Today's Recipes -
black text are links. Bold red text are not clickable links.
A Baker’s Cookie Guide
Tips and Techniques for Better Cookies
Cookies are wonderful concoctions of flour,
sugar, and a fat—usually butter and eggs. To these basic ingredients, we
add fruit, nuts, and flavors. If we start out with compromised
ingredients, the cookies from any recipe will be inferior. Sugars
not only sweeten, they add moisture and tenderness to
the cookie and help the cookie brown. Always use the type of sugar
called for in the recipe. Since superfine sugar melts faster than does
granulated, it will create more spread. Brown sugar adds a caramel
flavor and more moisture than granulated. Powdered sugar has added
cornstarch and makes a firmer, drier cookie.
Measure sugar in
measuring units designed for dry ingredients. For white sugar, use a
knife to level the top of the measure. Pack brown sugar firmly into the
Always use fresh, soft, brown sugar. Hardened
brown sugar will not add enough moisture to the cookie. An old trick to
soften brown sugar is to add a slice of bread to the container. Since
sugar is hygroscopic, that is it attracts moisture, it will draw the
moisture from the bread. In a day or two, the sugar will be soft and you
can throw the bread away.
Use good quality, fresh
flour. If your bag of flour has been sitting open too long, it may be
dry or taste stale.
For a more tender cookie, use pastry four.
For a chewier cookie, use bread flour. All-purpose flour is the middle
of the road and suitable for most cookies.
Measure flour as you
would white sugar, in a dry measure and scrape the top off with the back
of a knife. Do not dip the measure into the flour. Flour packs easily
and scooped flour results in too much flour for the recipe. Whisk or
sift the flour to lighten it and then carefully spoon the flour into the
Nothing tastes like butter. It contributes
much of the flavor that we love in cookies, some of the color, and much
of the tenderness. Butter acts as a shortening, that is, it “shortens”
the gluten strands found in flour and gives the cookie a soft,
melt-in-your mouth texture.
Margarine can be substituted for
butter. Margarine often has more water than butter and some adjustment
to the recipe may be necessary if you substitute margarine for butter.
Shortening can be used in place of butter but the cookie is likely
to be very different. A cookie with shortening will have less spread,
will tend to be crisper, and will lack that buttery flavor—even if you
use butter-flavored shortening.
Eggs add structure
and fat to the cookies. The eggs, as they are beaten, create bubbles
that make the cookies lighter and the protein in the egg solidifies to
create a firmer, higher profile as it bakes.
Always use fresh
eggs and use the size of eggs called for in the recipe. Set the eggs on
the counter for thirty minutes before using—warmer eggs will make a
Fruits and Nuts
Where would we be without
raisin cookies or those nut-filled cookies?
Nuts become rancid
easily. The smaller the nut pieces, the quicker they will spoil. Always
taste the nuts before using them in the recipe. If they taste even
slightly rancid, discard them. Rancid nuts may be unhealthy. Store your
nuts in the refrigerator, or better yet, the freezer.
the flavor of nuts, consider toasting them. Place them one layer thick
on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees. The type and size of the nuts
will determine the baking time, anywhere from three minutes to ten
minutes. Determine when the nuts are toasted by both fragrance and
color. Always let the nuts cool and reabsorb the oils before mixing them
into the batter.
Dry fruit becomes hard as it ages. Steam raisins
and other dried fruit by pouring boiling water to just cover them and
let stand until plump—the length of time will be a factor of the
freshness and type of fruit. Pat them dry on paper towels. Kids who turn
their noses up at raisin cookies may change their minds if they
experience cookies with plumped raisins.
wonderful world of spices was designed for cookies. Use the best spices
that you can buy, keep them covered, use them while they are fresh.
There is a world of difference between quality spices and inexpensive
Buy the best cinnamon that you can find. Taste-test your
cinnamon for quality. Good cinnamon will taste sweet and have almost a
citrus flavor. Cheap cinnamon will be astringent and bitter. Good
quality cinnamon will make a marvelous difference in your baking.
