So Iâ€™ve been wondering if my hormones are out on the rampage these days or I just seriously have to go into sugar rehab! Because for the life of me, I cannot seem to stop craving for cookies!Â I might as well grow some blue fur and a pair of big wobbly eyeballs. I have literally tried to stop passing through the cookie aisle at the supermarket and turn a blind eye at those big chunky cookies staring at me from the counters of these very evil coffee chains. But, I am only human … and I haz moments of falters.
The cookie kiosks I have pretended to ignore while gallivanting the malls with my South African buddy ( and former boss … yeah, we were skipping work! Haha..) has ingrained graphic images of thick, chunky, soft and chewy cookies in my head all these months and sent me on a downward spiral of a major lusting for him … Â I mean for cookies!
With all that pent up frustration … ON THE COOKIES â€“ Â yes the cookies … stay with me here … I was dead set on a mission to figure out what makes a perfect cookie.Â Well, my ultimate cookie fix is a good chunky oatmeal cookie packed with a wonderful mix of textures. Â Armed with a reliable basic recipe that I used for my very first attempt at baking cookies, and just a mental list of ingredients Â … off I went to raid the supermarket.
What exactly is the anatomy of a perfect cookie?Â Letâ€™s dissect the basic ingredients:
- Butter – donâ€™t substitute margarine for butter, nor is it wise to use butter in a tub. Always use a real stick of cold butter. Margarine and spreadable butter melt easily due to more water content resulting in thin dough and flat cookies.
- Sugar â€“ increase the ratio of brown sugar with white sugar. If your recipe calls for 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar, add Â¼ cup brown sugar and decrease white sugar to Â½ cup. Brown sugar has more moisture that contributes to the chewy factor in cookies.
- Flour â€“ be mindful to measure the correct amount of flour, more flour doesnâ€™t mean more cookies.Â More flour means gluten, and the golden rule for gluten when you want flaky crusts in pies, fluffy pancakes and cakes, and soft chewy cookies, is to keep the gluten from getting overworked. Donâ€™t over mix and rest the dough prior to baking. Stick the batter in the refrigerator to cool for 20 minutes or so before you start scooping and lining the sheets.
- Eggs â€“ preferably use cold eggs. Warm ingredientsÂ give you a warmer dough that spreads faster in the oven
- Baking powder/Baking Soda â€“ always make sure they are not expired. These leavening ingredients totally affect the end result of anything you bake.
These make up for your basic cookie dough and all you need is whatever tickles your fancy to dump into that bowl to make your sweet dream come true. Here are some delightful treats you can play with:
- Oatmeal â€“ use rolled oats or quick cooking oats. Instant oats donâ€™t do much for texture and flavour.
- Nuts â€“ chop them instead of pounding on them or tossing them into the processor.
- Dried Raisins/Sultanas, Cranberries, Cherries, Blueberries â€“ Rehydrate them in some water to plump them back up.
- Peanut Butter â€“ yes, peanut butter in cookies is the bomb! You can use chunky peanut butter, or if youâ€™re going all in with your binge, get at that bag of Reeseâ€™s peanut butter cups and chop â€˜em up chunky … then donâ€™t ever look back!
- Chocolate â€“ milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, mocha, bittersweet, semi â€“sweet …chips or you can opt to use chunky bits.
- Coconut â€“ you read that right, coconut! About Â¼ cup does the trick to thicker dough. You wonâ€™t even know itâ€™s there! But, your hips, thighs and buns probably will.
Now youâ€™re ready to rumble without the crumble! Mind your oven temps and keep an eye on your cookies making sure not to over bake them. Under cooking them for 2 minutes or so and leaving them to set in the sheets before cooling them in the rack also does the trick to softer cookies.
Life sans a live-in nanny over the past 8 months has left me with just about zero energy to even want to eat , let alone bake cookies — where I have to drag myÂ displaced oven thatâ€™s been sitting on the floor ever since a good Chiquita of mine asked me to adopt it. But, nothing stops a battalion of raging hormones and a lustful craving for cookies in my book! So hey, I had four dozens of them chewy, chunky cookies Â quietly stored in my cookie jar … eagerly awaiting my sonâ€™s delightful smile each time his hand gets caught in it. Half of them are gone now, and Iâ€™m not telling how many I had â€“ but, I have yet to inspect any blue fur growing on me and hide the weighing scale … because they’re so chunkie I’m gonna die!
Photo Credit: Norwichnuts
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