When we adjusted this recipe, we substituted the baking soda that the recipe called for with baking powder. The original recipe asks for 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Baking soda is a natural chemical leavening agent made from sodium bicarbonate. It produces carbon dioxide when it reacts with an acid. In our recipe, both brown sugar and vanilla extract are slightly acidic, allowing for the baking soda to react. Once it reacts with the acid, it forms bubbles that will help our cookies rise. Baking soda has a high pH, therefore enhancing the Maillard browning reaction so using the soda made our cookies crispier.
Baking powder, on the other hand, is still a leavening agent but it works differently from baking soda. Baking powder is a combination of sodium bicarbonate(or baking soda) and a powdered acid. Because baking soda is a combination of a base and an acid, it eliminates the need of a strong acid in the recipe. The already included acid is what lets the baked good rise when baking powder is used in a recipe.
When using baking powder you will need to use about 2 to 3 times more than you would use with baking soda. In our recipe, we substituted 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 3 teaspoons of baking powder. Because we used 3 times more powder than soda, the cookies had a bit of a bitter taste than they did when using soda. Baking powder contains baking soda, when there is too much baking powder the batter cannot absorb it all, leaving a bitter taste. The texture of the cookies when using baking soda were harder compared to baking powder. The baking soda enhanced Maillard’s browning, causing the cookies to come out crispier. The powder is not solely sodium bicarbonate, so it will not brown(or make crispy) the cookies as much as soda.
Scientific Content- Per Ingredient!
Ingredient #1: 1 cup of softened butter
Butter is a source of fat, which helps move heat throughout the cookies. It contributes to the texture of the cookies, prevents flour from absorbing water, and traps carbon dioxide, allowing the cookies to rise. Butter serves as a liquid and contains small parts of water, which helps keep the cookie moist.
Ingredient #2: 1 cup brown sugar
Brown sugar acts as an acidic agent. When in contact with baking soda, the cookie produces carbon dioxide. It creates the soft texture of the cookies. In addition, brown sugar is used for extra flavor and helps retain moisture.
Ingredient #3: ½ cup pulse 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Granulated sugar, otherwise known as white or regular sugar, adds sweetness to cookies. The use of granulated sugar keeps cookies soft and moist. The bond between sugar and water locks moisture in.
Ingredient #4: 2 large eggs
Eggs serve as fat, liquid, protein, and leavening agent. The protein in the eggs interacts with starch and protein in the flour, creating the texture of the cookies. Eggs help thicken the batter, lock moisture in, create color and flavor, and act as a leavening agent. Eggs speed up the Maillard Browning process and create coagulation. Eggs trap air and make the cookie expand during the baking process, making them rise.
Ingredient #5: 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Vanilla extract is used for flavoring cookies. To make this ingredient, vanilla pods are put into a mixture of water and ethanol and contain vanillin. Vanillin is the chemical compound from the vanilla bean extract. It serves as a liquid.
Ingredient #6: 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
Flour serves as an evening agent and protein. This helps create the dough for cookies. It helps the product stretch and traps gasses from baking powder. The gluten and protein trap air bubbles which create the shape and texture. The protein interacts with water forming gluten, which stretches and creates leaving glasses which make the cookie rise.
Ingredient #7: ⅔ teaspoon kosher salt
Salt is a mineral composed of sodium chloride. Salt stabilized the yeast fermentation rate which makes the dough stronger. It also enhances the flavor of the dough. It can balance out the sweetness in the dough and also minimize bitterness.
Ingredient #8: 1 teaspoon baking soda
Baking soda is a leavening agent used in this recipe. It is chemically known as sodium bicarbonate. When included in a recipe, it needs an acid to react with it to form carbon dioxide bubbles. The bubbles then allow the cookie dough to rise in the oven.
Ingredient #9: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice used to enhance the flavor. Cinnamon has a distinct smell and taste havily impacts the cookies because taste primarily comes from the smell.
Ingredient #10: ½ teaspoon nutmeg
Nutmeg is a spice used to create the flavor of our cookies. It is known for its warm and nutty flavor.
Ingredient #11: 1 ½ cup raisin
Raisins are a source of flavor and liquid. It creates the chewy texture of the cookies.
Ingredient # 12: ½ cup chopped walnuts
Walnuts are used to enhance flavor and create texture. Walnuts are a source of fat and contain oil.
Ingredient #13: 3 cups rolled oats
Oats are grains made from the Avena Sativa plan. Rolled oats have gone through a steaming and flattening process. They are softer and have a more mild flavor compared to steel-cut oats. Oats add fiber, texture, and flavor to baked goods. They do not have sodium, cholesterol, or preservatives and are low in fats.
Scientific Information for each step in baking process:
Step 1: Preheat oven and grease cookie sheets
Preheating the oven before putting any cookies in makes sure that it will be at the proper temperature before baking. This recipe calls for the oven to be at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Without preheating, the cookies will come out undercooked and raw. Every ingredient reacts with heat differently. For example, the leavening agents need to be activated by heat to allow the cookies to rise.
Step 2: Mix butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar
Mixing the butter with sugar allows air bubbles to accumulate in the butter. This is important because leaveners need premade holes to make carbon dioxide, which helps the cookie rise. The air bubbles allow for soft cookies.
3: Beat in eggs
The egg is made up of water, fats, carbs, and proteins. When an egg is beaten, its proteins denature and change form. Once this process starts, it helps the cookies rise and develop the correct texture.
Step 4: Add vanilla extract
Adding vanilla extract creates the needed flavor for the cookies. It is also an acidic agent. When in contact with leavening agents, it creates carbon dioxide bubbles, allowing the cookies to rise.
Step 5: Mix in dry ingredients
Mixing our dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, kosher salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg) allows evenly disperse the leavening agents. This will ensure better leverage and texture of the cookies. It is important to mix dry and wet separately before combining. When wet and dry ingredients are mixed, it will be easier to mix the batter.
Step 6: Stir dry ingredients into the wet mixture
Mixing the dry ingredients before adding them to the wet ingredients is an important step. The dry ingredients need to be mixed apart from the wet to make sure the sugars, leavening agents, and spices are evenly distributed into the wet ingredients. This ensures the dough will be even and will rise evenly.
Step 7: Stir in raisins, nuts, and oats
Adding these ingredients adds the flavor and texture the cookies need. Without them, the cookies would be very flat and flavorless.
Step 8: Spoon out dough into tablespoonfuls
Spooning the dough into tablespoonfuls makes sure that each cookie will be roughly the same size. The smaller the cookie, the less time it takes to bake and if the cookies are in uniform size, the allotted baking time will bake all of the cookies perfectly.
Step 9: Bake for 10-12 minutes
Putting the cookies in the oven allows for baking. When the dough hits 300 degrees Fahrenheit, the Maillard reaction takes place and browns the cookies. The Maillard reaction starts the flavoring and coloring process. Cookies must stay in the oven for at least 10 minutes so the middle of the cookie is cooked. Sugar is caramelized and proteins cook and brown, creating a rich flavor.
Step 10: Cool 1 minute
Cooling cookies after taking them out of the oven is a crucial step. The baking continues after taking the cookies out of the oven. The starches and proteins in the cookie continue to eat while liquids evaporate. If you don’t let this happen during cooling, the baking process is not fully finished. Cooling also allows for cookies to harden.
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