The Importance Of Chilling Cookie Dough
Chilling cookie dough before baking is important for a number of reasons. This is true regardless of the type of cookies you’re making, whether they are chocolate chip, peanut butter or sugar cookies.
You’ll first want to bake a portion of the cookie dough right away without chilling it. Place the dough inside the fridge or cooler and then continue to bake your cookies for the following ten days, in spaced intervals. This will result in your cookies being roughly the same size and weight. Even better, your cookie dough which sat in the fridge will spread less; while the cookie dough that is not refrigerated will brown less.
It is best to chill cookie dough for days if possible, because otherwise you will experience diminishing returns. Dough which has been chilled will result in cookies that have a stronger flavor with darker colors. Cookies that are baked too rapidly will taste flat, and the texture will be doughy and soft as opposed to being chewy. However, cookies which are baked after they have been chilled will become chewy with greater flavor.
Why Is Chilling Cookie Dough So Effective?
There are a number of reasons why chilling cookie dough before baking is so effective. First, it solidifies fat within the cookies. During baking, the fat which is present inside chilled cookie dough will take longer to begin melting when compared to fat which is kept at room temperature. Fat that remains solid longer will result in reduced spread. Additionally, the sugar inside the dough will absorb the liquid gradually.
When the dough is baked immediately, before the sugar has had an opportunity to absorb liquid, the liquid will remain free inside the dough, which promotes spread.
The principle is the same as thick versus thin pancake batter. If you’ve got a lot of liquid in your batter, it will spread more. Also, the longer you let the cookie dough chill, the more dry it will become.
Chilling Cookie Dough Results In Greater Flavor Concentration
When dough chills, it dries. It is similar to lemonade which has been watered down; versus lemonade that has reduced water. The watered down lemonade will have a dull flavor, while the lemonade with reduced water will have a flavor which is tangy and bright. The same principle applies to cookies.
When dough rests, a portion of its flavor will actually break down into a part which includes sugar. Because sugar enhances flavor (like salt) your cookies will taste better and sweeter.
A final thing to mention is the texture itself. The texture will change as a result of the drying, not the chilling. This is because drier dough leads to a greater concentration of sugar, and the higher sugar content results in cookies that are chewier or crispier than dough that has a softer texture. By following these steps and chilling your dough you will bake cookies that are simply unforgettable.