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The Perfect cookie continued

There are so many factors that can change the texture, and taste of a cookie. Getting the perfect balance has to do with the recipe you choose and which type of flour, etc. that you use.

Some cookies, i.e. the ginger snap and chocolate krinkle cookies have that distinctive cracked top. How does that happen? Its all chemical reactions. Lets first examine the chemical leaveners . Which do we use? Baking soda or baking powder and why?

What reasons might there be to use both baking soda and baking powder?

To create a cookie with just the right amount of rise and the right amount of spread , sometimes it is advantageous to use both baking soda and baking powder


Most baking powder is ‘double acting’. That means that the soda is mixed with 2 acids, for 2 reactions. The 1st leavening reaction is created when the dough is mixed with liquid. The 2nd, and major reaction, takes place in the heat of the oven.. The oven’s heat evaporates the moisture in the dough and may ‘set’ the cookie prematurely (before the bubbles burst and before achieving the desired cookie spread). Because the shape of the cookie is already set, the carbon dioxide bubbles cannot burst (which is what you want) to cause more spread and a nice crackly top. Baking soda, added to the mix with liquid (before the heat of the oven), intensifies the leavening reaction before the baking, overcoming the dough setting and producing the desired spread and crackly top.

Additionally, the baking soda lowers the doughs acidity by reacting with whatever acid is present. This, too, enhances the spread and lowers the humped effect. Lower acidity weakens the dough proteins and allows the spread.

Why would someone prefer a cookie with only baking soda?

If someone prefers a flatter cookie (denser rather than puffier or more cake-like).

If someone prefers a coarser cookie (rather than more even)

So there you have it, in a cookie, chemical leaveners affect the taste, spread, and color of our cookies.


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