Most cookies use a two stage method of mixing. The
sugars and fats are creamed together with eggs added and beat into the
creamed mixture. The dry ingredients are added to the creamed mixture.
The two most common mixing faults are over-mixing and failure to
distribute the dry ingredients uniformly. (Often, the baker over-mixes
the batter in an attempt to distribute the dry ingredients.) You can
beat the creamed mixture thoroughly—the objective is to entrain as much
air into the mixture as possible but once the flour is added, mix only
until the flour is moistened. Over mixing does two things: it develops
the gluten in the flour making a tougher cookie and it drives the
entrained air from the batter so the cookie is not as light.
ensure that leavenings and spices are evenly distributed in the batter,
mix all dry ingredients together thoroughly before combining the dry
mixture with the creamed mixture. Do so with either a whisk or by
sifting the ingredients together.
Fold any fruit and nuts gently
into the batter stirring no more than necessary to keep the batter light
The greatest cookie fault is over baking.
If your cookies tend to be dry or tough, reduce the baking. When done
and hot on the cookie sheet, most cookies appear to be under baked. It’s
better to under bake than to over bake.
Always bake the cookies
on the middle shelf—the lower shelf is too close to the heating element
and will over bake the bottom of the cookies. If you bake more than one
sheet a time, either switch the lower sheet with the upper sheet part
way through the baking or place on sheet on top of another sheet to
insulate the bottom of the pan.
Learn how your oven bakes. If
experience tells you that your oven bakes faster than called for in most
recipes, lower the heat by 25 degrees. Better yet, use an ovenproof
thermometer to test the heat in your oven.
If you have a lot of
cookies to bake and a limited number of baking pans, consider lining the
pans with sheets of foil or parchment paper. You can load the foil or
parchment paper with cookie dough while the sheets are on the counter.
As soon as the cookies come from the oven, slide the sheets from the
pans and set the pans aside to cool. Remove the cookies from the
parchment paper or foil to cool on wire racks. As soon as the pans are
cool, load them again with sheets of cookies. Never place cookie dough
on warm pans as it will increase the spread of the cookies and affect
If you haven’t
discovered the convenience of freezing cookie dough, the next time that
you bake cookies, try freezing part of your dough. For refrigerator-type
cookies, form the dough into logs and freeze so that the dough can be
sliced when almost thawed. For other cookies, wrap the dough in plastic
and press as much air from the wrap as possible then place the wrapped
dough inside a plastic bag to freeze.
Most cookie dough can be
kept in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator for up to three
months and in a freezer for up to six months. (The freezing compartment
of your refrigerator is not as cold as a freezer.)
Most baked cookies freeze well. The exception is
chocolate glazed cookies; freezing often creates a white frost on the
chocolate. Freeze each type separately—never freeze crisp and chewy
cookies together. Freeze delicate cookies on a baking sheet before
wrapping them individually and storing them in containers.
Freezing Bar Cookies
Most bar cookies freeze particularly well.
There are two ways to freeze bar cookies: wrap them individually or wrap
and freeze the whole cake after it has cooled completely.
cookies should last for months in a freezer (not the freezer section of
your refrigerator). We have frozen Hermits in a Bar for six months with
no noticeable loss of quality.
cookies that have been frozen can benefit from refreshing. Spread them
on a baking sheet and stick them in an oven heated to 325 degrees for
three to eight minutes depending on the thickness of the cookies. They
are done when they start to smell fresh-baked.
Even if the
cookies have not been frozen, consider refreshing them before serving.
Fresh from the oven, cookies that are several days old taste as if they
were just baked.
If soft or chewy cookies become hard or stale in
the cookie jar, add a slice of bread. By the next day, the moisture will
have migrated to the sugar-rich cookies making them soft and moist
Most of us have loved ones across the
country that we would like to share cookies with. There are two keys to
successfully shipping cookies: wrap them individually in plastic and
ship them in small containers. For more delicate cookies, nestle them in
Styrofoam shipping pieces or ordinary popcorn. Lower fat cookies last
longer so are better for shipping long distances.
