Baking, much more than other forms of cooking, is a science and not an art. Sure, there are plenty of opportunities to be creative and experiment when you bake but you can’t just double the amount of baking soda or flour you use just for kicks and expect the result to be any good. With this in mind, we were utterly fascinated by a lengthy essay posted over at ChefSteps that gives us the science behind baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

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We won’t spoil their recipe here but we will go over some basic science-based baking principles that we learned in their article. Here are the big ones:

  • When baking cookies, you’re best off putting key “wet” ingredients together first, which ChefSteps says are the butter and assorted sugars. The reason sugars are “wet,” in case you’re curious, is that they dissolve during baking.
  • After this, you’ll want to add your salt and baking soda and mix all the ingredients together on high in your electric mixer. The reason for this is to disperse the salt and baking soda as evenly as possible, which helps out with both the cookies’ flavor and their consistency.
  • If you find your cookies are too flat and crispy, your problem may be you have too much liquid in the mixture. One way to fix this is through sifting out egg whites and keeping only the yolk before adding them to the mix.
  • The real key is managing the ratio of liquid to flour. Too much flour will make your cookies hard and dry, while too much liquid will lead to cookies that are “either cakelike or crispy and crunchy.” ChefSteps also says you should measure out flour by weight and not through a measuring cup, as this will give you a more accurate measure of how much flour you’re really using.
  • And finally, you should make sure to chill your cookie batter for a few minutes beforehand because the chilled batter will remain compact in the oven for longer than room temperature batter.

OK, so now that you understand the basic chemical principles at work here, read ChefSteps’ full recipe for making the perfect chocolate chip cookie by clicking here.

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