Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tips and Tricks from School - Cookies

We were all full force in the school kitchen making many types of cookies 4 days in a row and by end of the cookies module (today), we are all falling sick as we did too many cookie tasting.  Many of us are either having sore throat or ulcers, now we all get so phobia of cookies  :<
I baked Chinese Cookies every year and to me, making cookie is not difficult at all, kids can bake well too.  I feel this module can be shorten to 2 days or max 3 days since most of the cookies use the creaming method.
Though it was repetitive, I did pick up some of tips and key points here.
  • The final texture of the cookie and the amount of the spreads while baking is determined by how thorough you cream the butter and sugar.  For more spread, more creaming is recommended.
  • For high fat ratio cookie, too much creaming will create more crumbly product.
  • Cannot overmix the egg mixture after flour is added else it will develop strong gluten and cause cookie harden.  Same for nuts, chocolates and fruits, etc - don't overmix.
  • For high fat and low moisture cookie, it has lesser risk of gluten development.
  • Standard portioning of dough is key to ensure an uniform baking and size.
  • For piped cookies, egg plays an important role in strengthening and helping to retain the shape.  It's not advisable to use too much fat or too weak flour as the cookie will overspread and become flat.  
  • Always rest the dough for 30 mins or more (min 20 mins) after mixing to cool down butter and prevent shrinkage. 
  • To achieve crispy texture, the dough has to be in high fat, sugar and low moisture ratio.  The dough should be portioned before baking to dry out thoroughly.  Use low temperature for longer period will make cookies drier and crisper.  Stronger flour will create firm and crisp cookies.
  • To achieve soft & chewy texture, the dough has to be in higher moisture content and lower ratio of fat and sugar.  Eggs and brown sugar will create chewiness in cookies but honey will make cookie soft.  Higher temperature will lead to chewier texture too.
  • To achieve better spread, additional baking soda or baking powder will help but corn flour and powdered sugar will have adverse effect.  Cake flour/ low protein flour,  over-creaming the batter  and baking in low temperature will increase the spread as well.
  • Below table provides  a snapshot of the factors contributing to the cookie texture:

The right way to do creaming:

  • Cream the fat and sugar on medium-high to smooth and pale in colour.  
  • Always scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed.
  • Eggs should be added gradually with medium low or low speed.
  • If additional liquid is called for, add in gradually on low speed.
  • Add 50% flour on low speed and when it hits 50-60% incorporation, add in remaining flour. (don't overmix)
  • If nuts, dried fruit or/and chocolate chips etc is/ are called for, add in on low speed. Don't overmix, this is to minimize the gluten to develop and prevent hard texture.

Enjoy your X'mas and CNY cookie baking!

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