Click Here to
Print this information
from The Prepared Pantry
How to Troubleshoot
If your cookies are too tough . . .
You may have used
too much flour or a flour with too high of a protein content. Unless you
want a chewy cookie, do not use bread flour. Check your measurements–the
cookies may not have enough fat or the amount of sugar may be wrong.
If your cookies are too crumbly . . .
They may have too much
sugar, shortening, or leavening or may not be thoroughly mixed. Try
adding more eggs.
If your cookies are too hard . . .
have been baked too long or at a temperature that was too low. Too much
flour or not enough shortening or liquid will make them hard also.
If your cookies are too dry . . .
The same elements that make
cookies too hard, may make them too dry. Try baking them at a higher
temperature for a shorter period. Substitute brown sugar (with its
higher moisture content) for part of the granulated sugar.
your cookies are too brown . . .
The cookies were most likely baked
too long or at too high of a temperature. Too much sugar may make a
cookie brown too readily.
If your cookies are not browned enough
. . .
The baking temperature was too low, they were not baked long
enough, or there was too little sugar.
If your cookies spread too
much . . .
The baking temperature may be too low. Too much sugar,
shortening, or leavening will cause spread. If pans are greased with too
much shortening, spread may occur. Add a little more flour or chill your
dough before forming the cookies.
If your cookies don’t spread
enough . . .
The opposite conditions that create too much spread may
cause your cookies not to spread enough. There may not be enough sugar,
shortening, or leavening, or the temperature is too high. Try adding
more grease to the pan and baking at a lower temperature.
edges or crust turns out sugary . . .
The cookies probably have too
much sugar. The dough may have been inadequately mixed.
cookies have a poor flavor . . .
Make sure all the flavoring
ingredients were added. Dated or low quality ingredients may not impart
strong enough flavors. Improperly washed baking pans will sometimes
cause a cookie to taste bad.
If your cookies stick to the pans .
The pans probably weren’t greased adequately. Too much sugar will
make cookies stick. Cookies are usually easier to remove from their pans
immediately after coming from the oven.
Click Here to Print this Information
favorite cookie mix from Prepard Pantry is the
Buttery Almond Chocolate Chip
The only problem I have had with
this mix is it has real chocolate in the
have been known to open the mix, steal the chocolate chips to eat them. It is
necessary to order more of the chips from Dennis at the Prepared
Pantry. The real chocolate chips are sooooo much better than the
imitaton ones we generally find in the stores. When I reorder the
chips I tell the the Prepared Pantry that if they didn't have such
good chips in their mixes I wouldn't hear them calling my name from
the package and have to to open them up to eat them, LOL.
Save Time with No-Bake Cookies
Whether you don’t want to heat up the kitchen or the demands of
getting the kids out the door are upon you, it’s nice to have a few
no-bake cookie recipes on hand. We thought we would share some of our
favorites with you.
This first recipe, Cranberry Coconut Bars, is
more of a big kid cookie—it has too much fruit and too many nuts in it
to suit most youngsters. But it so scrumptious and easy, we had to
include it. If you are making a lunch for a spouse or a teenager, we
think this will be a hit. Of course, it doesn’t have to go in a lunch
This is a microwave cookie that can be mixed right in the
baking pan. How’s that for convenience?
If you are not fond of
dried cranberries, consider substituting dates, raisins, or chopped
apricot pieces in this recipe.
Cranberry Coconut Bars
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup quick rolled oats
cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sweetened
1/2 cup walnut pieces
Place butter in an 8-inch square, microwave-safe baking dish. Microwave
until the butter is melted.
2. Stir in the brown sugar until
dissolved. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Press the mixture firmly
into the dish.
