Crisp and crunchy!  Soft and chewy!  The secret to knowing how your cookie is going to come out is in the recipe.  All cookie recipes provide clues to the final results.  It’s all in the butter, shortening and sugar ratios.

All butter  recipes tended to produce a thin and crispy cookie.

All shortening recipes yield a soft, plumpish cookie.

Brown sugar also helps produce a soft cookie.

If you want a crisp cookie on the outside and chewy-soft cookie on the inside, use a mix of butter and shortening – and a combo of brown and white sugar.

If you want a supersoft cakey cookie skip the butter and use all shortening and all brown sugar.

It’s about science.  Butter melts faster than shortening, so – in a hot oven – buttery cookies spread more quickly so they are thinner and crisper than shortening-based cookies.

Then there’s the secrets that the professionals and really good cookie bakers know.  Almost every cookie  will taste better if the dough is put in the fridge for at least 24 hours before baking.  This lets the buttery and brown sugar flavors saturate the dough.

Here’s   another secret I will share with you.  You can make your favorite chocolate chip cookies even better by doubling the amount of chocolate chips.  Stashing the dough in the fridge  overnight, and just before putting the cookies in the oven, sprinkle each one with a smidge of coarse sea salt.


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