Sugar & Other Sweeteners

  • Sugar adds sweetness and color (by browning) and contributes to the texture of cookies and bars.
  • Most recipes call for white granulated sugar, brown sugar or both, but other types of sweeteners (honey, molasses and corn syrup) are sometimes used.
  • The higher the sugar-to-flour ratio in a recipe, the more tender and crisp the cookies will be.


Leavening in Cookies

  • Cookies usually call for 1 or 2 types of leavening, either baking soda or baking powder. They make the cookies rise.
  • Baking powder and baking soda are not interchangeable.
  • When buttermilk or sour cream is used in cookies, baking soda needs to be included to neutralize the acid these ingredients contain.
  • Always check the expiration date on the baking powder container. If it is older than the date on the label or has been exposed to moisture, cookies made with it will be dense and flat.


Eggs in Cookies

  • Eggs add richness, moisture and structure to cookies.
  • Using too many eggs–substituting more medium eggs or using jumbo for large eggs–can make cookies crumbly.
  • Egg substitutes can be used in place of whole eggs; the cookies may be drier.


Flour in Cookies

  • Use either bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour for most cookies.
  • Too much flour makes cookies dry and tough.
  • Too little flour lets cookies spread too much and lose their shape.
  • Today’s flours are presifted, so you don’t need to sift


Fat in Cookies

  • Fat adds tenderness and enhances other flavors in cookies
  • Use the type of fat called for in a recipe–you’ll find butter, margarine and shortening used in our recipes.
  • Butter and margarine both produce a crisper cookie than shortening
  • Butter gives a more buttery flavor and a crisper cookie than margarine.
  • Butter and regular margarine in sticks can be used interchangeably in most cookie recipes.
  • Vegetable oil is not a substitute for solid fat–even when it’s melted.


Nuts & Peanuts in Cookies

  • Nuts contribute the distinguishing flavor and regional American character to many cookies.
  • Some of our recipes call for nuts by name–such as walnuts, pecans or almonds. Others just say to use chopped nuts. In those cases, you choose. Most nuts are interchangeable in recipes.
  • Hazelnuts, cashews and macadamia nuts are choices when you feel like splurging–they’re always more expensive.
  • Nuts can become rancid fairly easily. The flavor is unpleasant and strong enough to ruin the taste of your cookies. Always store nuts and peanuts tightly covered in your refrigerator or freezer (except cashews, which don’t freeze well). They’ll stay fresh for up to 2 years!
  • Before using nuts or peanuts in a recipe, do a little taste test. If they don’t taste fresh, throw them out.