The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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How the Cookies Crumble... Cookie Magic: How to Easily Change Cookie Texture

By Vicki McClure Davidson

 

Cookies are loved by everyone—they're a quick, on-the-go, satisfying treat no matter the season.

Homemade cookies are usually more frugal to make (especially if you have a bunch of cookie-loving kids in your home) instead of buying them from the store, and they have no preservatives. But, as you thumb through cookbooks, it can be mystifying which cookie will satisfy the palates of your family.

Once you get past choosing the basic flavor of cookie to make, which cookie texture is the best for your needs? Do you prefer chewy cookies or those that are more cake- or brownie-like? Or perhaps a fine or a coarse texture is favored? Or, would a thinner cookie be preferred?

Cookie Texture, Your Way

Once you've chosen your cookie recipe, it is easy to achieve the texture you like best. By adjusting one or two key ingredients in a recipe, you can subtly change the texture of any cookie recipe to one of your liking.

By changing a key ingredient in a cookie recipe or altering the baking time, you can easily (and cheaply) customize the texture of your homemade cookies. | Photo credit: MS Clips

By changing a key ingredient in a cookie recipe or altering the baking time, you can easily (and cheaply) customize the texture of your homemade cookies. 

 

Personalize Your Drop Cookies' Texture

There's no consensus on the perfect drop cookie. But you can make the texture exactly to your liking.

To make chewy drop cookies, underbake them slightly so that they're still quite soft and not yet browned, making sure they no longer look wet in the center. For crisper drop cookies, bake them a bit longer, letting the cookies become lightly browned all over.

From the Good Housekeeping website, here is a video with more tips on baking perfect cookies every time:


 

Additional Cookie Tips:

Don't use "reduced fat" or whipped butter products when you bake cookies. They can contain up to 58 percent water. As such, they will turn out much drier and less tender. Good cookie sheets are invaluable for the finished cookie product.

Are your cookies a bit crispier than you'd like? Pop them into a plastic bag or plastic container, along with a few apple slices or a slice of bread wrapped in a paper towel. They should soften within 24 hours. Five seconds in a microwave can also work wonders with hardened cookies.

Heavy-gauge metal cookie sheets are best because they hold heat evenly and won't warp as quickly as lighter-gauged sheets will. Your cookie sheet should have low sides; high sides will interfere with the even flow of heat wafting over the cookies. Non-stick cookie sheets are adequate, but be aware that dark surfaces cause the bottoms of cookies to brown quickly—oftentimes, too quickly. Double-insulated cookie sheets are better because they will help keep cookie bottoms from browning too fast.

For those who want to bake a batch of supremely good sugar cookies, here's a professional tip from chef Gina De Palma that she shared in a December 2008 interview with Ed Levine posted on Yahoo! Food Suite:

"A key step in making sugar cookies is the creaming of butter and sugar. If the butter is too soft, your cookies will be greasy, and if it is too cold, they'll seem like lead weights. It is important to start with evenly softened butter, and the only way to do this properly is to take it out of the refrigerator and, uh, wait. Always soften butter in a temperate environment until it yields gently to pressure; if you want to hasten the process a bit, cut the butter into even sized pieces and spread them out. This is not the time to attempt any wacky moves in the microwave or on the stovetop."

 

 

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Sources:
Cook's Illustrated website; (http://www.cooksillustrated.com).
Levine, Ed, 5 Secrets for Perfect Sugar Cookies, Ed Levine Eats: Yahoo! Food Suite website, (http://food.yahoo.com/blog/edlevineeats/22150/5-secrets-for-perfect-sugar-cookies/), December 8, 2008.
Razzle Dazzle Recipes website, (http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/christmasfun/cookie_101.htm).