That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles!


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Teaching resource for 4-H youth to help understand the science behind the cookie, the ingredients, the weather and more!

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That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles!

  1. 1. Know how. Know now. That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles Polk County 4-H Cookie Capers! Amy Peterson MS RD Extension Educator University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension Polk County
  3. 3. So what is impact of heat and humidity on food preparation…. in other words, the science of baking for the fair in a HOT kitchen on a HOT summer day….
  4. 4. Flours, cereals, and grains tend to absorb humidity and dry out when the weather is cold and dry. Sticky cookie dough may need 1 or 2 more tablespoons of flour.
  5. 5. Cookies are like little sponges. They absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Hot humid days can turn crispy cookies to a soggy sample in just a few hours! The most perfect cookies are thought to be between September and June – not during County Fair time!
  6. 6. Dry cookie dough might need an extra egg yolk. Water can make cookie dough too tough. The fat in the egg yolk will help keep cookie dough tender and moist.
  7. 7. Rainy or damp weather may make it more difficult to work with sugar. Damp weather may affect sugars in baked goods after they have been cooked, like in meringues, frostings or candies.
  8. 8. Creaming butter and sugar on warm, wet days may cause problems. The moisture and humidity affects how well the butter can mix together with the sugar.
  9. 9. Let’s look at the recipe and the ingredients…. Have ingredients at room temperature unless the recipe calls for something different. They will mix together better! Egg whites will absorb more air at room temperature and butter will mix better, too, at 65 – 70 F.
  10. 10. FATS  Stick Butter  Margarine  Shortening The fat in the recipe works with the gluten in the flour and helps the cookie stay moist and full of flavor. The type of fat will affect the outcome of the baked product.
  11. 11. Shortening spreads the least and provides the least amount of flavor.  It has a higher melting point, which allows cookies to have a better shape as it bakes.  Makes a puffier cookie, like a little cake.  The cookie is soft when freshly baked but dries out quickly.
  12. 12. Margarine and Oil  Margarine spreads the most with a little better  flavor. Vegetable oil makes softer cookies than butter or margarine. Do not substitute a liquid oil for solid in recipe.
  13. 13. Butter Characteristics for Cookies  Medium amount of spread with the best flavor.  Butter has a lower melting point, making cookies spread and become flatter when baking.
  14. 14.  To reduce cookie spread,    chill the dough before baking. The cold or frozen cookie dough will retain it’s shape longer when it is baking. Baking tastes better with butter! Texture is finely grained and a little crisp.
  15. 15. The type of flour determines the structure of the baked product  The amount of protein in the flour makes a difference in the texture and structure.  Bread flour can be used instead of all purpose – but it absorbs more liquid because of the higher protein content, making a moister and chewier cookie.  Cake flour has less protein, making a puffier, softer cookie.  All purpose flour is best for quick breads.
  16. 16. SUGAR! How Sweet It Is!  Sugar helps keep the baked product   tender and sweet, and helps determine how much the cookie spreads. It also causes the carmelization of the crust on baked goods. The sugar can be white sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup or other ingredients. Powdered sugar is NOT considered the type of sugar used, unless specified.
  17. 17.  Superfine sugar helps prevent cookies     from cracking on the edges. Bigger sugar particles spread less than smaller ones. White sugar makes a crispier cookie than brown sugar. Brown sugar makes a chewier and softer cookie or baked product, because it contains molasses, which absorbs more moisture. Using too much sugar in a recipe will make it get too brown!
  18. 18. Eggs  Use fresh eggs!  Use a large egg, unless specified. It equals about    ¼ cup of egg in a recipe. The liquid in the egg traps steam while cooking, which makes the cookie or quick bread puffy! Eggs help emulsify the dough, bringing the water and fat together for a creamier and smoother texture. Egg whites have a drying effect but still help make the shape or structure of the cookie.
  19. 19. Liquids  All cookies and quick breads need some kind    of liquid! Liquids help make the gluten in the flour. Liquids come from the fats in the recipe, or additional milk or water. Too much liquid will make a very poor structured cookie!
  20. 20. Leavening Agents  Baking Soda  Baking Powder  Egg Whites These work separate or together to affect the puffiness (baking powder) and color of the cookie (baking soda).
