Posts Tagged "Baking Tips"

The Role of Eggs in Baking Cookies

Posted on Jan 6, 2014 in Baking Tips | 15 comments

The Role of Eggs in Baking Cookies

Eggs are so wonderful and they do so much for cookies in baking.  As the egg cooks, it holds your cookies together giving them their structure and shape. That’s why you can have some cookie batters that can be super runny and liquidy but if they contain extra eggs they will just puff up when the cookies bake instead of spreading out. The egg keeps it all held together.

role of eggs in bakng

And egg yolks.  Oh so delicious egg yolks! These guys are essential in chewy rich cookies.  The fat in egg yolks tenderizes the dough by shortening the gluten strands, gives your cookies a richer flavor and will also help make cookies chewier. Because egg yolk is a natural emulsifier it makes your cookie batters smooth with a creamy texture.  This is why it’s typically recommended to add the eggs in one at a time.  When you are emulsifying the eggs into the butter you want to make sure the eggs are emulsifying with the butter and not  just other eggs.

role of eggs in baking

Read More

What is Dutch Processed Cocoa

Posted on Nov 27, 2013 in Baking Tips | 3 comments

What is Dutch Processed Cocoa

What is Dutch Processed Cocoa? I actually get this question a lot. Especially this time of year, what’s Christmas without Peppermint Chocolate Cookies!!??  I’ve totally been there.   You’re following a recipe just as it states (good baker 🙂 ) and then it says you need dutch processed cocoa and you think “I have Hershey’s cocoa”….that’s the same right? Well, not really. Dutch Processed Cocoa is actually quite different than the most common found Natural Unsweetend Cocoa Powder creating different results in your finished cookie.

Read More

How to Soften Butter Quickly

Posted on Oct 24, 2013 in Baking Tips | 0 comments

How to Soften Butter Quickly

Baking cookies for me is often pretty spontaneous.  All of my days are super packed between working, blogging, baking and commitments my I can’t say “no” syndrome has me doing….I have gotten much better… Trust me.  If I ever get an hour of open time with little to do, I always feel like baking cookies.  I know I should get checked out for it.  My husband loves to sit and do nothing to relax and I like to bake…what’s the difference? We are both doing things we like right? But the worst is when I get the sudden urge to bake and if I didn’t prepare for it earlier, I have to wait hours for butter to soften.  Softened butter is a must for most of my cookie recipes, unless it is a specific recipe that calls for melted butter in which you can just place the butter in the microwave and presto it’s ready.  Softened butter is used in the creaming method in which the butter is creamed with the sugars to create little air bubbles that makes the batter softer in consistency and larger in volume.

So what do you do if you need to soften butter quickly?  Here are my 3 favorite ways.

1.) Grating the butter through a cheese grater.  Take the hard butter sticks through a grater.  Be careful not to grate too small and grate your hands.  The last piece will be softened from the heat of your hands so there will be no need to grate it. If you don’t have a cheese grater, you can also dice the butter into small chunks. Let it sit for a couple minutes depending on how hard your butter was to begin with.

How to Soften Butter Quickly

2.) Pound the butter with a rolling pin.  Put the butter into a ziplock bag or on a piece of plastic wrap and go to town! Let it sit for a couple minutes and the butter will be softened way quicker than left as a stick.

How to Soften Butter

3.) Beat it.  You can add the butter by itself into an electric mixer and beat it before you add the sugars.  You will probably want to cut it up into smaller pieces before placing it in the mixer.  Beat on medium to soften.

You can try other methods such as a double boiler, microwave or in the oven but just be careful not to melt the butter as this will change the consistency of a cookie recipe that calls for softened butter. The microwave is super deceiving too because it will still look solid on the outside even if it’s melted on the inside.  I typically never recommend the microwave for softening butter.

 

 

Read More

The Secret to Great Snickerdoodles

Posted on Oct 1, 2013 in Baking Tips, Cookies, Drop Cookies | 15 comments

The Secret to Great Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are definitely a classic and simple cookie but one that took me at least a few… okay many attempts to master. Some may say it is a simple sugar cookie but they are so wrong.  Snickerdoodles are buttery & soft, crispy & crinkly on the outside but deliciously chewy on the inside.  And to get that signature Snickerdoodle taste made with Cream of Tartar.

