Hello Cookie Lovers!!!

In this issue of Smart Cookies, I will attempt to answer a few questions that many of you have asked me during the Summer. But first, let’s check out many recently posted cookie recipes.

Homemade Black and White Cookies. Ingredients and baking directions for black and white cookies.

Florentines – One of Pastry Shop Favorites. Elegant florentines are easy to bake at home with a little butter, cream, syrup, sugar, flour, almonds, and candied fruits.

Wows! Chocolate Chip Cookies!. Three kinds of chocolate plus walnuts mixed with well blended eggs, sugar, flour yield the best chocolate chip cookies.

Vietnamese Gluten Free Cookies with Coconut Milk. Ingredients and simple directions for making banh men or Vietnamese gluten free cookies.

Gluten-Free Marzipan Cookies with Walnuts. Ingredients and directions to bake delicious and gluten free marzipan cookies.

Question #1: What is the difference between parchment paper and wax paper?

Answer: Wax paper is tissue paper coated with paraffin wax. It is great for wrapping deli meat and sandwiches.

Parchment paper is also tissue paper, but coated with non-stick silicon spray. It does not burn nor smoke, and is great for lining baking sheets (for ease of cleaning up).

Rolling out cookie dough between two sheets of either parchment or wax paper eliminates the need to use extra flour. This extra flour could make homemade cookies dry and tough.

Question #2: What are pros and cons of hand-held vs. standing mixer?

Answer: When using a hand-held mixer, you must be stationary until the job is done. Ingredients tend to spatter if the mixing bowl is too shallow.

A standing mixer allows you to do other chores while it mixes your dough or batter. It can also mix bread dough whereas a hand-held mixer can not. To avoid over-mixing, stop short of the finished stage, then manually knead the dough a few times or mix the batter a few strokes with a whip.

Over all, with the exception of bread dough, both hand-held and standing mixers can accomplish the same job equally well. A hand-held mixer, however, may take more time but is less expensive.

Question #3: Dough for my cut-out cookies tends to be very sticky even though I follow the recipe carefully. I don’t want to use lots of extra flour because it could change the texture of my cookies. How can I make a cookie dough that is not too sticky to roll out?

Answer: The trick is in the ratio of flour and butter. Usually, 1 part of butter and 1.5 part of flour by weight is recommended. In addition, the presence of a little cream cheese will also make the dough easy to roll out. Here is a good ratio for cut-out cookies.

Ingredients for dough Ingredients for glaze
12 ½ oz. all purpose flour 1 Tbsp cream cheese
8 oz. unsalted butter 2 Tbsp milk
5 ½ oz. superfine sugar 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp cream cheese

Question #4: Can I substitute confectioners’ sugar for superfine?

Answer: No, but you can make superfine sugar by grinding granulated sugar.

Until next time….. Keep on baking.

Published date: August 29, 2007

Copyright 2007 by Trinh Lieu. All right reserved.