3. Microwave for three to five minutes or until
lightly browned. If your microwave does not have a rotating carousel,
rotate the dish twice during cooking.
4. Let the cookies cool and
then cut them into bars with a sharp knife. Wrap them individually to
pack in a lunch.
This recipe will make sixteen 2 x 2-inch
This next recipe makes a great kid cookie. It’s almost
confection-like but is so packed with energy and hearty oats that you
won’t mind giving your youngster a few. This cookie is best with a tall
glass of milk.
This is a range-top cookie. Because it is a
no-baker and so full of energy, it makes a great camping cookie.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Drops
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium
heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook for
two more minutes stirring constantly and then remove the pan from the
2. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla, then the oats.
Let cool for several minutes and then drop spoonfuls onto waxed paper.
Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the waxed
When thinking of no-bake cookies,
don’t forget the perennial favorites, Rice Krispie Treats and Frosted
Graham Crackers. We’re assuming everyone has the recipe for Rice Krispie
Treats. Consider adding chocolate chips, dried fruit pieces, or cinnamon
candies for a little pizzazz.
To make Chocolate Rice Krispie
Treats, melt 2/3 cup chocolate chips (for a recipe calling for six cups
of cereal) with the marshmallows and butter. This is a real favorite—our
kids like these more than regular Rice Krispie Treats and they are no
more difficult to make.
For Frosted Graham Crackers, simply pick
your favorite frosting and sandwich that between two graham cracker
squares. Pick a frosting with a powdered-sugar base that will set up
firm and won’t be messy.
Click Here to Print this
Information and Recipes
The Joys of Refrigerator Cookies
Baking cookies seem to fill the house with a sense of well being and
peace. Perhaps it is the smell of butter, vanilla, and spices emanating
from the hot oven. Maybe it is the love and caring attention that is
evident in cookies. Home, love, and cookies seem to go together.
Consider refrigerator, or icebox, cookies for the holidays. They can be
made up ahead of time-even months ahead-and stored until ready to bake.
Baking up those stored refrigerator cookies is mess free, takes little
time, and you only need to bake what you need for the moment. Drop
cookies are quick cookies; refrigerator cookies are convenient cookies.
Refrigerator cookies are also attractive cookies. Nothing beats the
uniform slices and consistent shape of refrigerator cookies. To keep
that uniform shape, slice while the dough is still cold and firm and
turn the log after every few cookies to keep the log round. If the
cookies have a flat edge, mold them back to shape with the curl of your
finger before baking.
Roll the refrigerator cookies into logs (or
blocks) as directed in the instructions then wrap them in waxed paper
and aluminum foil. The logs can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for
months. When you are ready to bake, remove the logs from the
refrigerator to unthaw. It’s easier to slice a log that is not
completely thawed and the cookies bake fine-though you may need to add
another minute or so.
Click Here to Print
Types of Cookies and How to Bake Them
Did you know there are six different types of
cookies? Each has its place. All are easy enough to make that the skills
for success are easily learned. Here, we review the six types of cookies
and provide tips for each.
When you are in a
hurry, nothing is faster than a bar cookie. Mix, pour the batter in a
pan, and bake. You don’t have to form individual cookies—the most time
consuming task in many recipes.
If you would like a tender,
cake-like cookie, use all-purpose or pastry flour. Don’t over mix–over
mixing will develop the gluten and make for a tougher cookie. Instead of
greasing the baking pan, consider lining the pan with foil or parchment
paper. Lightly spray the foil with vegetable spray. Be sure and spread
the dough evenly in the pan for uniformly baked cookies.
Cake-like bar cookies should be baked until a toothpick inserted in the
center of the pan comes out clean. When lightly pressed with a
fingertip, the top should spring back. For brownie-type cookies, the
tops should be dull—not glossy—and an imprint will remain when touched.
After baking, holding the edges of the paper or foil, lift the loaf of
cookies from the pan. Use a sharp, serrated knife and trim the edges.