  21. 21. Flavorings  Real flavoring, versus imitation, produces a better flavor in your cookie.  Imitation flavors don’t hold up as well in frozen cookies.  Using a bit of almond flavoring can enhance the flavor of the cookie.
  22. 22. Adding in the Extras!!!      Too many chips, nuts or candies make it difficult to bake because they won’t mix well. Instant oatmeal causes mushy cookies. Raisins need to be soft and plump. Hard, dry raisins will take the moisture, leaving a harder, dryer cookie. Raisins soaked in hot water for 15 – 20 minutes before using will help prevent the cookie or bread from drying out. Use fresh nuts, or store nuts in freezer so they don’t become rancid. Use only the type of chocolate specified in the recipe!
  23. 23. Let the Judging Begin! Photo courtesy of the Lancaster County 4-H Program.
  24. 24. Evaluation of baked food exhibits are based on:      SHAPE VOLUME COLOR TEXTURE FLAVOR/AROMA Photo courtesy of the Lancaster County 4-H Program.
  26. 26. DID YOU KNOW: The word COOKIE comes from the Dutch word KOEKJE, meaning “little cake”. Most cookies are actually more like a mini pastry!
  27. 27. Cookies Can be Different! Flavor Size Texture Color
  28. 28. SHAPE Cookies need to be uniform in shape. The ingredients should be evenly mixed.
  29. 29. What Went Wrong? What Happened  Cookies ran together  Irregular shape, peaks, or cracks. Because Of  Batter spaced to closely together on baking sheet before baking. DROP COOKIES  Improper dropping of dough  Dough rolled too thick or too thin ROLLED OR REFRIGERATOR COOKIES  Dough not chilled  Thin sharp knife not used for slicing  Cutter not used for slicing
  30. 30. VOLUME Cookies should have medium height for volume, depending on type of cookie. It should have an even contour.
  31. 31. What Went Wrong? What Happened Because Of      Flat Uneven in size Excessive spreading Expired baking powder Varying amounts of dough used May be cause by:  Dough too warm  Cookie sheets not cooled between use.  Incorrect oven temperature  Liquid not measured correctly  Flour not measured accurately  Incorrect form of fat used, such as melted, whipped, or oil form.
  32. 32. COLOR Cookies should be evenly browned and uniform in color.
  33. 33. What Went Wrong? What Happened   Too dark Pale on top, burned on bottom   Dark crusty edges Loose flour on top Because Of May be caused by:  Baked too long  Oven too hot  Baking sheet or pan with dark non-stick coating  Glass pan used without lowered oven temperature  For bar cookies, pan may be too deep for the amount of batter in it.  Overbaking  Poor mixing techniques
  34. 34. FLAVOR AND AROMA Cookies need to have a fresh delicate and sweet aroma that is well blended and characteristic of ingredients. It should be free of unpleasant or distracting flavors.
  35. 35. What Went Wrong? What Happened Because Of  Rancid  Rancid fat or stale ingredients  Bitter  May be caused by:  Too much baking soda or baking powder or other leavening agents  Too much or too little flavoring  Doughy, raw flavor  Underbaked or dough too stiff
  36. 36. Off Flavors and Aromas    Rancid shortening, nuts, seeds, or coconut Poor quality ingredients Too much baking powder
  37. 37. Improper storage can cause cookies to become stale and pick up other odors and flavors.
  38. 38. TEXTURE/CONSISTENCY Cookies should break apart easily when chewed, regardless of the type of cookie it is. Refrigerator cookies should be crisp and tender. Drop cookies should be moist and soft. Bar cookies should be moist and tender.
  39. 39. What went wrong? Because Of What Happened  Tough  Too much flour or dough overhandled  Sticky  Too much sugar  Dry  Too much shortening, fat, or flour  Crumbly  Too much flour  Hard   Oven too hot or baked too long Flour too high in protein
  40. 40. Know how. Know now. 4-H is a learning experience. Make it a positive one! University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  41. 41. Know how. Know now. Questions? University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  42. 42. Know how. Know now. Resources 1. 4-H Foods Judging Guide Adapted and Revised Edition, University of NebraskaLincoln Extension, 2012. 2. 2007 4-H Judges Training: Fairs, Fun and Food Safety, Amy Peterson, MS RD, Extension Educator and Nebraska 4-H Foods Superintendent. 3. Judges Guide for Foods and Nutrition Exhibits, Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, 2001. 4. Judges Training 2005 Food Safety for 4-H Judging, Quick Loaf Bread Evaluation, Sam Beattie, Food Safety Extension Specialist, Food Science and Human Nutrition. 5. Food Safety Recommendations for Acceptable Fair Exhibits, Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, 2001. 6. 2006 State Fair Foods FAQ, Iowa State Extension, 2006 University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  43. 43. Know how. Know now. That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles Polk County 4-H Cookie Capers! 4-H Foods & Nutrition Amy Peterson, MS RD, Extension Educator State Fair 4-H Foods Superintendent