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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Desserts / Sweet BITS Of Information! Part 2 of 5
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    Sweet BITS Of Information! Part 2 of 5

    Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:20 am
    Forum Host
    Continued from Part 1 of 5

    Sweet BITS Of Information!
    Part 2

    About Ingredients & Preparing for Baking
    Most cookies are made from the same basic ingredients.
    The dry ingredients consist of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    The sweetness comes from granulated and/or brown sugar.
    The fat is either softened butter or margarine which gives cookies their flavor and crisp outside texture and sometimes shortening giving the cookie a crunchy texture.
    For lower fat applesauce or prune paste is used.
    Eggs and flavored extract are also used.
    Fun additives:
    chocolate, cocoa, nuts, raisins, cranraisins, flavored chips (mint, butterscotch, toffee, vanilla, peanut butter), flaked coconut, oatmeal, spices or extracts.
    Making the dough is pretty consistent with all cookies. Mix your dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. In a large bowl, cream your butters and sugars, then add your slightly beaten eggs and vanilla. To this mixture, slowly add the dry ingredients until well mixed.
    At this point the extra flavorings are added to the dough. Then the dough is prepared the way dictated by the cookie type.

    To make cookies easier and tastier!
    Use only the freshest ingredients.
    Large eggs are the standard eggs used.
    Try not to use substitute fats.
    If the recipe calls for butter use butter.
    If it states softened that means room temperature not melted in the microwave or stove top. Let butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Be careful not to let it soften too long as this can result in dough that is too soft.

    Measure your ingredients.
    Improper measuring is probably the number one reason recipes fail.
    Flour is crucial to the structure of baked goods; too much flour and your product will be tough and dry. Too little flour, and your product will collapse when it comes out of the oven, and have wet spots and dense layers.

    Best Way to measure flour

    For the most accurate flour measuring, weigh the flour on a kitchen scale.
    One cup of white flour weighs 120 grams.
    One cup of whole wheat flour weighs 140 grams.
    One cup of bread flour weighs 130 grams.
    One cup of cake flour weighs 114 grams.
    The most common mistake made in measuring flour is to dip the measuring cup into the flour, this can result in up to 25% more flour than the recipe calls for (which packs it in).
    Try lightly spooning flour into the measuring cup. Continue until the cup is overflowing. Then use the back side of a knife to level off the flour even with the top edge of the measuring cup. Repeat as necessary, with 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, and 1/4 cup measures.
    Try THIS!
    Test for for yourself, measure 3 cups of flour into a bowl by scooping the flour with the measuring cup. Then stir the measured flour, and re-measure by lightly scooping with a spoon. When you have measured 3 cups this way, how much flour is left in the bowl?
    This extra flour will make your baked products heavy and tough.
    So remember to measure by lightly scooping with a spoon! Unless you want to use the cookies for hopscotch? LOL!

    Measuring Sugar`s
    Granulated sugar by dipping the measuring cup or spoon into the sugar canister, then leveling off the top with the back of a knife.
    Brown sugar has lots of moisture, so it must be measured by packing into a cup with your fingers, then leveling off the top. When you empty the cup, the sugar should stay in the shape of the cup.
    Powdered sugar can have a lot of lumps, so for best results sift the sugar through a sieve or strainer, then measure by spooning into a measuring cup and leveling off the top.

    Measuring Baking Powder and Soda
    Dip: the measuring spoon into the powder or soda, then level off with the back of a knife.

    Recap making a perfect cookie!
    1- Chose a recipe from Recipezaar.
    2-Gather the ingredients. (ingredients at room temperature).
    3- Re-read your recipe ingredient list to make sure you've got the correct amounts.
    4- Prepare baking sheets either by greasing lightly (spray and wipe off), cover pan with a silpan liner or parchment paper.
    5- Have all equipment such as: mixing bowls, electric mixer, measuring cups (dry and wet), measuring spoons, rubber spatula, spoon for measuring flour, spoon for scooping out cookie dough, cooling racks and metal spatula ready for use.
    6- Preheat the oven to temperature called for in recipe.
    7- Cream butter and sugars in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, unless recipe calls for margarine or shortening. Granulated, brown sugar, honey, flavored sugars and so on.
    8- Add eggs and other wet ingredients such as milk, water, juice, extract. Combine completely.
    9- Combine dry ingredientssuch as flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt with a wire whisk to blend and loosen any clumps in a separate bowl.
    10- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients gradually to combine completely.
    11- Hand stir in any extras like chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, dried fruit..... Taking care not to over mix or beat the dough to vigorously after adding the flour, or cookies will be tough.
    12- Drop by teaspoons or tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet prepared with parchment paper, a silpan or shortening.
    Cookie sheet Information Don't grease pans with butter or margarine. Solid shortening is a better choice. Butter tends to make cookies brown too fast and oils and sprays tend to cause sticking.
    Never put cookie dough on a warm baking sheet because they will flatten out,"Cool your cookie sheets by running tepid water over the back of them"
    Keep dough cool in between baking batches.
    Be sure to leave room between cookies on the cookie cookie sheet. A good rule of thumb is 2 inches between cookies. If they are extremely large cookies or the recipe calls for more space, adjust the space.
    13-Follow recipes to bake as is, cookies be flatted by a glass, fork, or a cookie press dipped in sugar, cocoa, or flour.
    Bake for the specified time in a preheated oven, unless it calls for you to start with a cold oven. which can be anywhere from 325 degrees F. for 15 minutes to 375 degrees F. for 8 minutes.
    14- Set timer Check for the lower amount time if a recipe has a range of 8-10 minutes.
    15- Cookies are done when they are firmly set or they are golden brown on the top. Some recipes will say that it will have a glossy sheen to them. Just take note of results from the first batch and adjust your time on the rest.
    Brownies and cake like bars are usually done when they pull away from the sides of the pan or when a tooth pick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean or when the center is set. Remember that over baking this type of bar cookies will produce dry and brittle brownies.
    16- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet.
    17- Remove from pans with metal spatula to wire cooling racks. Cool completely before storing them. Allow the steam to evaporate and will keep your cookies from becoming soggy.
    Remove and move cookies from baking sheets with a cookie spatula. helps prevent breaking and tearing.

    Do you have any cookie making tricks?
    If so share them with us!

    Continue to part 3 of 5/Storing cookies at room Temperature

    Last edited by Rita~ on Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:48 pm, edited 2 times in total
    Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:25 am
    Forum Host
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