Ultra Thick and Soft Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

Ultra Thick and Soft Peanut Butter M&M Cookies- Baker BettieI have been hearing about people putting cornstarch in their cookies for some time now. Everyone claiming that it makes the cookies ridiculously soft and fudgy. This has been nagging at me. Everyone who’s tried it swears by it, but nobody ever talks about why! So I finally decided to give it a go, and of course, it does work! Surprisingly well. These cookies turned out to be some of the softest, most dense and fudgy cookies I have ever baked.

Ultra Thick and Soft Peanut Butter M&M Cookies- Baker Bettie

I was thinking about the science behind this the other day and trying to do some research as to why cornstarch has this effect in baked goods. And while I haven’t found one definitive answer, this is what I’ve concluded: We know that cornstarch and flour are both starches or course, and their main purpose in baking is the hold structure. However, flour has gluten in it and this gluten reduces the thickening power of flour. Therefore, cornstarch is about twice as powerful of a thickening agent compared to flour. By adding some cornstarch to the mixture you can have a dough that has far more liquid and fat in it compared to the flour and it will still hold it’s shape. Liquid and fat create moistness and softness in a cookie, so this is my theory. The cookie will be able to stand tall and hold it’s shape because of the thickening power of cornstarch while having a high ratio of fat and liquid. I’m sure there are more in depth sciency things behind it, but I love having these epiphanies!

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10 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes You Need in Your Life

10 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes You Need in Your Life

I’m sure you may have guessed by now, with my constant posting this week, that I am finished with culinary school! I promise I won’t flood your inboxes every week like I did this week, but I missed blogging and you all so much!

In case you missed it, I declared this week Chocolate Chip Cookie Week, in celebration of me being done with school and getting back in the blogging game full time! The week started off with a little torturing by me teaching you math with The Basic’s of Baker’s Percentages. I tried to bribe you all through the post by promising you cookies. Lots of cookies. And I delivered with Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies on Tuesday, Thick and Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies on Wednesday, and Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies on Thursday!

And today I am here to finish up the cookie love with a list of 10 chocolate chip cookie recipes that you need in your life! Or maybe I need them in my life and so I’m going to force it on you too. But I’m guessing you won’t protest too much! Hope you have all had a great week! Happy Friday!

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Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker BettieAnd so we’ve come full circle in this chocolate chip cookie game. The week started with me torturing tutoring you with math. But I promised you the math would lead us to lots of cookies. And didn’t I deliver? We’ve reviewed cookies of the thin and crispy variety, and cookies that are cakey and thick. So here we are today with these beautiful ladies. These soft and gooey and chewy thangs. Probably my favorite of the three! But I think I need to go do some more scientific taste testing just to be sure.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker Bettie

Alright, let’s get into the science and math shall we?!

Creating soft and chewy cookies relies heavily on moisture content. And a big part of keeping that moisture content in the cookie is by using a sugar that is highly hygroscopic. If you remember from the thin and crispy cookie post, we talked about how sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs and holds onto moisture. So we opted to use granulated sugar for the crispy cookies because it is less hygroscopic than other sugars. We wanted the moisture to evaporate and create a crisp cookie. But today, we want the opposite! We want a sugar that is going to hold onto that moisture so that our cookies are really moist and chewy!

Molasses is a highly hygroscopic sugar. And you know what has molasses in it? Brown sugar! And you know what has even MORE molasses in it? Dark brown sugar! So for these chewy cookies we are using all brown sugar and preferably, all dark brown sugar.

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Thick and Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thick and Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker BettieI’m back today for Chocolate Chip Cookie week with the polar opposite of yesterday’s cookie. Yesterday we explored the paper thin and ultra crispy chocolate chip cookie. But today we are going thick and cakey and airy! So just take everything you learned yesterday and reverse it, right? Well, kind of.

With our thin and crispy cookie we talked about a high ratio of sugar and fat. Well in this instance, yes, we are going in reverse. A lower percentage of fat and sugar will produce a fatter cookie. The cookie will coagulate more quickly and spread less. Remember how we talked about butter and sugar melting causing the cookie to spread? We are trying to reduce that here!

For the purposes of this demonstration, I used butter as the fat in all of the recipes. However, shortening would produce an even fluffier and softer cookie because it melts more slowly than butter. Shortening also contains more water content and will produce steam when it melts causing more rise. You can substitute the same amount of shortening for the butter if desired in this recipe.

Thick and Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker Bettie

The ratio of eggs in this cookie is also higher than in our thin and crispy recipe. This is for several reasons. Eggs also contain water that will evaporate and produce steam which will help our cookie rise. The protein in the eggs also help with cookie coagulation and will keep a thicker shape.

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Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker Bettie

All chocolate chip cookies are not created equal. And everyone’s preference for the perfect chocolate chip cookies are definitely not the same. I posted what I call The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies a while back. In my mind nothing could top them. Crispy on the outside, thick and chewy on the inside. Loaded with dark chocolate and toasted pecans and a decent amount of salt. I am salivating just typing these words. But everyone has their own vision of what creates a perfect cookie. That is what this week is all about!

If you were around yesterday then you already know that I declared this week Chocolate Chip Cookie week! If you weren’t around yesterday then you might want to peruse this post. It’s about math. But math that leads us to cookies. So just suck it up for a moment. Then come back here! Because here is where the cookies are!

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker BettieYou see that? That up ^ there. That is one thin and crispy cookie! That isn’t just an accident. That takes some knowledge and skill about baking science and math to purposefully do that.

