"Stuff I Like" Sunday: The Secret to Soft Cookies
I like lots of stuff. And I'll bet you do, too. And maybe - just maybe - we might even like the same kind of stuff! (OMG, will you be my BFF?) So I'm introducing a brand new tradition here at the Frump:
"Stuff I Like" Sunday!*
*insert fanfare here
I know: I normally blog about my crazy kids and their antics, or my (weak) fight against looking like a hot mess. But there's nothing wrong with switching it up, and I figured that throwing in a nugget of wisdom or a valuable tip here and there could never hurt ... right? I may be clueless about
many, many some things, but I know what I like. And so every Sunday, until I forget from here on out, I'm going to share something I find super fabulously wonderfully fantastic. It's going to be like a random grab bag of awesomeness: could be a nothing-short-of-miraculous pair of maternity pants, could be the world's most kick-ass recipe for biscuits, but it'll always be something that rocks my socks - and, hopefully, yours too.
So what do I like today? Soft cookies. *drool*
-Keep your dough very cold! Cold dough spreads less in the oven, leading to a thicker cookie. (If you really want to make sure they don't spread much, rinse your cookie sheet with cold water between batches.)
-Use shortening instead of butter; it also spreads less. If you've gotta have that butter flavor (which I do!), either use butter-flavored shortening or a blend of half shortening/half butter. But use real butter - none of that froufrou margarine or "butter flavored spread" crap!
-Replace part of the white sugar with brown sugar, which has a higher moisture content.
-Replace a portion of your flour with a few tablespoons of cornstarch.
-Separate your eggs and use only the yolks - they hold moisture better. If your recipe calls for two eggs, for example, use three egg yolks instead. (Don't be wasteful, kids - give the whites to your dog for a shiny coat, or smear them all over your face as some sort of protein mask.)
-Make sure your baking soda and/or baking powder is fresh. I know, it seems like a no-brainer, but if you don't bake too often that stuff can sit there in your cabinet and get old.
-Underbake your cookies by a minute or two. They shouldn't look doughy in the middle, but don't wait until they're as brown as you'd like them before taking them out.
-Remove them from the hot cookie sheet ASAP; they'll continue to bake, possibly leading to overbaking, if you let them sit there until they cool.
-If you're unsure of your recipe, you can always bake a "test cookie" beforehand. Just bake one cookie: if it spreads too much, add a teeny bit of flour and chill the dough. If it's too dry, add a little bit of milk (about a teaspoon at a time) to the dough.
-To keep cookies soft, store them in an airtight container with a piece of bread or a slice of apple.
Any tips to add? I'd be happy to hear them! (And if you've got any feedback on the proposed "Stuff I Like" Sunday thing, it'd be great to hear that, too!)
Very excited post-script: You know how I've had really good luck with all my cookies EXCEPT the chocolate chip variety? (If you don't, you can read all about it here.) Well anyway - today's post made me hungry for cookies, so I thought I'd give chocolate chip a go ... again. And as usual, they turned out flat, dark and crispy on the edges and underbaked and clumpy in the middle. WTF?!?
Then it dawned on me: in my efforts to make them chewy, I may have made them too chewy - so much that they didn't stand up to baking. So I tossed in an additional 1/2-cup or so of flour ... and voila! Once again, Betty Crocker's in da houuuuuuse! Woot! Behold the difference: these two cookies are from the same batch. The (pitifully crappy) one on the left is from before I added the extra flour; the (picture-perfect, mouthwatering) specimen on the right is after.
So, long story short (too late, eh?): if you're trying out the soft-cookie tips with the chocolate chip variety, add a little extra flour. I don't have to do this with any other kind of cookie I've tried - ONLY chocolate chip.