How to get the right cookie texture-Soft Cookies and Crunchy Cookies

Do you like your cookies crispy or fluffy, like a cake? Well, to get the type of cookies you want, you first need to know the purpose of the ingredients used to get your cookies to be crisp and crunchy 😉

The trick to a thin crispy cookie is using ingredients that allow the cookie to “spread” during baking. The following ingredient make sure your cookies come out crispy and delicious every time.

Flour: All-purpose flour, which has a higher protein content than some other flours, creates a darker brown, crispy cookie

Fat: Butter, which has a low melting temperature, allows a cookie to spread much more during backing than other solid fats, such as shorting. Butter also contains protein, which aids in browning and crisping.

Sugar: Using white sugar or corn syrup in a cookie produces a crisp end product. Corn syrup also browns more readily than some other sugars.

Egg: Recipes without egg will yield a flatter, crisper cookie with more spread. Eggs provide moisture for steam which leavens the cooking and the protein in egg provides body and structure to maintain that loft. Cookies without eggs will be flatter, thinner, and crisper than their egg containing counterparts.

If you like your cookies more cake-like texture, be sure to choose these ingredients. Oatmeal cookies are often enjoyed for their fluffy, soft texture and these ingredients are used to create that texture. Using the following ingredients will help produce soft, fluffy cookies!

Flour: Cake flour, which has a lower protein content and is more acidic than all-purpose flour, browns less easily and creates more steam for a leavening.

Fat: Shortening, which has a high melting point, stays solid longer during the baking process and therefore prevents the cookie from spreading. A cookie that spreads less during baking will be thicker, softer, and chewier.

Sugar: Using brown sugar retains moisture during baking creating a softer, moister end product. When used with egg, the acidic pH of the sugar will help denature (solidify) the egg faster and prevent spreading.

Egg: Including egg in a cookie recipe provides moisture for steam and structure for thickness. An increased amount of steam helps leaven the cookie and create a soft, moist end product. Eggs solidify when baked which provides structure and prevents the cookie from deflating or becoming flat after cooling.

Major “Players” in Cookies

Fats play a major role in the spread of a cookie–whether a cookie keeps its shape or flattens in the oven. In general, more fat equals flat, crispy cookies while less fat equals puffier, cake-like cookies. Cookies are made primarily with butter, margarine or shortening. Whipped spreads are not suitable for baking.

Shortening and margarine are stable, and will help cookies keep their original unbaked shapes. Butter melts at body temperature–a much lower temperature than other solid fats–resulting in a “melt-in-your-mouth” burst of flavor.

Cookies made with butter tend to spread out. Butter is essential in certain cookies, such as shortbreads; if they don’t hold their shape, consider lowering the amount of butter, sugar, or baking soda in the recipe.

Most cookie recipes call for all-purpose or pastry flour. Both bread flour, with its high protein content, and cake flour, which is high in starch, produce cookies that tend to spread less. (The gluten in the bread flour and the absorbent starch in cake flour are responsible for the similar results.) Higher flour-to-liquid ratios are needed in shortbread and crumbly-textured cookies.

Baking powder and baking soda are the two most common leaveners in cookies. Baking soda is simply bicarbonate of soda, while baking powder is a combination of bicarbonate of soda plus cream of tartar, an acidic ingredient. Baking soda neutralizes the acidity of the dough, allowing the cookies to brown in the oven. Since baking powder already contains its own acid, it will not reduce the acidity in the dough, and the resulting cookies will be puffier and lighter in colour.

Like fats, sugars liquefy in the oven. The type and amount of sugar used play a big role in cookie performance. White sugar makes a crisper cookie than brown sugar or honey. Cookies made from brown sugar will absorb moisture after baking, helping to ensure that they stay chewy. Most chocolate chip cookie recipes contain both brown and white sugars. If you lower the amount of sugar called for in a cookie recipe, the final baked cookie will be puffier than its high-sugar counterpart.

Eggs are a binding agent. Liquids can either cause cookies to puff up or spread. If egg is the liquid, it will create a puffy, cake-like texture. Just a tablespoon or two of water or other liquid will help your cookies spread into flatter and crisper rounds. Egg yolks bind the dough and add richness but allow a crisp texture after baking, whereas egg whites tend to make cookies dry and cakey. To make up for the drying effect of the egg whites, extra sugar is often added. This is why cookies made with just egg whites tend to be so sweet–think of macaroons.


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