Sunday, December 8, 2013

FOODucation: Cookie Chemistry!

Hey everyone,

The weekend is drawing to a close and finals begin tomorrow! I hope you've all been making some great progress studying, and if not, there's still time! Though this is probably covered in Food Chemistry, here's some interesting information on the chemistry of baking cookies!

I've included a video that's more informative than this post and it includes some cool animation! If you don't have the time to watch the video or you don't want to be tempted with yet another holiday sweet treat, I've summarized a few key points about the video!


  • The egg is what holds the batter together during the cooking process to prevent it from expanding into neighboring cookies (though that just means a larger cookie if it does!). As the temperature increases, proteins in the egg(s) denature becoming tangled to create a solid network providing structure to the cookie
  • At 212 F the water in the dough becomes steam and is part of the reason why the cookies rise
  • Baking soda/powder break down carbon to produce carbon dioxide to puff up the cookie by leaving holes making it lighter
  • Caramelization! Sugars break down to become a nice brown, fragrant liquid full of taste and aroma!
  • Maillard reaction! Involves sugars, egg protein and flour to produce that toasty flavor and nice brown color (mmmmm delicious!)

Want more info? Here are some tips to alter your cookie (more chemistry is given in the article/video)
  • Melted butter in raw dough makes the cookie flatter, wider and more chewy
  • Cold butter chunks in dough makes the cookie lighter and more fluffy
  • Baking powder in place of baking soda makes the cookie more fluffy
  • Dark sugars increase the cookie flavor and aroma

Here's the full article:

Best of luck this week!
- Charles Quinto