Sunday, April 20, 2008

Low Down on Cookies

3 basic method of making cookies

1. creaming method:
butter, margarine or veg shorterning and sugar are beaten together with electric mixer (or wooden spoon) until light and fluffy, then add in egg and other dry ingredients.

2. rubbing-in method:
flour is slowly worked into the fat with a pastry cuter or food processor or simply your fingers before egg, liquid and dry ingredients are added. This method is slower and one has to be very light fingered or the dough will be tough.

3. melting method:
Butter and sugar, honey, golden syrup are melted over gentle heat and then mixed with the other ingredients such as egg, flour and raising agent.

Basic methods in shaping cookie:

Roll out cookie:

  • Dough is roll out thinly and cut with a knife or cookie cutter, hence needs firm dough.
  • Roll the softer dough between the greaseproof papers and chilled in the fridge until firm enough to handle. This method is easier than to roll out the dough on a floured surface as too much flour will make the cookie tough.
  • For intricate design, it is easier to straight away rollout the dough on the baking sheet, cut out the cookie, then remove the excess dough around the cut-outs, wrap the dough and refrigerate for 15min before baking. This helps to retain the shapes better.
  • Some recipe will spread alot when baked. One good way to avoid that is to freeze the cutted dough for 15min before sending it into the oven.

Shaped and hand-moulded cookie

  • dough is soft but heavier drop cookie dough.
  • It should not be too sticky otherwise it will be difficult to handle.
  • Damp or lightly dust the hand with flour before handling the dough.
  • Work as quickly and lightly as possible – too much pressure will make the cookie too compact and hard.

Drop cookies

  • usually made from soft and light mixture, with ingredients like nuts and raisins added.
  • Mixture is soft enough to drop by rounded spoonfuls onto lined baking sheet.

Pressed cookie

  • easy to make : the smooth, creamy mixture can be pipe thru either a cookie press or piping bag into many shapes.
  • It can be baked plain or topped with fruits and nuts.

Sliced or bar cookies

  • easiest to produce: baked into 1 piece and then cut into squares and bars.
  • Dough is poured or pressed into the baking sheet and spread with a topping if desired.

How the ingredients affect Cookies

  • High-protein flour, e.g. All-purpose flour. Makes cookies darker in color and flatter.
  • Low-protein flour, e.g. Cake flour. Making cookies pale, soft and puffy.


  • Fat with sharp melting point, like butter: Makes cookies spread.
  • Fat that maintains same consistency over a wide temperature range, such as solid vegetable shortening: Makes cookies that do not spread as much.

  • Corn syrup (or molasses): Makes cookies browner.
  • Brown sugar and honey: Makes cookies that soften the longer you keep them.

You want the cookies to spread more:

  • Use all butter OR
  • add 1 to 2 tablespoons liquid (water, milk or cream -- not egg) OR
  • use BLEACHED all-purpose (but not one that is chlorinated) OR
  • add 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar.

You want the cookies to spread less:

  • Use solid vegetable shortening or
  • substitute some solid vegetable shortening for an equal amount of butter OR
  • use cake flour OR
  • cut the sugar by a few tablespoons OR
  • switch from baking soda to baking powder OR
  • chill the dough before baking it.

You want the cookies to have a chewy quality:

  • Melt the butter instead of simply using it at room temperature.

You want the cookies to have a cakey quality:

  • Use the butter at room temperature or use equal parts butter and solid vegetable shortening.

You want the cookies to be more tender:

  • Use cake flour OR add a few tablespoons of sugar OR
  • add a few tablespoons of fat.

The cookies are too tender and you want them to be more substantial:

  • Substitute a few tablespoons of bread flour for an equal amount of all-purpose flour OR
  • cut the sugar by a few tablespoons OR
  • cut the fat by a few tablespoons

You want the cookies to brown better:

  • Substitute 1 to 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup for an equal amount of sugar OR
  • substitute a few tablespoons of unbleached or bread flour for equal amounts of the all-purpose flour.

The cookies are browning too much, despite the correct oven temperature:

  • Substitute water for for an equal amount of liquid ingredients OR
  • use cake flour or bleached all-purpose flour

Source: baking911, Betty Saw "Cookie Galore"

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