Sometimes I wish I was more ‘scientifically’ minded, so that I could be more into the ‘technical’ aspect of baking. At its core, baking of any kind is just a science experiment. Certain ingredients put together in a certain way have a certain reaction, and that reaction is the ‘product.’
I’ve been doing this long enough to where I know or have a rough idea what kinds of reactions certain ingredients and certain methods have, but I’m not at the point where I I understand the full science behind it.
For instance, a lot of practice and trial/error has given me a very good grasp on what ingredients and methods work for baking (American-style) biscuits. I know what they do, but the scientific ‘how’ of the ingredients/methods? Eh.
Cookies are another recipe that I really wish I understood the science behind more. I know how to make them, but there are times when I think if I understood the ‘whys’ of making them, I could be better at it. Today’s recipe was one of those times.
They weren’t quite what I expected when I set out to make them, but I still really like how they turned out. I thought they would be more along the lines of a smallish, puffy cookie and in reality, they were indeed chewy, but they spread quite a bit and were flatter than I imagined. Now either that happened because I was doing something wrong, or because I needed to have a firmer grasp on how my ingredients were going to react
Or, y’know… both.
But regardless, I still liked these enough to leave them on the list for the 12 Days of Christmas. It’s the flavor for me; the brown sugar and molasses gives them great, rich flavor up the wazoo. If you like the large, bakery style cookies that have crisp edges and a chewy center, these are definitely for you. They also keep and ship very well.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to google/hunt down a ‘science behind cookies’ article.
Day 5: Brown Sugar Cookies
Brown Sugar Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large yolk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and the molasses and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
Place the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Form the cookies into 1 1/2-ounce balls (2 tablespoons). Roll each ball in the sugar and place cookie dough balls in a resealable plastic container lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably overnight.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line three sheet pans with parchment paper. (If you don’t have 3 baking sheets, you can reuse the parchment and baking sheets, just let the sheets cool off between each round.)
Place 8 cookies on each sheet pan. Bake one pan at a time, rotating halfway through baking. Bake until the sides are set and the bottoms are light golden brown, 10 to 11 minutes.
Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the pan, then remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack.
(Note: no one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.)