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The Secret to Making Soft Cookies

Many people prefer cookies that are soft and chewy as opposed to crisp or brittle. The secret to making cookies that turn out soft and chewy isn’t complex or difficult. Then again, it also really isn’t a secret, either.

Before explaining how to do it, it might be helpful to know why it works. It can make it a lot easier to retain, that way.

One very common but important ingredient in most cookies is sugar. To make refined white sugar out of sugar cane, the sugar cane is crushed and the juice is processed. During the processing, the sugar is removed and allowed to crystallize. Through processing, refined sugar is produced along with the main byproduct; molasses.

Note: The process is similar for making sugar out of sugar beets, except that the byproduct isn’t technically molasses, which comes from sugar cane.

Crystalline refined sugar has a very low moisture content. As silly as it might seem, brown sugar is simply refined sugar to which molasses has been added. Basically, the molasses is taken out in order to make white sugar and then added back in to turn the white sugar into brown sugar. 

The point of bringing up the production of brown sugar is that many cookie recipes include both kinds of sugar. When baked into cookies, white refined sugar pulls moisture away from the other ingredients and the result is crisp brittle cookies.

Just from this explanation, you’ve probably figured out the secret to soft, chewy cookies. That is, increase the amount of brown sugar in the recipe and decrease the amount of white refined sugar. It doesn’t get a lot simpler than this.

Alternately, you can add a small amount of molasses. This is an addition that isn’t strictly needed since what you are really doing when you add some molasses is that you are converting the granulated sugar into brown sugar. It comes down to doing exactly the same thing; substituting brown sugar for white sugar.

Doing this adds moisture to the cookies so they end up soft and chewy. Incidentally, you can also make your own brown sugar simply by adding molasses to granulated white sugar. This can be helpful if brown sugar isn’t sold in your area or you run out. This part would be less helpful if you have access to brown sugar already and it wouldn’t be helpful at all if you don’t have access to brown sugar and also can’t buy molasses.

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Written by Rex Trulove

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