Cookies - blogger's waffle
Updated: Jan 31, 2019
Cookies usually have few ingredients and are considered to be a quick fix.. and they are. If you have few tricks behind your sleeve you will bake beautiful cookies and who knows - maybe cookie baking will be your newly discovered passion! :)
So, before we start Cookie Week few hints which I hope you find helpful:
- Don’t over mix - don’t over-mix the dough once you add flour - keep mixing to minimum and stop once all ingredients are just about combined.
- Watch flour measurements - too much flour = dense cookies.
- Sugar to butter ratio - follow recipe. Funny rule but you will find that sugar (and especially too much sugar) will make your dough more prone to flat, crispy cookies.
- Cool the dough - invest time in giving your cookie dough at least 1 hour (12 hours would be ideal) rest in the refrigerator. This will ensure all ingredients blend in nicely but also will prevent cookie from spreading (so refrigerating = shape + texture in tact).
- Cool cookies once formed, before baking- I like to cool cookie balls on the baking tray - in that way you are cooling the tray and the cookie ball. Forming the balls (your hands) warmed up the dough so you need to bring the temperature down again before baking. 20 minutes in the fridge or 10 minutes in the freezer will sort it out.
- Use silicon baking mats - really big difference vs. parchment paper. Cookies are easier to collect from the mat, don’t stick and keep better shape while baking. It's 10 euro worth investing (for 3 reusable mats).
- Baking powder suspect - any recipe which calls for more than 2 teaspoons of raising agent is a suspect. You can be guaranteed the unpleasant aftertaste.
- Shape with your hands - forget cookie scoops! Go with teaspoon measurements for each cookie ball and then give it some personal TLC :). You really get best cookie shapes that way! if you go for cookies which are crips on edges but soft in the middle form cookie balls and don’t flatten. You can actually shape them fairly tall (chicken egg style) if you want cookie to be extra chunky.
- Watch baking time - most of the recipes call for 10-15 minutes baking time. You will think it’s too little as cookies still look soft. Don’t be tempted to over bake. Cookies will set once baked, so you want to go for crisp edges and soft middle.
- Ovens - some ovens have excessive fans. For certain cookies (chocolate cookies) you may opt to switch off the fan and bake with standard top/bottom heating method.
- Add-ins - you will find that by cooling the dough the ingredients have a chance to generate unique flavour. For chocolate chip cookies I would recommend using coarsely chopped chocolate (totally different cookie than when using chocolate chips). If you are using nuts or seeds/grains remember to roast or toast them before mixing into the dough (so that they are crunchy and not gooey and soft).
- Flour - don’t be afraid to use wholegrain or bread flour. It gives amazing texture to cookies.
- Sugar - don’t be afraid to mix up brown with white sugar. Brown sugar brings out lovely caramel flavour to the cookie.
- Butter - in most cookie recipes use unsalted, 82% fat. Add salt to the dough separately. Adding salted butter will give you different result as salted butter blends in differently with flour. In some cookie recipes though salted butter gives an advantage (on our website this will be specified).
- Shortening - don’t be afraid to use natural oils as a shortening agent - coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, walnut oil.
- Salt - if recipe states sea salt do invest in coarse sea salt. The taste it gives to the cookie is different (less flat) vs. table salt.
- Fix after cookies are baked - if cookies are too puffy flatten with the spoon, if cookies which meant to be puffy are becoming flat try to bring back the edges with the spoon.
- Jazz things up - rule is simple - keep main proportions in tact and improvise with add-ins. Spices, herbs, chocolate, nuts, seeds, grains, soft fudge, soft caramel, puffed rice, puffed quinoa, roasted coconut, marshmallows, adding stout/cider to the dough… you name it.