Hello Cookie Lovers!

Homemade cookies represent traditional, simple goodness that comforts us during life’s hardships and rewards us for successful deeds. The availability of “better-for-you” ingredients such as good fats, fibers, gluten-free flours makes them not only the perfect snack but also an on-the-go meal.

With some creativity, we can turn many homemade bar and drop cookies into delicious and healthy breakfast choices. Their unusual flexibility easily incorporates many dried fruits, nuts, whole grains, wheat-free products.

Contrary to common belief, exceptional taste and texture are not trade-off for a healthy version of homemade cookies. All it requires is that we, the home-bakers, are aware of these general rules:

  1. The higher the ratio of shortening and sugar to dry ingredients, the crispier our cookies are. Shortening refers to butter, margarine, oil, even egg yolk. Conversely, our homemade cookies will be soft and chewier.

  2. Choosing a recipe that calls for many eggs will give us cakey cookies.

To illustrate, let us look at the following two recipes for banana cookies.

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
Vegetable shortening ¾ c. 0 c. 25% 0%
Brown sugar 1 c. 0 c. 33% 0%
Granulated sugar 0 c. 1 c. 0% 50%
Egg white 2 oz 0 oz —% 0%
Mashed bananas 1 c. ½ c. 33% 25%
All purpose flour white 2 c. 2 c. 66% 100%
Cornmeal 1 c. 0 c. 34% 0%
Butter 0 c. ½ c. 0% 25%
Margarine 0 c. ½ c. 0% 25%

Obviously, homemade cookies from R2 are crispier than those from R1. The ratio of shortening and sugar to dry ingredients in R2 is 1, whereas that ratio in R1 is 0.58. R1 calls for more mash bananas and 1 large egg which contribute to the soft and cakey texture.

These two recipes are in “The Fannie Farmer Baking Book”, 1996 edition written by Marion Cunningham and published by Wings Books, a division of Random House Value Publishing, Inc., Avenel, New Jersey.

Cookie Tips

  1. Using a cool baking sheet helps prevent cookie dough from starting to spread before being in a hot oven. For subsequent rounds of baking, I turn my hot baking sheet over and run cold water over it. Being metal, the baking sheet becomes cool quickly while its baking surface remains dry.

  2. When my cookie dough is too cold or has too much flour, it cracks every time I try to roll it out. To make the dough more pliable, I simply let it warm up at room temperature before rolling. I may also add a tiny bit of liquid as the last resource.

Solutions for many other cookie baking problems are available on the Web site. Happy baking!

All the best as always,

Published date: April 13, 2009

Copyright 2009 by Trinh Lieu. All right reserved