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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
2011-05-01 11:25:00
The perfect chocolate chip cookie - part 2 (for the first article in this series please refer to the April. ‘11 issue)
Answer: Why do soft cookies get hard, and crisp cookies get soft? Here are some common mistakes and simple solutions. If your cookies seem to spread a lot during cooking, the most common culprit is using margarine or low-fat butter in place of real butter. These have about 20% more water and it’s the extra water that causing the problem. Low-fat or artificial product generally can’t be used interchangeably with regular fats for baking without some recipe adjustments. Bottom line, you can’t beat real butter in any cookie recipe, it really does make a difference. Also, be sure you start with soft butter. If the recipe calls for room-temperature butter, it should be soft but not runny. You can soften it for a few seconds in a microwave oven or let it stand in a warm place, such as near the preheating oven. Maybe most important in any recipe you must measure the dry ingredients accurately. Instead of scooping the measuring cup through the flour, gently spoon the flour into the cup, without shaking or packing the flour down. Then level off the top of the cup with a metal spatula or knife. Brown sugar is the exception to this rule; pack it firmly into the cup with your fingers until it is even with the rim. Liquid ingredients, however, should be measured in a glass or plastic cup and checked at eye-level to ensure accuracy. Most recipes assume large eggs should be used, if you use medium or extra large eggs, your liquid ratio with be short or long and change how your cookies turn out. Unless otherwise specified in your recipe, always use a mixer. Beat the butter and sugar at a high speed (use the paddle attachment on a stand style mixer) to blend into a light, creamy mixture. Then beat in the eggs and/or other liquid ingredients until the mixture is smooth and completely blended, then lower the speed or switch to a sturdy wooden spoon to incorporate the flour. The last problem could be reusing your baking sheets too quickly out of the oven. When you drop high-fat dough onto a still hot cookie sheet, the heat begins to melt the dough and cookie before they’re baked enough to hold their shape. Always allow time between uses for the sheets to cool completely. Don’t panic if you have a bad batch of cookies, it happens to the best of us now and again. Just be sure you are consistent with your methods and you’ll be the best baker you can be! If you like your chocolate chip cookies thin and crispy, try this variation. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Total: 35 minutes Yield: Makes about 32 cookies Ingredients 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz.) 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional) Preparation: 1. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until well blended. Beat in 3 tablespoons water and the 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 1-tablespoon portions, 2 inches apart, onto buttered 12X15-inch baking sheets. 4. Bake in a 300° oven until cookies are lightly browned, 18 to 20 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, then transfer to racks to cool completely. *Original recipes from www.sunset.com, tried and enjoyed by the Horton family.
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