Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Salt & Baking Soda Make a Difference

These cookies are from the same batch of dough.
The cookie in the upper right corner is missing salt & baking soda.  Ick.

I knew that it was true that salt makes a big difference in the flavor of foods, but I really don't experiment much to see what food is like with little to no salt.  Last night, though, I made a quick batch of Shakespeare Oatmeal Cookies.  They didn't look at all like the cookies I'd made days before with the same recipe.  The were much paler, puffier, and just all-around anemic looking.  Weird.  Fortunately, I don't bake all of my cookie dough at once.  I leave most in the fridge and bake fresh cookies as "needed."  When I tasted a cookie in the morning, it was a little hard, and had a harsh sugary flavor.  I thought about where I might have gone wrong.  I knew I had added brown sugar as well as white sugar...  It was when I looked at my measuring spoons that I realized that I had added the spices to the dry ingredients, but not the salt or baking soda.

I took the remaining dough out of the fridge and let it soften a little.  Then back into the Kitchen Aid mixer bowl it went, along with almost a teaspoon each of salt & baking soda (I'd baked about 9 cookies in the first batch).  After quickly mixing in the missing ingredients, I returned the dough to its plastic container and then to the fridge.

After work, I baked up some more cookies, and voila!  The soft, browned, chewy cookies I'd intended.  I'm not sure how all the chemistry works with cookie dough.  I do know, though, that salt & baking soda help make cookies delicious.  I won't be forgetting them again anytime soon.

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