Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Problem Solving

Let's talk cookies for a minute.

I love to bake cookies. I used to always bake cookies for my friends. In college, as I had access to a kitchen, I had a deal: if you bought the chocolate chips and the sour cream, I would bake you a batch of cookies. I did this all through medical school as well. When things got hectic as I became a parent I ended up baking less and, when we moved to this house, I was never able to get the cookies right, so I gravitated away from baking those basic, lovely chocolate chip cookies everyone wanted.

Over the years since we've been here, I've chipped away at some of the problems that were making my cookies come out wrong. They were too flat, too crispy or too cakey. I was aiming for "just right," which seemed impossible. I changed the recipe from the one I liked with the sour cream to the traditional one on the packages of chocolate chips. I bought a thermometer for the oven so I could be sure the oven temperature was correct. I even learned more about baking and still, they weren't perfect.

Yesterday I was inspired to bake cookies again. I took a look at the recipe and, using my pastry school training, thought critically about the recipe. It calls for baking soda. Baking soda needs acid to work and there really isn't a lot of acid in the recipe. There was acid, certainly, in the recipe that calls for sour cream, but I wasn't using that one anymore, and I couldn't figure out where the acid was coming from. So I decided to add 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder.

And that, my friends, is what finally made the difference.
Also yesterday I made a batch of the cheese bread I like so much, using Legion and this time getting the liquid content under control. I did the same thing, using 8 ounces of Legion and reducing the flour and milk accordingly. They were perfect! 

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