Baking the Perfect Cookie: Food Science Slice

It happens every year. You want a thin, crispy cookie; your kids like theirs thick and chewy. Grandma prefers soft and cakey. What is a home baker to do? Use this handy guide to knowing the role of each commonly used ingredient in the texture and shape of cookies. Apply these rules to your favorite holiday cookie recipes and never have a cookie quarrel again. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

CHEWY Use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour.

SOFT Use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour.

THIN & CRISP Use white sugar and eliminate eggs from the recipe.

CAKEY Use more baking soda, to release carbon dioxide and make your cookies puff up.

CARAMELIZED Use light brown sugar and set the oven higher than 350°F.

DENSE Melt butter instead of creaming it; the warmer the butter, the denser the cookie.