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Restoring Cookies That Have Become Hard

You might have had this experience: You make and bake a batch of delicious, soft, moist cookies and put them into a cookie jar. A few days later, you pull out a cookie and try to take a bite, but you nearly break your jaw and teeth because the cookie has the consistency of seasoned cement. The cookies seem harder than the stones David used to slay Goliath. They only seem edible if you dip them in coffee or milk. The solution is really simple; restore the cookies.

There is nothing wrong with dipping cookies in milk or coffee. However, some people don’t want to do that, or perhaps they have no milk to use and don’t want to make coffee just so they can eat cookies. Thankfully, the fix is quite simple.

Cookies that are meant to be soft and moist often become hard, even if they are correctly stored in an airtight container. This is particularly true of cookies that contain brown sugar, but it is true of other cookies as well. The reason they get hard is that the cookies dry out. The same thing will happen to brown sugar after a while, even if it hasn’t been used to bake anything.

The solution for the hard cookies, as well as the hard brown sugar, is to restore the moisture content. Really, this is all you are doing when you dip the cookies in coffee or milk if you think about it.

To restore that moisture, add a slice of bread to the cookies (or brown sugar) in the airtight container. Wait a few hours to a day and you might be surprised that the cookies or brown sugar have been restored and are soft again.

What happens is this. Bread, despite appearances, has a high moisture content. A moisture content of 40% isn’t unusual for bread. This is especially true of store-bought bread, which was put in bags as soon as it was baked and cooled, retaining the moisture. When a slice of that bread is put in with the cookies or brown sugar, the bread gives up its moisture readily. The cookies or brown sugar are ‘moisturized’, so they become soft again.

This works really well with cookies that were made to be soft and moist, but it will even work with many cookies that were hard, to begin with. The harder cookies may never be truly soft and moist, but they will usually become softer and moister than they originally were.

This is, of course, at the expensive of the bread, which will dry out and become hard. That isn’t a problem, though, and it doesn’t need to be wasteful. The dried out bread can be crushed and used for recipes that call for bread crumbs. The crushed bread crumbs are fantastic when used to make fried chicken or pork chops. In fact, the bread can even be broken up and used as croutons. The best part is that the bread dries out much faster than it would if you left it out specifically for drying it at room temperature.

The point is that it is easy to restore the softness in cookies, it isn’t expensive, and it takes less time that a person might think. There also isn’t any waste. Personally, I have a fondness for soft cookies.

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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10 Comments

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  1. This is a great tip and those cookies in the photo look very toothsome! I am very interested in tips like this as I have written a cookery book I am trying to get published, so these kind of pointers are very valuable inclusions.

  2. My grandmother taught me this trick many years ago. She always put a piece of bread, covered by a paper towel and then the cookies. They never last long enough in our house to have used the trick. Thanks for reminding me!

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