For the longest time, whenever I saw a recipe with Cream of Tartar, I’d always think to myself, is that really necessary?  Sometimes substitutes are perfectly acceptable, however in this case I think not.  Cream of tartar is used for many different reasons, most commonly in meringues to stabilize egg whites. It’s acids help strengthen the proteins in the egg whites allowing them to trap more air as they are beaten and we all know the trick to mile high meringue is air.  However in the case of the Snickerdoodle, it is combined with baking soda to aid in leavening and provide the classic Snickerdoodle tang.  If you don’t have it on hand, I’ve heard you can substitute 2 teaspoons of baking powder but I’ve never tried it and it wouldn’t be a true Snickerdoodle, now would it?

So what’s the secret to great Snickerdoodles? Here’s what I think.  1.) Softened butter 2.) Cream of Tartar 3.) Chilled Dough 4.) Slightly Underbaking

Perfect Snickerdoodles

1.) Softened butter is necessary to get good creaming action out of the butter and the sugar. Cold butter is good for flaky pastries but not cookies. The creaming process incorporates air bubbles into the mixture giving the cookie it’s soft interior. When creaming this cookie, cream until it is light and fluffy.  About 3-4 minutes.

2.) Like we mentioned before cream of tartar gives the Snickerdoodle its signature tang.  It also aids in lightening up the dough so you don’t have a super dense cookie.

3.) Chilling the dough for at least an hour before baking.  Most of the time I actually let it chill covered in the fridge overnight. This topic has been heavily debated in the baking world and by all means if you can’t chill your cookie dough because self control is definitely a virtue then bake the cookies as soon as you can! However, I have found that whenever I chill my cookie dough at least overnight before baking, the dough is easier to handle and the cookies are browner in color, with a more chewy soft texture and have a much deeper caramelized buttery flavor.  And we all know I LOVE chewy cookies.  Chilling the dough also helps cut down on the spreading so your Snickerdoodles don’t end up thin and crispy. Crispy cookies are only good for dunking in milk and so I’d rather have an Oreo. 🙂

Soft & Chewy Snickerdoodles

4.) Slightly under-baking cookies is my little trick to making sure they are chewy every time.  A couple minutes in the oven in the world of cookies can be the difference between soft & gooey cookies and hard, crunchy and dry cookies.   Bake these babies until you see the edges start to turn a light golden brown and firm up, the center will still look soft and not quite done, that means they are ready to come out.  Once out of the oven they will continue to bake.  If they look done in the oven then they are overdone.

Now we are all ready to bake some delish Snickerdoodles!

Chewy & Soft Snickerdoodles

The secret to perfect soft & chewy snickerdoodles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon (Reserve for Cinnamon Topping **Just remember the 1:3 Ratio for any cinnamon topping)
  • 3 tablespoons Sugar (Reserve for Cinnamon Topping **Just remember the 1:3 Ratio for any cinnamon topping)

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream softened butter and sugar in a mixer until it becomes light & fluffy. Approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time making sure they are incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
Step 2
Sift the flour, salt, baking soda & cream of tartar in a separate bowl. Add it to the wet ingredients slowly in increments until combined.

Cover and chill the dough for at least an hour.
Step 3
While the dough is chilling, in a small bowl combine the cinnamon sugar for the topping. After the dough has chilled roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. The dough will be tough to scoop out at first but the warmth from your hands will soften it very quickly.
Step 4
Place them 2 inches apart on a silver or light colored baking sheet with parchment. And bake for 10-11 minutes until you see the edges of the cookies turn a light golden brown color and firm up.

If you roll out dough that is waiting to be baked, chill the cookie balls on the baking sheet in the fridge.

Let cool completely before moving or eating. Enjoy!
Read More
Facebook IconTwitter IconFollow our Pinterest BoardsFollow our Pinterest BoardsFollow our Pinterest Boards