Then use a ruler to mark the cuts for uniform bars.
can be cooled in the pan or on a rack. They can be stored in the pan but
we prefer to cut the cookies into bars as described, and wrap them
individually in plastic.
These are the most
common cookies and probably what we think of first when cookies come to
mind. There are more recipes for drop cookies than for any other type.
Make each cookie of equal size and height for uniform baking. (An
ice cream scoop with a release mechanism helps make uniform cookies.)
Bake until the cookies are delicately browned and an imprint remains if
lightly touched with a finger. Do not over bake the cookies. Over baked
cookies are dry and hard. Remove them immediately to racks to cool. Let
them cool completely before stacking.
are formed into balls between the palms of your hands. Some are
flattened with a fork or the bottom of a glass before baking. Some are
left round—the oven mettles the butter and cookie softens to a flattened
It’s easy to make uniform, round cookies. To make them the
same size, use a kitchen scale and weigh each ball. If you don’t have a
kitchen scale, use a ruler so that each cookie has the same diameter.
Bake these cookies until they are delicately browned and an imprint
remains if lightly touched with a finger. Remove them immediately to
racks to cool and let them cool completely before stacking.
In some ways, refrigerator cookies are the
most convenient cookies. You can mix the dough ahead of time and bake
them when needed and bake only as many as are needed. Dough can be
stored for a week in the refrigerator and much longer than that in the
After mixing, form the dough into a round or rectangular
log and chill thoroughly. Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut cleanly
especially if there are nuts in the dough. Use a ruler to get the
cookies all the same thickness. When slicing round logs, roll the dough
after each cut to keep the log uniform.
Bake the cookies until
they are delicately browned and cool them on racks.
Handle and chill the dough as for refrigerator cookies.
Roll the dough out on a very lightly floured surface. Most recipes call
for the dough to be about 1/4-inch thick. Use a toothpick to make sure
that the dough is uniformly the right thickness. A thinner cookie will
make for a crisper cookie. Cut the dough with cookie cutters. Get as
many cookies from each rolling as possible, Successive rollings, with
the flour from the counter incorporated into the dough and with more
handling of the dough, will make for tougher cookies.
cookies until they are delicately browned and cool them on racks.
These cookies take special equipment–a cookie
press–but can be made into wonderfully attractive shapes. They are great
to make with kids. Kids are fascinated with both the shapes and
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for forming
cookies. The dough must be pliable. If the dough gets too soft, return
it to the refrigerator and let it chill.
Bake the cookies until
they are delicately browned and cool them on racks.
cookie mix from Prepard Pantry is the Buttery Almond Chocolate Chip
Cookie Mix. The only problem I have had with this mix is it has real
chocolate in the chocolate chips. I have been known to open the mix,
steal the chips and eat them. It is necessary to order more of the chips
from Dennis at the Prepared Pantry. The real chocolate chips are sooooo
much better than the imitaton ones we generally find in the stores. When
I reorder the chips I tell the the Prepared Pantry that if they didn't
have such good chips in their mixes I wouldn't hear them calling my name
from the package to open them up and eat them, LOL.
Click Here to Print
Links have been checked today to make sure they are safe to click. If you see something that interests you please click through and enjoy
the food related information.
|Did you Know
black text links are links to recipes. The bold red text links
are to the topic of the paragraph. The links listed in
this newsletter have been checked within the last 24 hours are safe to
Not Getting Your Email Newsletters. The link to the online recipes is
posted daily to Facebook.
Click Here to Join Nancy's Kitchen on
If you enjoy a recipe or a tip for that day
remember to share it with your friends by clicking the the "Share" or
"Like" button on Facebook.
A lot of our members have asked what
software I use for organizing my person recipes.
I use Home
software for my personal recipes.
free 2 week trial of this software,
Nancy Rogers - 5540 2nd St.
Lubbock, Texas 79416
Paypal: email address is email@example.com
Copyright © 2016 - Nancy's Kitchen