The origin of cookies dates back to 7th century AD in Persia and had travelled to Europe via the Muslim conquest of Spain. They came to America in the late 1620s. Cookies usually contain flour, sugar and some kind of oil.
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Types of cookies
Various types that can be found all over the world.
The batter is poured and pressed into a pan, and cut into cookie sized pieces after baking.
The batter is dropped onto the pan, with shape being made during the process of baking. The dough used is relatively soft.
Any filling of choice is incorporated like jam filling, chocolate filling etc.
Made by mixing a filler and shaping into bars and allowing them to cool and harden.
Contain less calories and sugar content.
As the name suggests, are cooked on a skillet and served.
Are extra large cookies mostly served in coffee shops and restaurants.
The Baking Processes
The diameter of the spread of the cookie is determined by how long the cookie expands. It is believed that the butter inside the cookie dough melts as the temperature starts to increase, hence, the integrity of the ball of dough is lost and it spreads out.
Firstly, when the water from the cookie dough starts to vaporize, it pushes through the dough to cause it to rise. Secondly, when the baking soda/powder starts to break down, there is a release of CO2 gas that further contributes to the process of rising.
Color and flavor injection:
First of all, there is the process of caramelization: when the sugar breaks down, transforming the crystals into brown liquid. Another process that takes place is the Maillard reaction: apart from the dough sugars it also involves the proteins contained in the egg and flour.
Baking soda or baking powder?
The concept should be remembered that if you want perfect cut out cookies, you would use baking powder for the dough to rise without making it all flat. Baking soda is usually used in chocolate chip cookies as it allows the cookies to spread.
How Ingredients Can Affect Your Cookies
If you’d use granulated sugar, you get a flatter cookie with light color and crispy edges.
The resultant cookie would be dense and moist.
The water in the butter would dissolve the sugar, hence, your cookie appears to be flat and tender.
The sodium bicarbonate and acidic salts react resulting in cookies being soft and thick and also harder.
The byproduct of baking soda is carbon dioxide, which is mainly responsible for leavening the dough and making the cookie soft and fluffy.
How to Prevent Cookies From Going Flat
The following tips can be used to avoid spreading of cookies:
- An ungreased baking sheet is preferred to create a friction effect for the cookies to cling on something.
- Butter should not be too cold or else the dough mixing will take longer and create an airy dough.
- Too much sugar, too much butter, or too little flour can all contribute to cookies that are on the run.
- Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least two hours before use. This prevents spreading and makes it easy to work with the dough. Dough can also be rolled into balls and frozen for later use.
- To prevent rise and then fall, it is best not mix the sugar and butter at too high speeds.
Fun Fact About Cookies
- The Oreo, the best-selling cookie of the 20th century, was developed and introduced by the National Biscuit Company (today known as Nabisco), in 1912.
- July 9th is National Sugar Cookie Day.
- The largest cookie measured 8,120 square feet and was made by the ImmaculateBaking Company in Flat Rock, North Carolina on 17 May 2003. The chocolate chip cookie weighed 40,000 lb and had a diameter 101 feet.
- December 4th is National Cookie Day.