whites makes a big difference in the density of the cookie. Egg yolks makes the cookie more creamy fudge like. On the other hand, here a cookie with mostly egg white will be lighter with open laticed cavities. Source: http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/32511/replacing-egg-whites-with-whole-eggs-when-baking-cookies and http://www.handletheheat.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-chocolate-chip-cookies
Baking soda is alkaline, so it needs a lot of acid to make it rise. The result is a denser textured cooking. The acids in brown sugar can help activate some of the bubbling. Baking powder is baking soda with acids added. With baking powder you are going to get gas production when water is added and during baking. Baking powder will create a cakier cookie. Think “soft bake” from the store. Source: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/the_difference_between_baking_soda_and_baking_powder/
Corn syrup is very simplified sugar, so it spreads flat and provides a very flexible cookie with dark caramelization. Just a little is needed. Cornstarch, according to Handle the Heat Blog, had crispier edges, but soft in the center. The corn starch helps to spread spread of the cookies as they bake, but creates soft density at the core. Some other bakers indicate that you should use melted butter and refrigerate when using corn starch for best results. Source: http://homebaking.org/bakingtips/index.html
Type of Sugar
Brown sugar has a acidic pH level, which will react with the baking soda and baking powder. The result, brown sugar cookies will rise from the agitated leavening. Consequently brown sugar cookies are more cakey. White sugar cookies will tend to be more flat and crispy since the leavening is not encouraged. Brown sugar also caramelizes during baking, providing more nutty toffee flavors. Source: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2013/12/the-food-lab-the-best-chocolate-chip-cookies.html http://www.handletheheat.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-chocolate-chip-cookies/
Type of cooking sheet
Dark non-stick cooking sheets give the bottom of the cookies an almost burnt looking color. This could be confounded by the type of sugar you use. Silicon lined or baking paper lined sheets conduct less surface heat, resulting in a lighter shade of brown. Lower the heat if using a dark baking pan. Light baking pans are made with aluminum and tend to have an insulating layer, these factors help to conduct heat more evenly, resulting in less browning. http://www.bettycrocker.com/products/cookie-mix/faq and http://www.melskitchencafe.com/the-great-cookie-experiment-baking-pans-and-liners/
Cooling /Aging the dough
Freezing the dough over night will make the flavor more intense. The science behind this is simple, the flour will absorb more of the liquids and the enzymes in the egg and flour break down to a simpler fructose and glucose, giving a massive flavor punch…naturally. According to bakepedia, aging your cookie dough in the refridgerator for 36 hours provided the best results of a caramel crunch on the exertior and chewy molases flavor in the center. Source http://www.bakepedia.com/tipsandtricks/refrigerating-cookie-dough/ and http://www.cooksillustrated.com/equipment_reviews/1403-cookie-sheets#.
Temperature and heating Duration
This hack is well-known since the first issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine in the days of Mad Men. A low temperature for a longer baking time will make a crispier and thinner cookie. Why? The lower temperature allows the cookie dough to fulyl melt and spread before it rises. A short cooking time at a higher temperature then will yield a more stout cookie that is softer and cakie. Source: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2013/12/the-food-lab-the-best-chocolate-chip-cookies.html
What type of cookie do you want?
Soft Batch (grocery store style) – Use half butter and half shortening
Cakey – Use more baking soda instead of baking powder. Use a higher temperature.
Puffy, and Soft Center – 1/2 Baking soda, 1/2 baking powder, 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 white sugar. Maybe use more egg yolk.
Thin and crispy 1 yolk for every two egg whites, use a lower temperature
Uniform Even – Add corn syrup and a little corn starch
Dark Toffee and Caramel Flavors – Use brown sugar and freeze the dough
Goooey – Add Extra flour and an extra egg yolk
Chewy Style – Use Bread flour
Squat and Dense Cookie – Melt the butter first, freeze dough for 60 minutes prior to baking. Perhaps use a higher temperature.