This weekend finally gives us a little break from the Summer heat. I hope that you’re making the best of it. Hang in there. Autumn is just around the corner.
Turning on the oven to bake cookies at least once a week may not be anyone’s idea of keeping cool, but that’s my preferred way to come up with fresh materials for our Web site.
Just simply listing recipes after recipes would not be adequate for a content-rich site like ours. Before I post a cookie recipe, I’d like to have personally tried it out, identified any pitfalls so that I can warn you about them. After all, the primary purpose of Baking Perfect Homemade Cookies with Five Essential Rules is to offer you practical and helpful cookie baking tips.
So, despite the heat and humidity, I have diligently baked to add the following recipes to our growing collection of easy cookie recipes since we last parted.
Crispy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. Baking brownie-like crinkle cookies with unsweetened cocoa, unsalted butter, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla extract, leaveners, salt, and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar for visual contrast.
Peanut Butter Brownies. A layer of peanut butter sandwiched in between two layers of chocolate equal the most delicious peanut butter brownies. Quick and easy preparation makes you want to bake them every week.
With an interesting anecdote as the icing, one would need flour, butter, brown sugar, egg, salt, and vanilla extract to bake these sweet blondies.
Viennese Almond Crescent Cookies. Blanched almonds, sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, and flour are all you need to bake these irresistible almond crescent cookies. Preparing directions and illustrating images will take you through the process with ease.
Twisted Shaped Cookies. A blend of bread sticks and palmiers, these extraordinary twisted shaped cookies are easily made from everyday baking ingredients – flour, butter, yeast, water, sugar and salt.
Stained Glass Cookies From Scratch. Baking stained glass cookies from scratch with sugar, butter, vegetable shortening, egg, flour, corn syrup, flavorings, baking powder, and food coloring.
I hope that you try at least one of those recipes. Let me know if you have any cookie recipes that you would like me to test bake.
- Featured Article – “Homemade Cookies and Their T’s”
- Recipe Comparison – Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Baking Tip – What use could you possibly have for “seized” chocolate?
Before you say that there is not a single T in homemade cookies, I’d better tell you that the T’s stand for types and texture. They are the two prominent features in our favorite sweet. One often can not be without the other.
We classify cookies based on how we get them ready for the oven.
1. Drop Cookies – If you have ever made chocolate chip, peanut butter, or oatmeal cookies, you undoubtedly use the dropping method. Any kitchen utensils such as tablespoons or ice cream scoops can be used to portion the dough. The trick is to make these portions relatively equal in size so that they bake uniformly. A variation of this technique is rolling cookie dough into balls. Drop cookies tend to have a soft and chewy texture.
2. Icebox or Refrigerated Cookies – I suspect that this type of cookies was invented when someone who did not have time to bake right after preparing the dough. Instead, she shaped it into logs or rectangles and refrigerated it. When she had time later, she sliced the chilled dough into individual pieces and baked them as needed. Many elegant homemade cookies such as pinwheel and checkerboard are of this type. It allows a busy home baker an opportunity to show off her creativity. These cookies usually have a crisp texture.
3. Cut-Out or Rolled Cookies – Dough for this type of cookies needs to be firm. To minimize scrap, start cutting cookies from the edge of the dough, working inward as close to one another as possible. Scrap can be re-rolled but tends to yield tough cookies. Cut-out cookies are often baked on parchment lined or ungreased cookie sheets to keep the dough from spreading and loosing its shape. An alternative is to hand-shaped the dough into spheres, crescents, or other traditional shapes.
4. Bar or Sheet Cookies – It takes almost no time at all to transfer cookie dough from a mixing bowl to a baking pan. This is the best method for a busy cookie lover.
5. Pressed or Spritz or Bagged Cookies – The right flour and proper proportion of ingredients are prerequisite for success in baking this type of cookies. The dough should be soft enough so that it can be easily forced through a pastry tip or cookie press. Using eggs as the only liquid will help cookies retain their small, distinct and decorated shape.
6. Wafer Cookies – Being extremely thin and delicate is a distinguishing trait of these cookies. They are made from a batter that you pour or spread directly onto a baking sheet. The cookies need to be molded immediately into shapes after coming out of the oven.
Generally, cookie dough with a relatively high proportion of fat, granulated sugar, and eggs would promote spreading and chewiness. High fat and sugar but low in eggs (liquid) tend to result in crispness. The opposite condition will add softness to your homemade cookies.
SARAH R. LABENSKY, EDDY VAN DAMME, PRISCILLA MARTEL, KLAUS TENBERGEN. On Baking – A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals. Pearson Education, Inc. 2005
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 the other.
In this issue, we will compare the proportion of some ingredients used in baking chocolate crinkle cookies.
R 1 – WILLIAMS-SONOMA. 1st Edition. Cookies. Simon & Schuster, Inc. 2002.
R 2 – SAMPSON, SALLY. Bake Sale Cookbook – Quintessential American Desserts. Simon & Schuster, 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.
|R 1||R 2||R 1||R 2|
|All purpose flour||¾ cup||2 cups||100%||100%|
|Sugar||1 cup||1 cup||133%||50%|
|Unsalted butter||3/8 cup||¼ cup||50%||12.5%|
|Eggs||2 oz||4 oz||33%||25%|
|Unsweetened cocoa powder||¼ cup||½ cup||33%||25%|
|Unsweetened chocolate||¼ cup||0||33%||0%|
Having read the above article and based on the percentages of eggs, sugar, fat, anyone can conclude that R1 spreads more than R2. It yields cookies that are chewier and have a richer chocolate taste. If that recipe can better indulge your sweet tooth, you can find it at Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
What use could you possibly have for “seized” chocolate?
We all know that the first rule for melting chocolate is keeping water and steam from getting into it because milk, cocoa proteins and sugar will absorb water and swell up. When that happens, the melting chocolate will quickly thicken, and is no longer useful for dipping or coating.
However, you can use the “seized” chocolate for other forms of decoration that require you to pipe the chocolate. For example, drawing or writing on a giant cookie or cake.
I hope that you enjoy this newsletter. Please share it with other cookie lovers you know. So long ’til next time.
Published date: August 12, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Trinh Lieu. All right reserved.