I love, LOVE cookies! And, who doesn't? A classic chocolate chip cookie with a tall glass of milk, or perhaps a spiced gingerbread man in the snowy winter, or even an almond shortbread on a sunny afternoon. Whatever your favorite type of cookie is, you want to know how to make it PERFECT and your way. I love soft, tender, nutty shortbread. My fathers loves large, extra chewy cookies. My mother only goes after anything super crispy and dark! What your preference on your type of cookie does not matter. What matters is how to make it correctly. Read more to find out what ingredients make a cookie have its characteristics.
CRISP COOKIES: (example: tuile and shortbread cookies)
-Low moisture/liquids (like eggs)
-High sugar and fat
-Longer baking time
SOFT COOKIES: (opposite of a "crisp" cookie; example: chocolate chip cookie)
-Low sugar and fat
-Contains a hygroscopic sugar ("absorb moisture" type of sugar), such as honey, molasses, and corn syrup.
-Low bake time
CHEWINESS: (example: oatmeal raisin cookies)
-High sugar and liquid
-High egg content
-Strong gluten (flour/dry goods) development
-High sugar content
-High baking soda content
-Creaming the fat and sugar for a long period of time
-High liquid content
-Strong gluten flours (like bread flour)
MY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE:
Below is my favorite, all time chocolate chip cookie recipe with details at every step. They come out soft and delightful!
-Pre heat oven to 325 degrees F. Have 2 parchment-line sheet trays ready to go! (no grease or pan spray is needed!)
1) In a Kitchen Aid mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream 2 sticks of soft, unsalted butter, 1 cup of brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of white sugar.
-Cream until light and fluffy, approx. 10 mins.
-Stop the machine and scrap down 3 times during the creaming process.
-Make sure to "pack" the brown sugar when measuring it.
2)In a microwave safe container (like a mug), whisk together 2 large eggs and 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Microwave for 10 seconds, just until the "chill" is gone. With the mixer still going on medium speed, SLOWLY add the eggs/vanilla mix.
-Stop the machine half way adding the eggs and scrape again. Why? You're making an uniform batter!
-If the mixture looks like it "broke" or "too wet," you added the liquids too fast or the liquids where too cold. Add a bit of the flour to it.
3) Sift all the dry ingredient together in a large bowl: 2 1/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Stop the machine. Add the dry ingredient and 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies (and some chopped walnuts if you're like me). Mix on SLOW until just combined.
-Mixing too fast and long will cause a strong gluten-development in the cookie dough, which will cause the cookie to be chewy...if that is what you want.
-Scrape again! Esp. at the bottom where flour chunks tend to hide.
-I love using an ice-cream scoop to evenly portion out my cookie dough. About 9 cookies will bake on an average/medium size sheet pan.
-Bake for 8 mins, and rotate the pan half way for EVEN cooking! The cookies will be done when the edges are slightly brown and the middle is "almost" done, yet still soft.
-Cool the cookies directly on the pan. Eat, share, and SMILE!
Re-Read these past blog posts for more info on cookies:
"Baking powder vs Baking soda"
"To sift or not to sift"
"The creaming method"
"Know your oven"