Butter

Ever since the new year I have been trying to make the perfect ginger molasses cookie. Wile I have made some excellent batches, each batch I make has been slightly different. What I am looking for is a chewy rich cookie that is not caky but many of the batches have been dry and cake-like. 

So I have been trying to figure out whats been going on. I tried changing the amount of molasses which definitely did change the texture making the cookie wetter but molasses is also a powerful ingredient and can overwhelm other flavors.

I have been using and playing with two recipes one from Blue Bottle Coffee and one from Flour Bakery. Here are links to them 

http://dessertfiend.com/blog/2014/8/21/recipe-flours-ginger-molasses-cookieshttp://pixelsandcrumbs.com/blog/2013/8/14/ginger-molasses-cookies

Besides slight differences in spices, the main difference is that Flour uses egg while Blue Bottle does not. Like I said I am looking for a rich chewy cookie and egg plays a huge role in texture. Here is a good link for explaining the role of egg in baking. http://www.craftsy.com/article/purpose-of-eggs-in-baking

Now egg whites hold in air much more than the yolk. This is why when when you beat egg whites heavily they become stiff. Since I do not want a cake-like cookie, I do not want all the air pockets in the cookie. So for my recipe I am only using egg yolks. Yolks tend to be dense and provide a richer flavor which is just what I am looking for. 

The difficulty that I am facing now is with the butter. Anna our excellent new baker was explaining to me the differences between hard and melted butter in baking. When mixing butter into a batter, the texture it is at will change how much air is incorporated into the dough. A harder cooler butter will create more air pockets in the dough making the dough more cake-like. Melted butter will retain much less air creating a denser cookie. So tomorrow when I make a batch I am going make sure I am using egg yolks, (one or two I haven't decided) and melted butter. Hopefully I will have the recipe perfected soon and so you can enjoy them. 

Erik Ackley

P.S Another thing about butter is that many recipes ask for the dough to be refrigerated a few hours. Being an impatient 21 year old I do not like waiting but turns out it can make a difference. Take a look at this link if your interested in what happens to dough when it is refrigerated. 

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/the-great-cookie-experiment-chilling-the-dough-does-it-make-a-difference/