what about that melted butter?
Posted: 27 April 2011 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Dear Friends
I was so impressed with the reviews for the Gourmet [magazine] Cookie Book which published a cookie recipe published in the magazine from every year from 1941 through 2009, that I bought it.

Today I made the cookie from December 2000, the Walnut Acorn Cookie. Now here is my question. The recipe called for 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted and cooled. The directions instruct one to beat together butter, brown sugar and vanilla with electric mixer “until pale and fluffy.”
This was the problem. Pale and fluffy comes with room temperature butter, not melted and cooled butter.  The mixture was a brown liquidy butterscotch solution, nothing near pale and fluffy.

Obviously “pale and fluffy” is a mistake in the recipe. BUT I am really curious to hear from you about the difference in the texture of a butter cookie made with melted butter versus room temperature butter.

The cookies are just this minute cooling on the rack. The texture is the slightest bit gummy but tasty. (and it is still cooling so it might change a little) I wonder whether the recipe would be perfect if I made it with softened but unmelted butter.

Here is the recipe so you can see the proportions.

2 cups ap flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Beat together butter, brown sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Mix in flour mixture at low speed, then stir in walnuts. Put in an 375 oven, bake for 8-9 minutes.

So what do you think? Is there a class of cookie recipes out there that uses melted butter in this way? 

Shokat

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Posted: 27 April 2011 06:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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shokat - 27 April 2011 09:49 PM

Is there a class of cookie recipes out there that uses melted butter in this way?


Absolutely.  It’s normally one way to get a very flat, very crisp cookie.

FWIW, I wasn’t impressed with the Gourmet Cookie book.

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Posted: 28 April 2011 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Cooks Illustrated uses melted butter both for their “Thin, Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies” (as Charles T mentions above, for a flat, crisp cookie)—but also uses melted butter for their Thick and Chewy version.  Their explanation:  “Some chewy cookies start with melted rather than creamed butter. In its solid state, butter is an emulsion of butter and water.  When butter is melted, the fat and water molecules separate. When melted butter is added to a dough, the proteins in the flour immediately grab onto the freed water molecules to form elastic strands of gluten. The gluten makes a cookie chewy.”

And the reason the melted butter cookies are flat rather than fluffy: “When butter and sugar are creamed, rigid sugar crystals cut into the butterfat and create air cells. As the remaining ingredients are incorporated into the airy mixture, the air cells get locked up in the dough and capture moisture fromthe butter and other ingredients as it vaporizes in the oven. The cells expand, and the cookies rise. But because melted butter, unlike creamed butter, does not accommodate air cells, the moisture from various ingredients has nowhere to go except out…[the cookies with melted butter] spread evenly and effortlessly.”

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Posted: 28 April 2011 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Dear Loopy

Thank you for taking the time to type out the response. This is exactly what I need to understand the difference in texture. It was very generous of you.

Shokat

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Posted: 28 April 2011 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yes to what Shokat said, thanks for the info smile

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Posted: 28 April 2011 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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CharlesT - 27 April 2011 09:57 PM
shokat - 27 April 2011 09:49 PM

Is there a class of cookie recipes out there that uses melted butter in this way?


Absolutely.  It’s normally one way to get a very flat, very crisp cookie.

FWIW, I wasn’t impressed with the Gourmet Cookie book.

Dear Charles
Since I’m a novice baker, I would be very interested in learning from you what specifics you could offer about why you didn’t like very much the recipes in the Gourmet Cookie book. I want to develop my discrimination.
Thank you
Shokat

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Posted: 28 April 2011 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Shokat,

I own this cookbook too and I actually really like it. I have made several recipes from it and they have all turned out very well. Try the crescent cheese cookies on page 72. they are excellent. I have been baking for 40 years so perhaps that is why I have had no problems with the book. The instructions are not as detailed as any of Rose’s books but that isn’t a reason to disregard it.

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Posted: 28 April 2011 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I love chocolate chip cookies and am on a quest to understand them so as to bake the kind I like best.  I love chewy ones and David Lebovitz uses room temp. butter and then mixes in sugar until combined…not until fluffy as per reasons above.  The dough is chilled…I think this helps achieve a chewy but not overly flat cookie.

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Posted: 28 April 2011 11:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Sherrie, Have you read Shirley Corriher’s Cookwise? She gives 3 methods to apply to ANY cookie recipe to get normal OR flat/ crispy OR soft/chewy that you can apply with 3 different results, mostly dependent on the type of sugar and butter. If you like the science of cooking. It’s worth the purchase. Look for it on bookfinder4u dot com

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Posted: 29 April 2011 12:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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shokat - 28 April 2011 03:11 PM

what specifics you could offer about why you didn’t like very much the recipes in the Gourmet Cookie book.

Mostly I didn’t find the recipes very appealing to me.  On a more technical side, it doesn’t provide weights and the recipes are poorly formatted.  My favorite cookie book is the King Arthur’s Cookie Companion.

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Posted: 29 April 2011 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I do have a copy of Cookwise. I’ll have to take a look to learn more about the texture with melted butter question.

Thank you everyone for contributing to the answer.
Shokat.

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Posted: 30 April 2011 01:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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K Nelson - 29 April 2011 02:56 AM

Sherrie, Have you read Shirley Corriher’s Cookwise? She gives 3 methods to apply to ANY cookie recipe to get normal OR flat/ crispy OR soft/chewy that you can apply with 3 different results, mostly dependent on the type of sugar and butter. If you like the science of cooking. It’s worth the purchase. Look for it on bookfinder4u dot com

Yes!  Very good info.  I’m now working on flavour balance…I love browned butter in my cookies, too.

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Posted: 22 May 2011 11:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I make my chocolate chip cookies with melted butter. I eventually do get a fairly fluffy texture when creaming because I just keep creaming past that wet butterscotch-looking stage, and they end up big, thick and chewy. Anyway, this is what they look like…and these cookies are on a dinner plate.

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