Saturday, October 24, 2009

How to Create Your Own Cookie Recipe

A few years ago, Mrs. Fields and ivillage hosted a cookie contest to celebrate Mrs. Fields 30th anniversary. Prompted by my friends, I decided to enter. I was careful to start experimenting early, and submit ahead of the deadline, but somehow my entry was never accepted into circulation. I like to believe that surely, if my entry had made it into the contest, I would have won!

My entry: Campfire Cookies, the host recipe for August's recipe swap.


If nothing else, I learned how simple and easy it is to create your own recipe. It may seem daunting, but by following these simple steps, you can create a fail proof recipe every time!


How to Create Your Own Cookie Recipe:
Basic Rule #1: Every recipe needs three basic components - fat, sugar, & flour

Fat is what keeps the cookie chewy, as opposed to crunchy; the less fat, the less chewy the cookie. Fat also adds flavor and helps to bind the ingredients. Fat can be used as butter, shortening or oil.


Sugar
, in addition to lending an excellent sweet flavor in cookies, reacts during the cooking process to provide structure and in stabilizing the other ingredients during baking.

Flour
is a main component in most recipes, it is the real stabilizer and thickener. It holds everything together, increases the volume of a dough or batter, and assists the cookie in rising during baking. A lesser known fact is that flour can be created from any high protein ingredient simply by grinding it down to a fine powder, such as oatmeal, rice or nuts.


Basic Rule #2:
Cookies require equal parts fat and sugar

This rule should not be diverted from by more or less than ¼ cup and is important to the overall taste and structure of a cookie.


Basic Rule #3:
The ratio of flour to fat should be double

Depending on altitude, this rule can be tricky. Higher altitudes traditionally require more flour, so it is best to start with an equal ratio and add flour until the dough is slightly tacky; when you touch the dough it should stick to your fingers, but should not remain stuck. Too little flour will result in cookies that do not hold their shape and spread, while too much flour will result in thick tasteless cookies-better to err on the side of too little.


Basic Rule #4
: Cookies need a rising agent

Baking soda and baking powder can be used interchangeably in cookies, and react with the flour as a leavener and acid neutralizer when interacting with fluids. Cream of tartar can be substituted as a rising agent as well.


Basic Rule #5:
Cookies need a binding agent

Frequently this agent is employed by the egg, but honey, or pure fruit juice can do the trick as well. Not much is needed, one or two tablespoons should suffice.


Basic Rule #6:
Order matters

Fat and sugars should be creamed first to incorporate the two; the binding agent should be added next to facilitate a precursor for the leavening agent; and lastly all flours and leavening ingredients should be added lastly in one motion to ensure complete integration into the dough.


Basic Rule #7:
Be creative!

Additions bear little consequence on the final product as they don't react necessarily to the ingredients as a whole. Chocolate, Raisins, Fruit, Nuts: Throw them in!


And that, is how it's done: How to Create Your Own Cookie Recipe!

37 Sweet Talkers:

Lois Grebowski said...

::DROOL::

Did you say something? I was too busy looking at the yummy cookie pictures! LOL!

Jeninator said...

You rock! Thanks for the tips. I especially love the tip about the binding ingredient and knowing I don't have to use eggs- my daughter is allergic to eggs so now I can substitute ingredients for her! Thanks!

Benj and Melinda said...

Very cool. All things I did not know... I can be more creative now when making cookies. You are amazing.

Carin said...

I think Mrs Fields was really just afraid of the composition!
I know I submitted an original recipe to the Quaker oats contest and never heard a word and now that recipe is on the boxes of oats hmmmm! Oh well

Evan said...

THANK YOU!!! Where did you find this info? And how can I learn how to make my own cake recipe? That is what I have wanted to know since I started baking. Please help!

LOUDnPROUD♥MÓKneeKah said...

omg,you are awesome!i am not a very good baker but I will definitely have to try something from here!thanks for sharing.
I found you from Tip Junkie!!!

Barbara said...

Great lesson in cookie-making! You make it sound so simple- I know it isn't. So much of it is creative- I'm not so great at that. I can alter recipes but make a new one from scratch? I don't know. You've given me courage to at least try!

