Hello Cookie Lovers,

How are you? Happy Holidays!

This last issue of Smart Cookies in 2011 brings you the followings:

  1. Recipe Comparison – Chocolate Chip Cookies vs. Moist, Light Brownies
  2. Cookie Question
  3. An Unsolved Mystery of Cookie Dough
  4. Top 5 Criteria of Christmas Cookies
  5. Butter or Margarine for Homemade Cookies?

Recipe Comparison

This segment is usually to give you a general idea of possible taste and texture cookies might have before you actually bake them. This time, the comparison is an adventure outside the normal box, a backward exercise if you will.

We all know how a brownie tastes like, and how its texture different from that of chocolate chip cookies. Let’s compare these two recipes to either challenge or confirm what we already know.

R1 – Chocolate chip cookies
R2 – Light, moist brownies

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 1/3 c 1/2 c 100% 100%
Unsalted butter 1/2 c 1/2 c 150% 100%
Granulated sugar 1/2 c 1 c 150% 200%
Beaten Eggs 2 large 3 large 150% 150%
Beaten Semisweet chocolate chips 6 oz 0 0%
Beaten Unsweetened chocolate 0 2 oz 0%

These chocolate chip cookies are just like miniature versions of light, moist brownies. They may even be richer than the brownies due to a higher butter percentage. The brownies may be a tag sweeter, but that is offset by the added unsweetened instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

These chocolate cookies have very similar texture to that of light, moist brownies. Whether chocolate chip cookies or light, moist brownies, they are both delicious.


Cookie Question

Unlike cooking, success in baking relies heavily on accuracy: accurate measurement, accurate preparation. However, there is one step that a baker’s judgment can override what the recipe suggests. What is it and why?


An Unsolved Mystery of Cookie Dough

Back in 2009, there was an E. Coli outbreak in the United States that health officials attributed to the consumption of raw Nestle Toll House cookie dough. Although they have never officially named a culprit for the contamination, they did establish that wheat flour might have been the prime suspect.

How did officials arrive at this surprising conclusion? Well, through the process of simple elimination, of course!

The first thing that has come to my mind was eggs. As it turned out, however, eggs were the unlikely suspect because they were pasteurized and there was nothing wrong with the pasteurization process. Except for flour, other ingredients such as sugar, sweeteners, butter, baking powder, chocolate chips, etc. were also subjected to certain pathogen-elimination process before being added to the dough.

Wheat flour, on the other hand, can easily foster low levels of Salmonella contamination as a recently released study indicated.

For your own safety this holiday season, bake cookies at home but resist the urge of eating the cookie dough or any kind of dough for that matter.


Top 5 Criteria of Christmas Cookies

The big five American Christmas cookies should be eggnog thumbprints, gingerbread, molasses, snickerdoodles, and butter cookies. You may certainly have your own idea of what can be Christmas cookies in your home. Nevertheless, Christmas cookies should have at least one of the following criteria:

    5. Your mother, grand-mother, great-grandmother, great great grandmother bake or used to bake them every Christmas.

    4. Your other relatives, I mean husbands, wives, children, nieces, nephews, etc., voluntarily want to be involved in the baking.

    3. They show off holiday colors such as red, green, white…

    2. You may have to hide them to be sure that they are not all gone before Christmas Eve.

    1. They take no more than 5 ingredients to make.

Drop me a line if you can think of other criteria for your Christmas cookies. All contributions are welcome.


Butter or Margarine for Homemade Cookies?

To ensure the best results and a wonderful flavor, no other fat can do the job better than butter. However, stick margarine can yield satisfactory results if they have between 60 to 80 percent vegetable oil. Diet, liquid, whipped, soft spreads/margarines are absolutely not for baking. They tend to have a very high water content that makes cookie dough excessively wet and baked cookies very tough.

If you decide to use stick margarine, be sure to chill dough longer than directed in the recipes. Cookie dough made with stick margarine tends to be softer than dough made with butter.

Whether you use butter or stick margarine, you as the cookie baker have the final saying when it comes to baking times. Baking times per recipes are only estimate, and vary depending on the baker’s oven and thickness of the cookies.

I hope that you have gotten the answer to the cookie question.🙂

Have a great Holiday Season!

Until next year ……Be safe, happy, healthy and keep on baking.


Published date: December 15th, 2011

Copyright 2011 by Trinh Lieu. All right reserved.