Here’s the rundown:

When a cookie spreads during baking the thinner and crunchier the baked cookie will become. Fat plays an important role in promoting spread of a cookie. A high fat content, and specifically a high butter fat content, will promote spreading. Butter melts at a lower temperature than other fats such as shortening. This promotes faster spreading and prevents the cookie from setting before it becomes flat.

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The Basics of Baker’s Percentages

The Basics of Baker's Percentages- Baker Bettie

In regards to baking, I feel people fall into one of 4 groups:
1.) People who don’t care about baking one way or another
2.) People who hate the science and accuracy involved and therefore avoid baking
3.) People who try and state they can’t do it/aren’t good at it because of the science involved
4.) People who love it because of all the geeky sciency stuff that creates amazing baked goods.

I think it is no secret which of these category I fall into.

Today I want to indulge my geeky side for a moment. I want to explore the science and math of baking a little.

Hold the phone! I know. We’re not just talking science, but we’re talking math too?! Just stick with me. I promise this post is leading us to cookies. Lots of cookies. Because I have declared this week Chocolate Chip Cookie week!  A week full of the king of cookies. But first, math. Specifically percentages.

The Basics of Baker's Percentages- Baker BettieBaker’s percentage is a technique of writing recipes for professional baker’s where each ingredient is given a percentage based off of the weight of flour in the recipe.

When you really think about traditional baking, flour is arguably the most important ingredient. It is the main structure of most all baked goods (with few exceptions). When using baker’s percentages flour is always 100%. No matter how much is in the recipe. The percentage of each other ingredient is then calculated based on the weight of flour.

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Hello! Bettie Bars with Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Dark Chocolate Magic Bars with Whiskey Caramel Sauce- Baker Bettie

Have you heard of a ‘Hello! Dolly Bar?’ Or maybe you call them ‘Magic Bars’ or ’7 Layer Bars?’

I had never heard of any of this until recently. Someone asked me if I had a good recipe for ‘Hello Dolly Bars’ and I just stared at them blankly. Then they were appalled that I didn’t know what they were talking about.

them: “It’s a traditional southern dessert! You should definitely know how to make them!”

me: “I’m not from the South.”

them: “You’re from Kansas. You’re from the South.”

me: (sigh)

Dark Chocolate Magic Bars with Whiskey Caramel Sauce- Baker BettieSo I decided to embrace my southern roots? and learn how to make these! Through researching these babies, I learned that Hello Dolly Bars are a cookie bar with a graham cracker crust, layers of chocolate, butterscotch, nuts, coconut, and then drizzled with sweetened condensed milk. While all of that sounds fine and good, I had to make these babies a little more fancy.

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Huge Dark Chocolate Cookie with Espresso and Toasted Pecans

Huge Dark Chocolate Cookie with Espresso and Toasted Pecans - Baker BettieToday I turn 28. It isn’t a big deal. Just another day really. But it’s kind of a thing to at least sort of celebrate your birthday. And numerous people told me I should make my own cake. So I had plans of doing that. I got all the stuff. I had the cake recipe and frosting recipe all mapped out and I was ready to bake a cake. Except I wasn’t.

Huge Dark Chocolate Cookie with Espresso and Toasted Pecans - Baker BettieI just don’t know what it is with me and cake. I just don’t love it. I would even venture to say that I usually don’t like it at all. And do not even get me started on cupcakes. I think it is safe to say that you will never see a cupcake recipe on this blog. That cake to frosting ratio. Eeeek! Horrifying. I just can’t.

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Spicy Dark Chocolate and Cinnamon Cookies

Spicy Dark Chocolate and Cinnamon Cookies- Baker BettieI’m at this crossroads in life. This place where it feels like something big is about to happen. Like my life is going to head in a new direction soon and I really have no clue what direction that is. It is a weird place to be. Because I am the one who initiated this change of direction. Yet I still have no clue what destination I am aiming for. And I’m waiting for something to show me, give me a sign and say, “Here. Go this way. This is what you are meant to do.” Even though that is highly unlikely, I’m still waiting.

Spicy Dark Chocolate and Cinnamon Cookies- Baker BettieWhat we are meant to do. I’m not sure that really is a thing. Sure we say it all the time. “This is what I was meant to do.” But I think it is up to us, not the universe, to find our place. And it is up to us to figure out our contribution. I struggle with that sometimes. Is pursuing a passion for food and writing and creating recipes selfish? Is there really a need for that in the world? I think so. There is always a need for art. And this is my art.

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Big Ass Chocolate Chip Cookie For Two (or One)

Big Ass Chocolate Chip Cookie For Two (or One)- Baker Bettie

Hello there! Would you like a big ass chocolate chip cookie? Not a cookie with a big ass. And not a cookie that will give you a big ass (though that could definitely be a side effect), but a cookie that is, in and of itself, big ass. Am I saying ass too much? I don’t really care. I feel feisty today!

Big Ass Chocolate Chip Cookie For Two (or One)- Baker BettieSince moving to Philadelphia we don’t have as many people to share my baked goods with. I take them to work with me sometimes but it just feels weird getting on the subway with a cookie carrier filled with cookies. I feel like everyone is staring at them. And I feel guilty not offering one to pretty much everyone. It is so incredibly awkward. But my husband says I feel awkward way more than necessary. Life is just full of awkwardness. And probably too much of my energy is spent trying to avoid it.

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