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"How can I get my cookies to turn out the way I want them to?"

In your book, you discuss soft and crisp cookies, but I like my chocolate chip cookies mounded (with lots of chips) and hard, like little mountains. What would I increase or decrease in the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe to attain this result?
Thank you,

— Sally W.


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Hi Sally,
If you want your cookies hard, you need to cut down on the ingredients that tenderize the dough. The primary tenderizing ingredients are sugar (which draws water away from the flour, so less gluten can form) and fat (which interferes with gluten development).

Start by reducing the quantity of sugar and fat by 25 percent. Try a batch and see what you think. If you want to make those cookies even harder next time, reduce the fat by 50 percent. These reductions should make your cookies sufficiently hard. If not, you can increase the baking time slightly, which will allow more time for moisture to evaporate as the cookie bakes and yield a firmer cookie. For the "little mountain" effect, these steps will help reduce the spread of your cookies.

  1. Reduce the amount of fat and sugar (as above).
  2. Use margarine or shortening instead of butter. Shortening has a higher melting point so it spreads more slowly than butter.
  3. Chill the dough before baking. Chilled dough holds its shape longer than room-temperature dough.
  4. Use an egg as part of the liquid.
  5. Use an ungreased cookie sheet; greasing encourages spreading.
  6. If the above steps don't produce rounded cookies, try reducing the liquid again. With less liquid, cookies are less likely to spread.
To make sure your cookies stay hard, keep them in an airtight container. If they're exposed to air, they'll absorb the moisture stored in air and get soft. We hope your experimenting leads to your version of the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Anne & Sue




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