Breanne said...

That is array of the most delicious looking cookies I have ever seen. I am now in serious need of some warm, chewy cookie goodness. I hope that the apple crisp I am making for dinner will hit the spot.

Nikki said...

Hey there! This is great information! I've been thinking about how one would attempt such a thing, and it seemed impossible, but now not so much. I didn't realize that it was so simple really to start with a fat, a sugar and flour. Really cool! You've got yourself a follower!

Thanks for stopping by and for you comment on Frugal tips Friday:)

Tracy @ Sugarcrafter said...

Great post! Love all the steps...will have to put them to use soon. :-)

Pamela said...

I am horrible at making cookies from a recipe let alone my own. Thanks for the tips, but I think I will just eat yours instead!!!

Lucy said...

This post was really interesting to read - thankyou! Plus I enjoyed all the yummy cookie photos :)

Anonymous said...

Ooooo this is cool. I have my recipe all written out to try. :D wish me luck

Cindy B. said...

I just became a new follower today, and this was the first thing that got my attention. Thank for sharing.

Adam said...

Great tips! For rule 7 # creative - it can be a little daunting trying to think of what flavors to include. I'd say keep the number of flavor combinations to a minium 2-3 but make sure they play off each other. E.g.

Banana and Walnuts, Blackberry and Chocolate, Honey and Apricot etc.

Try using google to search for an ingredient you'd definately like to use and see what other ingredients appear in the recipe titles for ideas. E.g. Coconut and Banana.

You can also checkout our (free) online flavor thesaurus to find great matches to all your favourite ingredients at www.soflavorlicious.com

Maddie said...

Wow! This was soo helpful! Thank you so much. I will definitely tell you how it went after I made them. If they turn out good you can look for them on my blog: sweeetcooker.blogspot.com
Thanks again, Maddie

Shelly said...

This is just the confidence boost that I needed! Great information! I even posted it on Facebook for others who need help like me :) Thank you!!!

Tina said...

Wow! I've always wondered how you invent your own recipe. That's awesome! Thanks so much :)

Joanna Rodriguez said...

Thank you so much for this information! I've been baking since I was little with my mom, but never knew why or how all of the ingredients came together the way they did. I've always wanted to create my own cookie recipe,but had no idea how to start. This is very helpful. Do you have any information on general baking? I also like to make cakes, do the same rules apply for cake making? Thank you again!

Fahrenheit 350° said...

Thank YOU Joanna! I've wanted to write a How To: Cake post for sometime now, I'll focus on that and hopefully have it up in the next month or so. Thanks for your interest!

Fahrenheit 350° said...

Yes, absolutely! However, you'll want to keep the ratio at half/half so that you get a good balance. Half peanut butter, half butter/crisco/oil. Sounds delicious!

Marisa said...

When you say use equal amounts, is that by weight or volume? Thanks!

Fahrenheit 350° said...

Thanks for your interest, Marisa! You can choose either/or. Just be consistent and use the same method for every ingredient. You can't use volume for some ingredients and weight for others. Can't wait to hear what recipes you come up with!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Thank you for this valuable information. I am a good baker, but can only follow receipies. Now I want to branch out to competitions, and I really will put this info to good use. Good for you for sharing this, and wish me luck! :)

Creative Me said...

Thank you!

This helped me a lot I am trying to make some for the first time. I have a friend allergic to sugar, flour and eggs. So I used banana, oil, honey, oats and cashews. they are in the oven I hope they turn out.

Fahrenheit 350° said...

That sounds delicious! I'd love to read your recipe and hear how they turned out!

Mehreen Ahmed said...

Hi! I want the base of my cookie to be chocolate, so should I use cocoa powder in addition to these steps, or should I substitute one of the ingredients? Thanks so much!

Fahrenheit 350° said...

Cocoa powder is used as both a type of flour, and an extra flavor. Reduce the flour by a little, but generally it's just going to be something you add it. Follow the rule for adding flour to ensure your dough is just slightly tacky. Have fun with it!

Anonymous said...

Equal parts of fat and sugar in terms of volume(cup measurements) or weight?

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