Did you know the Chow Public Market and Eatery will have cookie (I mean cooking) lessons? You do know. We will be sending out a Groupon and a sign up in the future. We just want you to be ready when that comes.
So lets talk about cookies….
No matter how you like your cookies. Soft and chewy, thin and crisp, oozing with melted chocolate or thick and cakey, the perfect cookie is there it is just making sure you find the right place to buy your cookies or the best way to make your own cookies.
I often found myself coming maddeningly close to the perfect cookie, but I’m never quite there… mostly because I change my mind on what I want and usually just default to the Subway cookie. But there is so much more I want out of a cookie than that. After scoffing down my “nice, but not quite” batch of cookies, I had spent hours trying to figure out what to change the next time around.
But I did figure out what the perfect cookie was, at least for me… And for anyone else that ate one. And that cookie is going to be a staple at the Chow Public Market and Eatery. A cookie you will only find in Boise.
Was it the sugar – too much, too little? Was it that I I folded in the flour as opposed to using a mixer? Was it chilling the dough helped? I will never tell you. But you can buy one… I will tell you, however, how to make your cookies better.
The list of possible alterations is endless, and I long ago decided that the perfect cookie was hard to come by.
Thankfully chef and cookbook author Tessa Arias wasn’t quick to throw in the towel to find the perfect cookie either.
On her website, Handle the Heat, Arias helps her readers understand the anatomy of the chocolate chip cookie in order to the make the perfect batch every time.
The first step towards the perfect cookie, she says, is all about knowing how to use and manipulate the ingredients to suit your preferences.TO MAKE…
Substitute bread flour for plain flour, then chill the cookie dough mix for 36-48 hours prior. Giving the flour more time to absorb the liquid will make the dough firmer, as well as giving you a more developed flavour. Coarse brown sugar will increase the moisture content, giving you thicker, chewier cookies. An egg yolk added to the dough mix will also increase chewiness levels.
If you like soft cookies, Arias recommends using what the Americans call “shortening”, or vegetable fat. Shortening has less water than butter which means it melts differently; cookies made with shortening are much softer than those made with butter. Caramelized white sugar will also give you soft cookies. Cookies made with cake flour will end up extremely soft, due to the low protein content in cake flour.
Baking powder makes for “cake-y” and smooth cookies, whereas bicarbonate of soda will give you coarse ones. Using a liquid sweetener instead of sugar will also help create a more spongey texture.
Freeze or chill the batter for 30 to 60 minutes before baking. This solidifies the butter, so the cookies will spread less while baking. When placing on the tray, scoop big mounds instead of rolling into balls: this will also stop the mixture from thinning as it spreads.
Thin and Crisp Cookies
If you melt your butter before using, cookies will spread more and become flat with crisp edges. Using slightly less flour than usual and adding a splash of milk to the dough will help, while white sugar will also give you thin and crisp cookies as it releases more moisture than brown. If you like your thin cookies to be slightly crunchy, add an egg white to the mix.
For cookies that that are oozy, add more flour than usual.
Diet Friendly Cookies
Using coconut oil instead of butter and wholewheat flour instead of plain will let you enjoy perfect cookies even whilst on a diet.
Tessa Arias’s ‘Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie’ Recipe from Handle the Heat
About 24 large cookies
24 hours 25 minutes
200g (7 oz) plain flour
150g (5.6 oz) bread flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
226g (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g granulated sugar
250g packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
300g milk chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4 . Line baking sheets with baking paper.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and creamy (about 2 minutes, if using an electric mixer). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least 24 hours but no more than 72 hours.
Let dough sit at room temperature just until it is soft enough to handle. Divide the dough into balls about the size of three tablespoons and place onto the baking sheets.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. It is best to cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.