Followers of this blog know I make a lot of cookies and a lot of different kinds cookies. I am told how creative I am and asked how do I come up with all my ideas. The simple answer is my mind is a scary place. There are two items I use: 1) science, and 2) art. Baking is mostly science: chemistry, heat, and the art of coaxing flavor out of ingredients. In my baking I have found that cookies fit into five categories which I will describe below. Now, if I missed a cookie dough style, I hope I don’t offend any cookie dough I may have forgotten to mention.
- Sugar cookie – This is the most used; it covers decorated cookies, pinwheels, cookie shooter cookies. This simple but versatile cookie always starts with creaming together butter with sugar then adding flour, leavening, and flavoring. This can also be the base for a sandwich cookie. These cookies are baked at a medium high heat.
- Snickerdoodle – This is a softer, puffier cookie. It uses shortening and baking soda with cream of tartar which helps the cookie rise so high. It also is rolled in a sugar combination. Cookies with this base are baked at a lower temperature to allow for the rise.
- Drop cookies – These are the chocolate chip, toll house style of cookies. The uniqueness of these cookies is the use of both sugar and brown sugar which allows for a nice, soft cookie. The famous peanut butter cookie is one of these cookies, but I was told that the fork marks are required. The structure also allows for the addition of nuts and other flavors like cherries and other stone fruits. The leavening is usually baking soda with the acid coming from eggs.
- Shortbread – Simple, traditional, delicious, crispy, and recently forgotten. Other than the once-a-year Girl Scout fix, they are seldom seen. They also appear around the holidays at your oldest aunt’s house. Although they have humble ingredients (butter, sugar, and flour), there is a high skill level to achieve perfection.
- Macarons – These are egg-
- based meringue cookies. The combinations are endless, and the flavor can be as unique as your imagination. They are a skill-based cookie and something I have struggled with. Don’t try to make these with high humidity – they will collapse.
I hope you will enjoy cookies in all forms.