FoodHow to Keep Cookies Soft So They Taste Fresh for Days
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In our humble opinion, biting into a warm, gooey, fresh-from-the-oven cookie is one of life’s greatest pleasures. The downside? The window for a soft, heavenly cookie is fleeting—you bite into the same cookie the next day and it’s probably already on its way to hard and stale. Isn’t there a way to make the moment last?
Friend, you’re in luck. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves that will extend the life of your delicious homemade(or ...or ) beyond that glorious first bite. Here’s how to keep cookies soft so they taste fresh for days (plus why they’re soft in the first place).
The Chocolate Chip Cookies That Changed the Way I Bake
Sarah Kieffer started banging sheet pans in ninth grade. She was going through “a cookie phase,” trying to find the perfect chocolate chip recipe, and one of them wasn’t working out. While most cookies spread in the oven, this one stayed put, as if in protest. “It was just this ball of dough that didn't fall, so I hit the pan in the oven because I was mad,” she told me over the phone. “That helped.” The cookies deflated, thinned out, and spread more. Lifting the pan, then banging it down, forces cookies to breathe out all their hot air and become less puffy and cakey. It was an aha moment for Kieffer.
First, What Makes Cookies Soft?
If someone ever told you that “baking is a science,” they weren’t wrong. Cookies are soft or snappy or cake-y or crunchy based on the ingredients they’re made with. It’s all about moisture.
To keep it simple, cookie recipes that contain a lot of butter, brown sugar or egg yolks are going to yield soft and chewy cookies, because those ingredients add moisture and retain it for a longer amount of time. A shortbread or biscotti cookie, on the other hand, won’t ever be soft, because it lacks those magic, moisture-retaining elements. And while fiddling with baking ratios can be dicey, it can also pay off to experiment. Try adding an extra egg yolk or swapping some of the white sugar for brown when you whip up your next batch.
These Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies Are Breaking The Internet
Our opinions on them might offend you. We disagree. We disagree with the so-called life-changing chocolate chip cookie that's been heralded as the most delicious treat since, well, ever. If you've been living under a rock (or don't keep up with cookie current events the way the Delish staff does), we're talking about the Salted Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookie in Alison Roman's Dining In cookbook. BUY NOW: Dining In, $27; amazon.
So why do soft cookies inevitably get hard?
Think of it like this: When you’re on an airplane, your skin is sucked of all hydration and you feel like a dry, shriveled up raisin. It’s the same for cookies in your kitchen. They go from soft to hard because they start to dry out, and it begins as soon as you pull them from the oven. (Yikes.) Whatever moisture is left in the cookies is always in a state of evaporation. At the same time, the sugars and starches are solidifying. Ergo, hard cookies.
But good news: Now that you know why your cookies are irresistibly chewy and soft (and also what makes them hard), here’s how to keep them that way for longer.
6 Ways to Keep Cookies Soft
1. Use Brown Sugar. Add two tablespoons of light or dark brown sugar to your cookie recipe. This works in two ways: One, brown sugar can hold extra moisture because of its molecular structure (science!). The glucose and fructose found in brown sugar are hygroscopic, which means they suck up and hang on to moisture. Moisture means soft, chewy cookies.
More than 3,000 people have given these keto-friendly cookies a 5-star review
The mini cookies are taking over Amazon. The HighKey Snacks Keto Mini Cookies have been a popular pick lately, especially among people following the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet. Plus, the cookies are also advertised as being gluten and grain-free. The cookies come in a pack of three for $14 — making each pack just a little over $4 each. The chocolate chip flavor seems to be the most popular, though a snickerdoodle variety is also offered. HighKey Snacks Keto Mini Cookies HighKey Snacks Keto Mini Cookies © Amazon HighKey Snacks Keto Mini Cookies - Chocolate Chip, Pack of 3, 2.
2. Store the cookies with bread. You can thank your Grammy for this time-tested trick. You probably saw her store her brown sugar with a piece of bread to keep it soft and workable. The same thing goes for your freshly baked treats. When you pack up those cookies in a container or storage bag, toss in half a slice of any kind of bread before you seal them up. Basically, the cookies will absorb moisture from the bread, which keeps them nice and soft. Just make sure you don’t go overboard—too much bread will actually turn your baked goods to mush. (And choose a neutral bread so it doesn’t transfer its flavors to the cookies.)
3. Under-bake your cookies. Ever accidentally bake a batch of cookies for too long, only to find that they were crunchy and hard instead of soft and chewy? Yep, the opposite goes for under-baking. Pull your cookies out of the oven a minute or two early (while the center is still gooey). Once they’re just cool enough to transfer, put them in a storage bag or container. They’ll stay moist and chewy for longer that way.
4. Scoop your cookie dough in mounds. The next time you’re baking a batch of cookies, try scooping the dough into tall mounds instead of flattening them on the baking sheet. They’ll bake up with a softer center where the dough is thicker, which will keep them chewy for longer.
Our 10 Most Popular Chocolate Chip Cookies of All Time
Food52 is 10 years old! To celebrate a decade of all things kitchen and home, we’re rolling out our top recipes, tips, and stories for another victory lap, along with some of our very favorite memories over the years. Go on, take 'em in! A good chocolate chip cookie can be life-affirming. Heck, even an average chocolate chip cookie can be life-affirming. But a great C.C.C.? Utterly life-changing. And, since I'm a little more discerning than the cookie-obsessed heroine, Angelica Pickles, from the seminal cartoon dramedy Rugrats, a chocolate chip cookie needs to be a few key things: 1) chewy in the centers and crisp at the edges, 2) flooded with fat, gooey pockets of chocolate, an
5. Use corn syrup. Before you freak out! Corn syrup (and not the high fructose kind) is kind of a baking miracle. It’s what’s called an invert sugar, meaning it’s liquid at room temperature. Why does that matter? Because if you add just a tablespoon to your recipe, it will give you a cookie with a crisp edge and chewy center—that will stay that way for longer.
6. Store them in an airtight container. This is critical. Whether you’re keeping your little masterpieces in a zippy bag or a reusable container, it’s got to be completely air-tight. Remember, air is the enemy and will draw out any moisture it can find.
Related Video: How to Make Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies Every Time (The Daily Meal)
Brown Sugar vs. White Sugar: What's the Difference, and Which Is Better for You? .
Brown sugar vs. white sugar—what exactly is the difference between the two anyway? We called on a trusted chef for the answer.Principal chef of Hello Fresh Claudia Sidoti answers all of your questions below. And to make sure your baked goods turn out perfectly, see The 30 Worst Mistakes You're Making When Baking Cookies so you know what to avoid.
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