It’s great to have you visiting again. I hope that everything is going well for you.

I have been walking on egg shells for the past couple of days, ever since I received a collection of recipes that I had ordered for my mother. I plan to give it to her on Mother’s Day.

My anxiety comes from not being able to anticipate how my mother would react to this gift. I love her dearly and would do anything for her. Well, anything except eating her cooking every day.

I don’t mean that my mother is a bad cook. In fact, she’s capable of preparing a scrumptious meal anytime. It’s just that her creativity with foods is limited. She only prepares a few dishes that she learned from her mother, and never seems to stray far from them.

Well, this collection of recipes would give my mother endless ideas to jazz up her menu. It includes:

  • Hundreds and hundreds of recipes with detailed explanations and simple instructions.
  • 101 low-carb recipes with full nutritional information for each one. (bonus)
  • 150 recipes for the most popular drinks. (bonus)
  • A 900 page, 5 volume set about the science and art of cooking. (bonus)

If my mother does not like this collection, she can still keep all the bonuses. I just have to return the recipe book within 60 days of purchase for a FULL refund.

I will find out soon enough about how much my mother likes or dislikes this gift. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for now and hope for a happy ending.

Thank you so much for hanging in with me. I appreciate your support and encouragement. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to all the cookie lovers you know.

Best Wishes and Happy Mother’s Day,



Web Site Updates

I have recently added the following pages to our Web site. The list is, however, not inclusive.

A Gluten Free Diet With Soy Flour

Discussing nutritional values, characteristics, and varieties of soy flour, a protein rich ingredient in any gluten free diet.

Cookie Bouquets – Edible and Thoughtful Gifts

Using an easy recipe to make cookie bouquets with kids means more than just creating thoughtful gifts. Besides having tons of fun, everyone learns organization, responsibility, and creativity.

Brownie Recipes for Light, Fudgy, and Butterscotch

Brownie recipes for different textures and flavors. They call for different mixing techniques, temperature, and proportion of ingredients.

Peanut Puffs – Traditional Malawian Treats

Preparing a traditional Malawian treat, peanut puffs, is quick and easy with this simple recipe.

Snickerdoodles – Creating Your Own Recipe

You only need flour, sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and a leavener to make snickerdoodles. But you can create your own flavor and texture by varying the quantity of these ingredients.

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies – Hints & Recipe

Tips for making exceptionally delicious soft chocolate chip cookies, and a detailed recipe for preparing soft banana-oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

By the way, I also published the article that I had featured in the last issue of Smart
. You were, however, the first to have seen and, hopefully, read it.

The APC of Cookie Baking

It wouldn’t be farfetched to identify a successful home baker as a detail-oriented chemist with an obsession for accuracy. After all, being able to produce perfectly baked cookies is so rewarding that measuring ingredients accurately is inevitable.

We use the same ingredients in baking – flour, eggs, water, sweeteners, leaveners, and fat. The technique we use to assemble these ingredients determines the quality, texture, and appearance of homemade cookies.

  • You and I know that the term for vigorously beating softened fat and sugar is creaming. The next steps involve combining eggs, then dry ingredients into this mixture.

  • Adding wet ingredients directly to those that are dry is often done whenever we want our cookies to have a low moisture content. This is known as a one-stage mixing method.

  • For delicate cookies such as madeleines and lady fingers, we use the sponge method. This requires gently folding foamed egg whites into cookie batter.

In addition, we should also be aware of any slight difference in proportion of ingredients in a recipe. A minute difference can have a large effect on texture and quality of homemade cookies and other baked goods.

For example, not using enough eggs in a recipe for moist and chewy oatmeal cookies would likely produce the opposite result, crisp and dry.

Unlike cooking, we can not make adjustments during the baking process. If we add too much baking soda, we’ll just have a patch of discolored cookies with a strong chemical off flavor.

In short, accuracy is an essential attribute of any successful baker. Along with creativity and skill, it turns us into chemists in the kitchen.

(To be continued…)

Recipe Comparison

This segment is to give you a general idea of possible taste and texture cookies might have before you actually bake them. It is not to determine that one recipe is better or worse than another.

In this issue, we will compare the proportion of some ingredients used in baking butterscotch brownies.

R 1 – Recipe 1 is from The Dessert Bible by Christopher Kimball. First Edition. Little, Brown and Co. Publishing. 2000

R 2 – Recipe 2 is from The Gluten Free Gourmet – Living Well Without Wheat by Bette Hagman. Revised Edition. Henry Holt and Co., LLC. 2000

1 cup = 8oz = 16 Tbsp = 48 tsp

Amount Baker’s %
R 1 R 2 R 1 R 2
All purpose flour(1) 1 cup 0 100% 0%
Rice flour(1) 0 1 cup 0% 67%
Soy flour(1) 0 ½ cup 0% 33%
Unsalted butter(2) ½ cup ½ cup 50% 33%
Brown sugar(2) 1 cup 2 cups 100% 133%
Molasses(2) 1 Tbsp = 1/16 cup 0 6.25% 0%
Eggs(4) 4 oz = ½ cup 6 oz = ¾ cup 50% 50%
Baking powder(3) ½ tsp 2 tsp 1% 3%
Vanilla extract(2) 1 Tbsp 1 tsp 6.25% 2%

Butterscotch brownies is a close relative of chocolate brownies. Its daunting characteristic is achingly sweet, at least for my taste.

(1) At first glance, you notice that R2 is gluten free. My recent post – A Gluten Free Diet with Soy Flour – presents nutritional information about this ingredient.

(2) R1 seems to be less sweet with more flavor. I expect the butterscotch flavor in R1 to have more depth than that in R2, due to the presence of molasses and higher proportions of vanilla extract and butter.

(3) It’s not unusual that more leavener (baking powder in this case) is used in gluten free recipes. This is to compensate for the inability of the flours to build structure.

(4) Both recipes are likely to produce butterscotch brownies with similar cake like texture. They have more or less the same amount of liquid and call for similar method of preparation – Creaming butter and sugar first, then adding eggs and finally dry ingredients.

Baking Tips

Keeping Chewy Cookies Soft

As soon as you remove cookies from the oven, drop the pan onto the floor, with the right side up, of course. 🙂

You are deliberately creating a sudden change in pressure. Any air inside the cookies will be rushed out, causing them to flatten, stay moist and chewy. It works!

Until next time, stay focus and keep baking.

Published date: May 10, 2006

Copyright 2006 by Trinh Lieu. All right reserved.