It can generally go without saying that everyone loves to eat cookies every once in a while. Cookies are an incredibly versatile dessert that can be made in any number of ways.
From the number of different flavors to the countless different types of cookies to choose from, the choices of what you can get are practically endless.
If you enjoy baking, you know that making sure your cookies turn out the way you want them to is a lot easier said than done. Baking, in itself, involves a lot of precise measurements.
If you don’t get exactly the right amount of ingredients into the cookies, they won’t turn out the way you want, which is something that nobody wants to have happen.
With this being said, if you are somewhat new to the idea of baking cookies, you may not know what to do to get the exact texture and taste that you want. There are a few different ways that you can go about finding the right recipe, but there’s always going to be the chance that something goes wrong.
One part of being a good baker is knowing how to fix mistakes when they happen, as they are going to happen often when you are first learning how to bake.
One of the most common mistakes that you will encounter is the cookie not being the right texture. More often than not, it ends up being too hard for your taste, but for people who enjoy crispy cookies, there’s a chance that your cookie recipes can end up being too chewy or too soft for your liking.
Thankfully, there are a few different ways that you can fix this issue.
First things first, you should have a good understanding of why your cookies may not be the right consistency. Understanding what went wrong will help you have a good idea for what you can do next time to ensure that, even if it does happen, you will know how to counteract it.
What Causes a Soft Cookie?
The texture of a cookie is based on a number of different parts of the baking process. For one, the amount of flour you use will determine what kind of structure the cookie has.
From there, the fat and sugar in the cookie will also determine just how hard or soft the cookie is. Most recipes that make soft cookies use less flour and more white sugar to obtain the soft texture.
For harder cookies, or even just cookies that aren’t as soft, you will want to do the opposite of these things. Doing this will often provide you with the cookie consistency that you are looking for.
However, it is important to remember that you shouldn’t try to alter the recipe too much, as this can lead to other things going wrong with the cookie.
Ruling Out the Equipment
Another thing that you are going to want to pay attention to is the equipment that you are using to bake the cookies. Even if you get the recipe perfectly right, if there is something wrong with the equipment, then there’s a good chance you won’t get the cookies you want.
One way to know that the equipment is at fault is if you have used this recipe before and it has produced the cookies you want, but this time it isn’t, even if you followed the instructions exactly.
One common trick to hardening soft cookies is to simply stick them back in the oven for a little bit longer. You will want to keep a close eye on them to make sure that they only harden and that they do not begin to overbake and burn.
Doing this can easily fix a set of soft cookies, turning them into the hardened cookies that you are looking to make. Similarly, you can also cook at a slightly lower temperature for a longer time to produce a hard texture.
You will also want to make sure that you are using an aluminum tray to bake your cookies on. The insulated baking sheet usually creates softer cookies that may not be baked evenly, and this is not what you want.
The thin, aluminum baking sheets are known for not only cooking things more evenly, but they can also help the cookies become crispier on the outside.
Fixing the Ingredients
Now that you are certain that it is not the equipment that you are using that is causing the problem, you can begin making changes to the recipe to ensure that the cookies are harder the next time you make them.
Aside from baking the cookies for a few more minutes, it is hard to change the consistency of a batch that has already been prepared, as a lot of the cookie’s texture will come from the ingredients.
One thing you can consider doing is adding more flour to the dough before you bake it. Flour is known for providing a structure to baked goods, so when you add it to cookies, it helps to give the cookies a firmer texture. This also helps them become crispier when they bake, further hardening the outside of your dessert.
You can also remove some of the fat from your cookie, as this can soften it up a little bit. Remember that fat is an important component in the chemistry of baking though, so you can’t reduce it by too much.
When trying to alter the texture of your cookies, a good rule of thumb to go by is to not remove more than ¼ to ½ a cup of fat to ensure that your cookie will still have the ingredients to bake properly.
For the sugar, you can consider replacing some of the brown sugar you typically use in cookies with white sugar. Much like additional fat, brown sugar is a component used to soften cookies and add more flavor to them.
If you aren’t looking for soft cookies, then you should minimize the amount of brown sugar you use in them. You will still want to keep a small amount of brown sugar in the recipe, simply because it helps assist with the flavor of the cookie.
You can also consider adding an egg to your cookie recipe. Keep in mind that too much egg will turn the recipe into more of a cake-like consistency, but a small amount of egg will help your cookie turn out the way you want it to.
More specifically, high-protein egg whites are what you are going to want to look for.
High-protein egg whites provide a considerable amount of texture to the foods they are added into, and cookies are no exception to this rule. If you want your cookie to be chewier but still have a crisp, hard texture, you may want to consider searching for egg whites to add to your ingredient list.
Altering the recipe in these ways can help you achieve the cookies that you have been looking for, and it will help you know what to do next time you want to make sure that your cookies turn out crisp and tasty.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.