The Cookie Method – How to Properly Mix Your Dough :D!

Posted by on Nov 14, 2011 in Culinary 101, Food Journal

The Cookie Method – How to Properly Mix Your Dough :D!

What is the cookie method you may ask? Well, let me tell you. The cookie method is the fancy (or not so fancy depending on how you look at it) way that professional chefs say “how to mix your cookies right”. There are three different ways of mixing including; the one-stage method, the creaming method (this is the one we will be concentrating on the most today), and the sponge method. Here is a brief overview of each.
The One-Stage Method-This  method is not used very much because the baker has less control over the mixing than with other methods. However, when you are making a recipe where over-mixing isn’t going to be a problem, like with chewy cookies, this method can be used. The basic procedure goes like this- Measure all of your ingredients. Let them all come to room temperature. Put them in a mixer all at once and mix them until they are uniformly blended. Make sure your’e scraping the sides of the bowl now and then so you don’t end up with clumps of flour in your cookies because that’s disgusting. Mmmmm flour clumps-not! This method is simple and quick and even a child could do it. It is good for macaroons, some bars and a few other recipes. So moving on….

The Creaming Method- Although I’ve never googled this fact or anything, I think it is safe to say that this is the most commonly used method of making cookies. It is what you use when you make chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies and several others. The amount you “cream” will affect your cookies texture, the leavening and how much it spreads. You should only cream a little if you want your cookies to hold their shape (you don’t want to loose the edges on those pretty Christmas Trees). If your cookie is short (chef talk for “high in fat and low in gluten development”) or if you are making one of those very delicate thin cookies, too much creaming will make your cookie crumble-literally. So here is the basic procedure;
1. measure all of your ingredients
2. let them come to room temperature
3. put the fat, sugar, salt, and spices into the mixing bowl and cream them on low speed
*note that you can also blend your spices and salt into your dry ingredients
*for lighter cookies, cream until light and fluffy, this incorporates more air for leavening
*for denser cookies, cream to a smooth paste, but do not cream until light
4. add the eggs and any liquid and blend at low speed
5. blend in your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder)
*mix just until combined, you’re making cookies, not bread
The following video is The Creaming Method, it is for small at home cookie batches. If your recipe requires more than 2 eggs, I recommend adding 2 at a time and blending a little in between additions.

If you follow these basic steps, you should come out with a pretty nice cookie in the end. If your cookies still are coming out like crappies, check out the “what’s wrong with my cookies” at the end of this article. And last but not least…
The Sponge Method-This procedure can vary considerably, depending on the ingredients you’re using. The batches should be kept small because the batter is super delicate, in other words, don’t double recipes that require this method because your cookies won’t come out. This method is generally used for meringue cookies.
1. measure your ingredients
2. let them come to room temperature (for greater volume warm your eggs a little)
3. whip your eggs and sugar together until the desired consistency
*soft peaks if you’re only whipping whites, thick and light if you’re whipping yolks or whole eggs
4. fold in the rest of the ingredients according to the recipe
*do not over-mix or deflate your eggs

AAAAAAAHHHHHHH – What’s Wrong With My Cookies
So, you’ve followed all the advice, you’ve measured and re-measured, but for some reason, you still can’t make a decent cookie. There are a few common mistakes you may be making.

your cookies taste bad- I would first of all check your ingredients, make sure nothing is expired or spoiled. Also, maybe switch brands. Then ask yourself these questions – Did you forget one of the flavoring ingredients maybe? Were your pans totally clean or is there some mysterious stuff burned on them that you can’t seem to scrub off? Did you measure properly? Is there anything burned onto the bottom of your oven that’s smoking while you’re cooking?

your cookies are tough (and I don’t mean they can take a hit)-you may need to switch flours-did you use a bread flour? That is a cookie no-no. Try a more delicate flour, AP flour is good for most, but you can try a pastry flour too.

your cookies stick to the pan- you may have used too much sugar or you need to grease your pan, silly.

your cookies are crumbly-you may not have mixed them properly. This could also be a problem with the recipe such as not enough eggs, or too much sugar, shortening or too much leavening. If you’re not a professional, I don’t recommend trying to adjust the recipe because ingedients are expensive, time is precious and there are plenty of other cookie recipes in the sea.

your cookies are too brown-you are likely baking them too long or at too high of a temperature

your cookies are not browning-most likely they need to bake longer, you may need to raise the temperature, or there may not be enough sugar in them, this can happen when using a sugar substitute also

your cookies have a sugar crust-either you didn’t mix them right, or there’s too much sugar

your cookies are hard-you probably baked them too long or at too low of a temperature. The recipe could also be off. If they still taste good tell everyone you were trying a new shape for biscotti and have them dip them in milk or coffee.

your cookies are dry-you probably baked them too long or at too low of a temperature, it could also be the recipe. Again if they taste good go with the biscotti story.

your cookies spread out too much-this could be from too low of a baking temperature, not pre-heating (shame on you, you know your recipe said to pre-heat and if it didn’t, well now you know for next time), you may have over greased your pan, just calm it down a little next time and don’t get crazy with the spray, you may also be over-creaming

your cookies don’t spread (and they should)-you may have your oven temperature too high, you may need more grease on your pan, your recipe may be off

I hope that after reading this article all of your cookie dreams come true. Happy baking!

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