Many bakers find themselves in the same cookie conundrum, because they just can't get a cookie recipe to work to their liking. Since most people have different preferences when it comes to cookies, there's no one recipe that will please everyone. Some like cookies flat, crisp, and chewy whereas others prefer them soft and cakey. Instead of trying to find the recipe that works the way you want it, why not try experimenting a little bit? After all, baking is a science. To help you understand what makes cookie rise or go flat, here are some tips on baking cookies. With just a little bit of know-how, you can achieve the perfect cookie for you.
Flat, Chewy Cookies
• Butter makes cookies flatten, oftentimes paired with a higher amount of sugar and/or lower baking temperature.
• Using a higher amount of dark brown sugar vs. white sugar also creates chewier cookies that spread further.
• A lower temperature, let's say 325-350° F, allows cookies to flatten out slower than a higher temperature would.
• The presence of egg whites dries out cookies, so the fewer eggs or just an egg yolk helps create chewy vs. crisp cookies.
• All-purpose flour, which is typically used in cookie recipes, has a high protein content and contributes to the flat, dark look of classic chocolate chip cookies, for example. Using bread flour instead would create an even chewier cookie, because it has the highest amount of protein, creating gluten when it comes in contact with liquids.
Soft, Cakey Cookies
• For soft cookies that don't flatten out while baking, use shortening. Unlike butter, shortening does not melt or spread much. If you like a cookie somewhere in the middle of flat and cakey, use a 3:1 or 2:1 ratio of butter to shortening.
• More eggs also help keep the batter from spreading, producing a puffier cookie.
• Baking cookies at 375-400° F prevents cookies from spreading too far because the higher temperature sets them faster.
• Using baking powder instead of baking soda creates a puffier cookie, because the acid in the baking powder makes the cookies bake faster, but also brown less.
• Cake flour also helps produce a cakey cookie because it's lower in protein, creating a more soft and tender texture.