Monday, 1 December 2008

DO YOU LIKE 'EM SOFT OR HARD?

ah. decisions, decisions. So what do you prefer? Soft or hard?

COOKIES, that is, folks.

Get you mind out of the gutter, people.
and take the poll in the sidebar!

the MS cranberry oatmeal cookie baked to recipe specifications: large, soft and slightly chewy

I receive those newsletters from MSLO with the "Cookie of the Day" recipes. The other day when I saw a recipe for Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies, I immediately thought of the crispy chewy oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies I make all the time and I love so much. I rushed my butter out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. I noticed the recipe called for the dough to also "rest" for at least 2 hours or preferably, overnight. Drat. The earliest I could eat the cookie would be around 10pm, I thought. Better let it rest overnight...because then the flavours meld so much better.

Soft or hard? Well, for me, it depends on the type of cookie. We're not even counting specialty cookies such as macarons and madeleines (which are really little cakes). These specialty cookies of course, I love as they are. I'm talking about good ol' after-school cookies. Cookies you have with milk and cookies you reach for when you're feeling blue. In general, I like crispy/chewy over soft and cakey cookies. The one huge exception is chocolate chip/chunk cookies. I like my chocolate chip cookies to be large and slightly underbaked and with huge chunks of chocolate--no nuts! I don't want anything distracting me from my enjoyment of the chocolate chunks!

I have found through trial and error that if I bake cookies a little more golden brown (even past recommended baking times in recipes), the flavour of the cookies is much better. This is especially true if you're using quality butter and other ingredients. I have been leaning towards using organic unbleached flours and organic evaporated cane sugar (bulk and from Costco!) Hey, I'm not made of money, you know.

With this recipe, I made a double batch as usual and upon taking the first sheet of cookies from the oven, I realized that these oatmeal cookies were not crispy and chewy at all. These cookies were large and soft...but beautiful in their own way. The cookies had a hint of cinnamon and unbeknownst to my little one, I made a healthy adaptation by adding a huge scoop (1/3 cup) of finely ground flaxseed into the cookie dough. hee hee. None the wiser. My daughter loved them and her preference is for soft cakey cookies anyway. You could not even detect any flaxseed flavour.

Feeling kind of bummed that I didn't get the satisfying crunch I was yearning for, I thought about the cookies for a minute and realized that all I had to do was use the same technique I usually use to make my oatmeal cookies crispy. I gathered up half the dough and made logs. Then I wrapped the logs in parchment and rolled them tightly to ensure the dough was round and compacted. I twisted the ends of the parchment and stuck the log in the freezer. After the log was frozen, I took my serrated bread knife and cut thin disks from the log. I lowered the temperature of the oven to 325 degrees F and baked them longer...for 20-25 minutes. The cookies were a deep golden brown (but not burnt)!
slicing the cold cookie dough logs creates crunchy oatmeal cranberry cookies with a cool mosaic effect (whew! that was an alliterative mouthful!)

Upon looking at the cookies, I smiled smugly to myself and realized that this technique yielded the type of oatmeal cookie I liked: crispy, and slightly chewy. They weren't rock hard, but light and crunchy. The toasted oats took on a more nutty aroma and the cranberries were bursts of chewy tartness.

baking cookies at a lower temperature for a longer time allows the sugars to caramelize. big yum-factor!

So now, I only need one recipe for oatmeal cookies and I can get 2 totally different tasting cookies. What a deal! You needn't compromise! Everyone gets what they want! Now how great is that?

17 comments:

Manggy said...

For me, it'll always be soft and chewy (dunno about cakey). I have nice teeth, it's just that it feels kinda more luxurious that way :) But I'd have it any way with your cookies ;) Hmm, maybe I should try browning the butter before I add it to the batter...

Manggy said...

Grr, blogger threw away my comment! Anyway, I like my cookies soft and chewy (dunno about cakey)... Feels more luxurious that way. But I've have them any way as long as you make them! ;)

Mary said...

yummy...i like these crunchy !

v@le said...

mi ispirano entrambi i biscottini!!!
che belli
ciao
vale

Y said...

Crispy AND chewy sounds pretty darn good to me!

eatme_delicious said...

Ooo yum good experimenting! I'll have to try that out.

Sere said...

undoubtedly I prefer them hard ^_^
*_* I'm craving for cookies...
must bake them when I'm at home... ^_^ thanks for all the good advice you are always giving us!

Snooky doodle said...

wow I like all cookies but I think i ll prefer the crispier ones . I ll try the method you describe . they look so so good :)

Maria said...

Nice title..ha! I love them soft, but it depends on the cookie!! Both look great!

Jenny Tan said...

Hi, just wanna tell you I really enjoy your blog. This is an award to pass it on to you. :)

http://my-2-little-monkeys.blogspot.com/2008/12/award-yiiippeee-p.html

Sara said...

I love soft cookies, although I'd never turn down a cookie no matter the consistency!

Roberta e Chiara said...

Hi, I like so much biscuits and I add your blog in to my preferites. Bye Bye Roberta

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Well i liked your description of the cookies and liked your cranberry oatmeal cookies done so well, as far as hard and soft cookies are concerned, i think sometimes it depends on the moods...strange answer, isnt it !

v@le said...

hello! Your blog is very beatiful... If you want I can translate some recipes.
Thank you,
see you soon
Valentina

The Blonde Duck said...

I like them soft! Yum yum yum!

Premyscakes said...

Soft or hard taste matters. Ha Ha, just luvd going thru your blog, interesting. catch u later.

Kevin said...

Those look good! I like cookies to be slightly crisp on the edges and soft a chewy on the inside.

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