As the holidays quickly approach, one thing most holiday menus have is cookies! The world of cookies is endless; and it feels like families have drifted away in preparing traditional family recipes. This post, hopefully inspires you to start the journey of creating your own family cookie recipe. This is something the whole family can be involved in.
The Perfect Secret Family Cookie Recipe...
your own family cookie recipe is not as difficult as you might think.
First thing as a family, you will need to decide on the texture of the cookie!
What type of cookie does your family like best?
- Soft & Chewy
- Thin & Crispy
- Light & Cake
If you have an opportunity to look-up, and search the science behind cookies; it will help in understanding the ingredients. I know the fun part about cookies is eating them, and we will get to that! Small changes in the amount of butter, flour or type of sugar, will change your cookie texture greatly. Play with alternative flavors, like crème of coconut, (found in PK's Coconut Pecan cookies), or fresh fruits and cheeses (found in PK's Mango and Mexican cheese sugar cookies). The internet is a great tool to use for learning and discovering the science behind your favorite cookie, as well as finding endless lists of possible combinations.
A good place to start is with a tested, base cookie recipe that closely matches the texture your family decided they liked best. Here is some ways you can experiment with that base recipe to create your own signature cookie...
The Basic Cookie...Has only 5 easy steps!!
All cookies, a variation of just a few simple ingredients.
- Sugar - The amount and type of sugar you use is important to your final results. Brown sugar for example contains molasses, which gives more moisture to your cookie making it chewier. Using Dark brown sugar vs. light brown sugar will yield slightly different results as well. White sugar does not have as much moisture, this is a great thing, if you are trying to achieve a crispier cookie recipe. Lots of recipes include a combination of brown sugar and white sugar. Think outside of the box when experimenting with sugars; possible substitutes are, honey, molasses, maple syrup, and agave syrup just to name a few.
- Fat - Fat in your cookie not only adds flavor but is a huge contributor to texture. The different types of fat a cookie can contain is butter, shortening, and margarine, to name a few. When choosing your fat, consider how much you want your cookie to spread out. Butter contains more water and melts faster than shortening, this results in a cookie that spreads more.
- Flour - The Flour in your recipe provides the cookie with its structure. Pastry or cake flour will result in lighter more cake like cookies. While, all-purpose-flour is the most common, paying close attention to how much you add and how long you take to add the flour is important. The longer you manipulate the flour in your recipe the more gluten is developed unless you’re making bread, you want to minimize the amount of gluten you allow to develop in your cookie. Many cookie recipes contain a leveling agent to help rise and provide stability to your cookie. Typically baking powder or baking soda is used and mixed into the flour. An easy way to remember their use is baking powder helps puff, baking soda helps spread. So, powder puffs, soda spreads.
- Liquid - Eggs, milk, water, fruit juices, and liquors are examples of the types of liquids you can use in your cookie recipe. When deciding how to use the eggs, it’s important to remember that egg whites alone tend to dry out the cookies. While using only egg yolks adds moisture and chewiness to your cookie. Do not be afraid to use your favorite fruit juices like carrot juice, pineapple, or mango juice.
- Gluten-Free - Many people out of necessity are experimenting with alternatives, some companies like, Bob's Red Mill, and King Arthur Flour already have gluten free all-purpose flour mixes, a quick search online will lead you to many DIY gluten-free flour mixes that include things like sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and Masa Harina.
When experimenting, I suggest only making one change at a time, keeping notes, and listing the differences; such as likes and dislikes. Remember, this is a fun process. Set aside one day a month for family cookie night. Use the time to connect and learn together. Knowing how the ingredients in the base cookie recipe behave together is the first step to really understanding your secret family cookie recipe.
is a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe to get you started, I used my thumb to
make a dent in my cookies and added my favorite Apricot Jam, and I’ve also
included a recipe for the jam. Remember to not limit yourself by what is
usually in a cookie. Empower yourself and your family to discover a new flavor,
and make it yours. Create your own Secret Family Cookie Recipe to pass
down through the generations!
Chocolate Chip Apricot Cookies
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt, into a bowl and set aside.
2. Combine, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Using a paddle attachment, blend until butter is softened and creamy.
3. Gradually add eggs one at a time and blend in between additions.
4. Slowly add sifted flour until it is all combined and dough is formed, add your chocolate chips.
5. (Using a tablespoon for even measurement) scoop one tablespoon of dough and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are golden-brown.