Friday, May 7, 2010

The Cookie Experiments

It's been said once or twice that I can't leave a recipe alone. Its not anything major in my opinion: a little mustard in the egg salad here, a little mint in the ice cream there---I just like to see what happens when you, you know, add a little something. It's probably part of why I love America's Test Kitchen--the cooking show for tweakers. Case in point:

The Cookie Experiments

Cookies are probably one of the easiest baked goods to mess with, partly because small changes can have big effects. Of course, this means that you can easily get results that you DIDN'T intend---I make cookies less in the summer, because the ambient heat/humidity always gives me flat cookies. Still, I've rarely found even a flop to be totally inedible.

This week, I decided to use up some more of my seemingly endless supply of wheat flour and make an all-wheat flour cookie. I searched around for a basic recipe that I could futz with and came upon this one:

Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles I
adapted from a recipe by Marguerite
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well. Add dry ingredients.
  2. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with a drinking glass.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes.
 I mixed up the dough as required, holding myself back from changing anything right away.

Ok fine, I lied. I added a little cinnamon to the mix as well. I have problems, ok?
Next, I made one batch as usual not changing anything else (really!). I gave them plenty of space on the baking sheet, just in case they spread out like crazy.

After the first batch, I decided they could use a little richness. So, I threw in maybe a 1/3 cup of Heath Bits. They melt really well in cookies, creating buttery, sweet pockets of flavor.

But was that enough? No. After the second batch, I still had enough dough left for an additional tweak, so I threw in about a tablespoon of molasses. Finally, with all the dough used up, it was time to compare the results:

There isn't a ton of difference, visually between the first batch (far left) and the second (center), but I think there is definitely a visible change for the third. And the taste was definitely noticeable. I think both additions I made added to the flavor of the cookie, although the addition of molasses also altered the texture. The cookie became denser, with a definite chew. I like the molasses, but I think I'd need to find a way to make them less dense. Maybe white sugar instead? Of course, I could always just go back to another one of my favorites: Whole Wheat Ginger Snaps. Am I just trying to make these the hard way?

No comments:

Post a Comment