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Lori Horton
Lori Horton is the owner of Celebrations by Lori in Pittsburg, Ks. With over 15 years experience in the bakery business, Lori opened Celebrations in 2000. She is always out front with the most unique ideas in cake and cookie decorating for all occasions. Celebrations is also on top of the industries' latest trends and products with the area's largest selection of baking and cake decorating supplies. Open Monday - Saturday, Celebrations can be reached at 620-231-5700 or at www.celebrationsbylori.com
Candy, Chocolate & Sweets
2011-04-01 10:42:00
The perfect chocolate chip cookie - part 1
Answer: Why are chocolate chip cookies soft and chewy one time, then thin and crisp another? Cookie perfection is really a matter of individual preference. And no cookie is judged more closely and more frequently than the chocolate chip. The real question is how to make the cookie turn out the way you want, every time. While there are thousands of chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, they all use the same basic ingredients and subtle changes can produce surprising differences. High moisture content is what makes cookies soft and chewy. In the recipe at the end of this article, you’ll find you are binding the liquid with flour to slow down its evaporation. The dough has a little extra flour, which makes it stiffer and stiff dough spreads less, less liquid evaporates and therefore the cookies are thicker. Mass also helps a cookie stay moist, so be sure to use big dollops of dough to bake a softer, chewier cookie. You’ll bake these thick cookies for a shorter time at a high temperature to firm them quickly and minimize spreading. Most important is to not over bake the cookies - remove them from the oven when the cookie edges are brown and at least 1/3 of the center top is still pale. This will make certain the centers stay nice and soft. If you like your cookie to be more “cake like” instead of chewy, a little extra liquid from either the water, eggs, or milk will make the dough more elastic and add steam as the cookies bake making them more puffy. It will take a little experimentation to find the exact amount you like for the texture you love. If a thinner, crisp cookie is your favorite, you will basically do just the opposite of my suggestions for a chewy cookie. Reducing the amount of ingredients that hold moisture makes it easy for liquid to evaporate, producing crisp cookies. The fat, which goes up proportionately when other ingredients are cut back, gets hotter than the water in the dough and drives out the moisture. Fat also makes the dough softer and melts when hot, making the cookies spread. For crispness, bake cookies longer at a lower temperature to give them more time to spread before they firm. Then bake long enough to dry and brown them evenly to develop the maximum flavor and crisp texture throughout. Remember that being thin and crisp doesn’t mean they are burnt, so pull them out when they are evenly golden brown, not too dark. If you’re of the school that thinks chocolate chip cookies should be soft and chewy, you’ll love this recipe. If not, these cookies just might change your mind. Total: 40 minutes Yield: Makes about 28 cookies Ingredients 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, at room temperature 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 oz.) 1 cup chopped pecans (optional) Preparation: 1. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. 2. In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir or beat into butter mixture until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans, if using. 3. Drop dough in 2-tablespoon (1/8-cup) portions, 2 inches apart, onto buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets. 4. Bake in a 400° oven until cookies are lightly browned and no longer wet in the center (break one open to check), 6 to 8 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking. 5. With a wide spatula, transfer cookies to racks to cool. If hot cookies start to break, slide a thin spatula under them to release; let stand on pan to firm up, 2 to 5 minutes, and then transfer to racks to cool completely. *Original recipes from www.sunset.com, tried and enjoyed by the Horton family. More next month.
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