Hello Again,

Hope that you are well.

Spring is here at last. As I get older, I tend to stay home more often in the winter. The more I am home, the more I bake. I did a lot of baking this winter, as you can tell by the new recipes that I posted recently.

Bratseli Cocoa Shortbread Frappe
Yam Crackers Whipped Shortbread Love Knots

What do you think of a Global Cookies Day?

You may have also noticed that Cookies-in-Motion.com has an updated look. Do drop me a line or two to let me know what you like or don’t about it. From now on, I will also add a section at the end of each page, whenever appropriate, for your comments.

In this issue of Smart Cookies, you find:

Recipe Comparison – Whipped Shortbread vs. Snickerdoodles

Answers to Cookie Questions

  1. What’s the reason for sifting dry ingredients?
  2. Both baking soda and baking powder are leaveners. Why do recipes call for them both?

Recipe Comparison

As mentioned in the last issue of Smart Cookies, the ideal proportion of essential ingredients in cookies is 1 part sweetener, 2 parts fat, and 3 parts flour. I find that most shortbread recipes come closest to this proportion.

In the presence of other add-ins and flavorings, a home-baker has to change this proportion accordingly to yield the intended texture. Let’s look at the proportions in whipped shortbread recipe and snickerdoodle recipe.

Whipped Shortbread

Sugar ½ cup (1 part) 33%
Butter 1 cup (2 parts) 67%
Flour 1½ cups (3 parts) 100%


Sugar ¾ cup (1 part) 37.5%
Butter ½ cup (2/3 part) 25%
Flour 2 cups (2 2/3 parts) 100%

We all know that gluten develops when flour is mixed with a liquid such as water for some time. That’s the beginning of bread making. Gluten contributes to chewiness. When we introduce fat, like butter, to this flour and water mixture, we intend for it to shorten gluten strands. The more fat we add, the crumblier the texture of the end products. Hence, there’s the name “shortbread.”

Needless to say, whipped shortbread has a crumbly texture and snickerdoodles are cake-like.

Answers to Cookie Questions

  1. Reasons for sifting dry ingredients are:
    • Even distribution of all ingredients
    • Removal of impurities
    • Proper aeration

  2. When cookie recipes call for both baking soda and baking powder, they should also have at least an acidic ingredient such as cocoa powder, yogurt, banana, etc. In such cases, baking soda, which is an alkaline, neutralizes or minimizes the effect of the acidic ingredient. Baking powder, on the other hand, is for leavening purpose.
    There are, however, cookie recipes that do not follow this theory as a visitor has eloquently stated in this wonderful thought.

Until next time ……..Keep on baking!

Published date: April 15, 2011

Copyright 2011 by Trinh Lieu. All right reserved