Smart Cookies brings us together once again. I hope that you have had a great month.

Have you ever been called “daddy’s girl“? I’m referring to the ladies, of course. I really take exception to that term because it undermines the relationship I have with my father.

My Dad is not necessarily a cookie lover, but definitely a practical man. He keeps everyone in the family grounded.

With reference to “Baking Perfect Homemade Cookies” Web site, he understands that it is an outlet for my passion. But he also knows that I would eventually have a difficult time keeping it up for lack of resources.

As stubborn as I am, I like to challenge my father’s warning. But subconsciously, I know that he is right. Well, time will tell as my mother would say. In the meantime, enjoy and please forward this newsletter to all the cookie lovers you know.

Best Wishes and Happy Father’s Day,



Web Site Updates

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

Savory Cheese Cookies – An Alternative to Crackers

Savory cheese cookies are made with extra sharp Cheddar cheese, unsalted butter, all purpose flour, ground black pepper, and salt.

Wonton Cinnamon Crisps

Wonton cinnamon crisps take less than 20 minutes to prepare and bake. Ingredients include versatile wonton skins, melted butter, cinnamon sugar for sprinkling.

Crispy Brownie Biscotti for Chocolate Lovers

Baking brownie biscotti using unsalted butter, sugar, eggs, unsweetened cocoa powder, semisweet chocolate, flour, walnuts or pecans.

The Perfect Party Favor – Neapolitan Cookies

Baking elegant and tasty Neapolitan cookies for party favor with everyday ingredients – flour, butter, sugar, eggs, unsweetened chocolate, chopped pecans.

Food Sanitation in Baking Homemade Cookies

To insure food sanitation and safety, bakers of homemade cookies are encouraged to review issues related to personal hygiene, cross contamination, proper storage of cookie ingredients.

Zeppole – Italian Fried Bread Dough

Zeppole with their unforgettable taste are made of simple ingredients – flour, water, yeast, salt, oil for frying, and confectioners’ sugar for coating.

Dried Fruits in Baking Homemade Cookies

Learning about the production and benefits of dried fruits, such as raisins, in baking homemade cookies.

The APC of Cookie Baking (cont’d)

Have you ever wondered why most cookie recipes start out with preheating ovens?

Heat turns moisture from water, eggs, and other liquids into steam. It also activates the second part of double acting baking powder to release more carbon dioxide. Steam and carbon dioxide are gases which, in turn, expand in the hot oven. This entire mechanism leavens our cookie dough.

Only a preheated oven can sufficiently provide enough heat to cause this effect. If baking starts in an oven that has not been preheated, steam and carbon dioxide are still being generated, but at a very slow rate. At the same time, as oven temperature increases, surface of cookie dough also begins to bake and solidify, even before steam and carbon dioxide have a chance to leaven it.

Thus, the ability of cookie dough to rise is limited, resulting in cookies with less desirable shape and form.

On the other hand, cookies continue to bake even after being removed from the hot oven. This is known as carryover baking. It is not completed until internal temperature of cookies is the same as room temperature.

During this cooling period, proteins and starches bond and solidify, making cookies firmer and more rigid. We should allow cookies to cool completely before serving for optimal flavor, taste, and texture.

However, certain things are easier said than done. I have been known to eat cookies right out of the oven more times than I care to remember.

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 madeleines, also known as French shell cookies.

R 1Cookies. Williams-Sonoma Collection. First Edition. Weldon Owen Inc. and Williams-Sonoma Inc. 2002

R 2Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri. First Edition. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. 2000

1 cup = 8oz = 16 Tbsp = 48 tsp
1 whole egg is approximately 2 oz., yolk is about 0.5 oz. and the white 1.5 oz.

Amount Baker’s %
R 1 R 2 R 1 R 2
All purpose flour 0 1 cup 0% 100%
Cake flour 1¼ cup 0 100% 0%
Unsalted butter ½ cup ½ cup 40% 50%
Sugar ¾ cup ½ cup 60% 50%
Eggs, 2 large 5 oz 4 oz 50% 50%

I am sure that you would prefer to draw your own conclusion based on the above analysis. Just allow me to offer a few reminders:

  • Due to a lower protein content, cake flour is weaker than all purpose flour in terms of building structure.

  • Weak flour needs help from a chemical leavener. Recipe 1 actually calls for ¼ tsp. of baking powder.

  • Whole egg is also a structure builder because ¾ of its composition is proteins. Although both recipes 1 and 2 have the same baker’s % of eggs to flour, the total amount of eggs in recipe 1 contains more fat. To make up 5 oz., it calls for 2 whole eggs and 2 extra yolks. Fat is an excellent tenderizer.

Baking Tips

Cookies made from dough that has been re-rolled many times tend to be tough because:

  1. More gluten is developed through repeated handling.

  2. Dough incorporates any little amount of flour that we use to dust the work surface.

To reduce this shortcoming, either

  • Roll dough between 2 sheets of wax paper, or

  • Use a combination of equal part flour and confectioners’ sugar to dust your work surface.

Well, it is time for us to part again. Remember to stay focused and keep on baking.

Published date: June 12, 2006

Copyright 2006 by Trinh Lieu. All right reserved.