Adventures in Ratio Baking: Cookies…Didn’t Go So Well

I love making cookies. I love making them more than I love making cakes. So, why weren’t cookies the first things I tried to ratio bake? Well, the cake ratio was easier.

The ratio for a cookie is 3:2:1, flour to fat to sugar.

It’s simple enough, but my brain can’t function when it comes to numbers. I tried to puzzle out what the 3:2:1 would look like in measurements and just got really confused. That’s why I started with cakes. The 1:1:1:1 was harder to mess up.

A few months later, I was confident with the cakes, had even figured out the slightly more complicated ratio for the high ratio cakes, so I felt ready to tackle the cookie. Also, I really wanted a cookie, and my brain was whirling with ideas of what kinds of cookies I wanted to try.

It was time to test out the cookie ratio.

Um, eggs?

The first thing I noticed about the cookie ratio was that it did not have anything to do with eggs. Now, I’ve baked a lot of chocolate chip cookies, and a decent amount of oatmeal raisin, and I remembered there were always eggs. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why eggs were left out of the ratio.

Egg usage required some research. Wait. I lied. A lot of research. Actually, I still need to read up on it more. A lot more. I get that eggs are important and help bind the ingredients together and there are special things that the egg proteins do, but it’s not something I’ve been able to wrap my head around yet.

That means it was time to (cautiously) experiment with two eggs. That seemed to be the right amount based on other cookie recipes I’ve used. I just crossed my fingers it wasn’t a bad idea, and made sure to keep an eye on how liquidy or thick the dough looked.

Hmm, baking soda or baking powder?

Seriously, don’t ask me. I know either or both can be used. At least, that’s what all of my reading on it said. They do different things, with baking powder leading to cakier cookies. Baking soda requires an acid to work, and I just recently discovered brown sugar has the right acidic ingredient to make it work.

As for how much, your guess is as good as mine right now. I’m sticking with a teaspoon. Also, don’t ask me which is better to use. I still haven’t figured that out, either. Though, if you want a puffier, cakier cookie, I’d err on the side of using baking powder.

And the salt?

Seriously, how could all these ingredients be so important to cookies and yet be left out of the ratio?! It’s mind boggling!

Salt helps cut through all the sweet, so I guess it isn’t strictly necessary for less sweet cookies? I don’t know. Please don’t ask. But most of the recipes I’ve used over the years have used salt. So, I add a bit of salt. Just a teaspoon or less because I really have no idea how much.

Are you sensing a theme here yet?

This cookie ratio is extremely basic, and so unhelpful it isn’t even funny.

The first attempt

Ah, what you might have been here to find out about in the first place!

Yes, I tested out the ratio. No, I didn’t only add flour, fat, and sugar. I have no idea what that might have yielded, but it did not sound delicious to me. Instead, I made funny faces while haphazardly measuring out teaspoons or so of baking powder and salt, and scrunched my face as I added two eggs and prayed it wouldn’t be a disaster.

It was…interesting. Definitely a lot drier than I expected, but, since it had all the basics, I figured it would be edible. I added some sprinkles just to jazz it up a bit, and maybe entice my kids to try them.

I was really hoping they would spread, but they didn’t. They got nice and puffy. I guess that’s because of the baking powder. Also, the baking temperature and baking time were complete guesses, based on the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe.

So, what kind of cookie do you get when you follow the cookie ratio and toss in the other basic cookie ingredients?

Ratio Baking cookies

A shortbread cookie!

Yup, shortbread. I don’t like shortbread. It’s too dry for me. And not sweet enough. Hence the 1 part sugar to the 3 parts flour. I should have had a feeling it would turn out that way.

Well, if you like shortbread, take the ratio and run with it. If you don’t, well, I’m afraid I’m of extremely little help right now. I’m just playing with the chocolate chip cookie recipe while I try to figure out more ratios, if there are any. I guess there are just too many types of cookies (you know, rolled, drop, shaped, shortbread, filled, etc.)

I hope it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, but I’m shelving cookies right now. Bread and cake are so much easier. And I’m kind of itching to try pie.

Enjoy more of my adventures in ratio baking or check out my recipes over in the Kitchen.

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