- A chewy or crunchy base such as any type of cereals, cookie crumbs, crackers, even chow mein noodles.
- A binding agent acting as a glue. Choices in this category are limited only by your imagination. You could use corn syrup, peanut butter, marshmallows, jam, or my favorite – melted chocolate.
Flour is not a direct ingredient in no bake cookies. Instead, it is essential in many baked products that go into the making of no bake cookies. Read more on the role and effect of flours on cookie baking.
Besides being the structure building material in baked goods, wheat flour also provides flavor, color, and nutritional value.
It consists mostly of starch (68 – 76%) and proteins.
Starch is basically a complex carbohydrate that can be broken down into simple glucose, the food of choice for yeast. In the oven, starch absorbs moisture from cookie dough and expands in volume. When temperature reaches 140 degree Fahrenheit, it begins to gelatinize, contributing to the shape and form of homemade cookies.
Each wheat kernel consists of:
- An outermost protective layer called bran.
- An embryo of wheat plant called germ. This will grow into a new plant in favorable conditions.
- The bulky, whitest part consisting mostly of starch is called endosperm. White flour comes from this part of the kernel.
Courtesy of The Wheat Foods Council
There are different grades of flour depending on what part of the kernel it comes from.
Patent flour comes from the center of the endosperm. It has the highest quality and the lowest amount of ash (minerals).
Whole wheat or graham flour comes from the whole kernel (bran, germ, endosperm). Doctor Sylvester Graham developed this flour in the early nineteenth century to promote unrefined foods and vegetarianism.
Whole wheat flour is high in proteins (11 – 14%), but its ability to form gluten is weak compared to white flour because:
- Sharp bran particles in whole wheat flour shortens gluten strands.
- Proteins from bran and germ layers do not form gluten.
Glutenin and gliadin are the two proteins that can form gluten. Gluten is basically a network of proteins that is both elastic and plastic. It has the ability to stretch into a very thin film without tearing, and spring back into its original form.
In the presence of moisture such as water, glutenin and gliadin relax from their tangled state. Pressure exerted through mixing and kneading helps these relaxed strands of proteins to line up and form a strong, cohesive network.
This protein network traps air, steam, carbon dioxide to leaven cookie dough during the baking process.
Protein content in flour varies from 6% to 14.5% depending on the types of wheat. Cake flour has the least amount of protein (6-8%). Bread flour is at the high end and all purpose flour comes in the middle with 9.5 – 11.5%.
There are six known varieties of wheat: hard red spring, hard red winter, soft red winter, hard white winter, soft white winter, and durum wheat. “Red” and “white” refer to the color of the kernel.
Winter wheat is planted in the Fall and harvested in early Summer. Spring wheat is planted in the Spring and harvested in late Summer. The planting schedule for durum wheat is similar to that for hard red spring wheat. Durum wheat is milled into semolina to manufacture pasta products.
Keep wheat flour in a clean, well-ventilated area with a temperature between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity between 55-65%. Whole wheat flour has shorter shelf life due to its higher fat content.
Generally, soft wheat flour imparts tenderness to homemade and no bake cookies. Another ingredient that contributes to this quality is ……
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