Sunday, February 5, 2017

Baking cookies tips

Good news, my chinese new year cookies business is a huge success! I got good feed backs from customers who ordered it. Although non of my customers are my fabulous buddies or close friends, God had blessed me with many other leads. My mum's colleague even helped to sell at her stall. So yeah, thank God!

So here, I wanna share a few baking tips to ya'll so that you can learn to bake at home as well.

If you think that baking cookies is just as simple as a 2 minute video, dumping all the ingredients into a bowl, giving it a quick mix, popping it into the oven, and expect lovely desired cookies, then think again.

Although I have never taken any formal baking class, but according to my years of experience of baking cookies, it definitely requires more than that.

So beginner bakers, heads up, I'm gonna give you a few tips on how to make the perfect cookies which suit your taste.

Ingredients
This is the pivotal factor of how your cookies are going to turn out. There are thousands of recipe on the internet, we often follow the recipe on top of the google search, cause we just assumed that that's the most popular recipe and it must be good. Hell no. I've tried a lot of popular internet recipes and failed many times. Wasted my time, energy and all my precious ingredients. But hey, that's how I found out which is good and bad.

If you want crispy cookies, avoid finding recipes with eggs, brown sugar, self-raising flour, sodium bicarbonate and baking powder. These ingredients make your cookies texture cake-y. You may find that most western cookies recipes taste too sweet, so cut down a bit of the sugar, say 20-30g, but not too much, cause that's what make the cookies crispy.

South east asia countries and western countries has different take on their cookies. We asians like crumbly melt in your mouth type cookies like the pineapple tart. So for these type of texture, find recipes with potato starch or corn starch.

Temperature
Talking about temperature, this is another crucial part of the entire baking process. Different oven has different heat level. If your cookies didn't turn out right despite following every instructions, then there's a huge possibility you're using the wrong temperature. OR, another possibility is that you're residing in a very hot country like Malaysia. So yeah, adjust accordingly.

If you find that your batter is too sticky and can't be shaped, that's because the butter in the batter has melted, your cookies will turn out very flat. You don't want that, so just pop the batter into the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes until the batter is firm enough to be shaped.
Therefore you don't wanna follow exactly the recipe's temperature.

All I can say is keep on trying and adjusting. Remember to preheat your oven, cold oven is a big NO NO. One more thing, be sure to check the temperature used is in Fahrenheit or Celsius. I once burnt my souffle because of using the wrong metric. Just use google to convert.

Measurements
Baking is different with cooking, everything needs to be precise. So if it says 150g, then 150g. I once accidentally added 30g extra of corn starch into my cookie batter, guess what, my whole cookie crumbled before I could hold it in my hand. I would suggest using recipes measured in grams instead of cups, cause every cup is slightly different, some are square, some are long, some are round. Eggs are also a major factor in determining your batter consistencies. Large eggs produced more fluid batter while small eggs otherwise. So yeah, follow the ingredients and instructions. If the cookies are not good after many trials, you can throw away that recipe. Hey, life is all about trying right?

Size
As they say, size matters! So does baking. The size of your cookies determines the time taken to be baked. Usually the recipe will tell you to bake 15-20 minutes for cookies. However, if your cookies are petite, you might wanna reduce it to 10-11 minute. Hence it all depends. Be sure to set the alarm clock. 30 second makes huge different. Over baked cookies will burnt while under baked cookies will not crisp up. I once busy washing the dishes until I totally forgot my cookies. All burnt.

Here's another general tip, whichever country you are from, I would suggest you to refer to a local recipe cause it is written by the local chefs who knew the country's temperature, available ingredients and what suit your taste. Don't be sad if your cookies didn't turn out right on the first time, the first batch is always a failure. Trust me, I've been there before.

In a nutshell, baking needs patient and lots of love. Sometimes you gotta pray to the God of cookies so that your cookies will turn out perfect.
Happy baking =)

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