Just in case you thought you knew everything about cookies… There’s more!
In class, we talked about chewy, crisp, and soft cookies. It was news to me that you can actually manipulate the amount of various ingredients in order to get the kind of cookie you want, but of course that makes sense. Whenever I made cookies before this, I couldn’t figure out why sometimes my cookies came out crisp or soft.
In general, crisp cookies are high in fat and sugar, and low in eggs and hydration (milk, water, or another wet ingredient). Soft cookies are high in hydration and eggs, and low in fat and sugar. Chewy cookies, my favorite, are high in eggs, hydration, and sugar, and lower in fat. High and low here are relative amounts within each recipe. If you have a favorite cookie recipe, you can look at the amount of fat, eggs, sugar, etc, and kind of tell just from that what kind of a cookie you will get. This also enables you to change the amounts slightly if you want a chewy rather than a crisp cookie. Neat, right?
Some factors that contribute to cookies spreading during baking are: overmixing, amount of leavener, type of flour, coarseness of sugar (small grains = more spread), amount of liquid, use of pan spray, and oven temperature.
Like when we learned about mixing and making bread, we also had a “cookie boss” competition after learning about cookies. We did it four days in a row, and the first day I even won! The way it worked was we got a list of ingredients and the total amount of dough to make. Then, we had to figure out the amount of ingredients to use in order to make a soft cookie, and another day, a crisp cookie. We were judged on taste, appearance, and weight. It’s not so easy! Plus, we only had twenty minutes to do all the math AND mix and tray the cookies!
Below are more photos of making cookies, the cookie competition, and making large (and I mean large) batches of cookie dough for production.