How to eat: cookies |  Cookies

How to eat: cookies | Cookies

This month, How to Eat, the series that explores the best way to enjoy Britain’s favorite foods, must kick off with a full and frank public apology.

In 2013, HTE declared (trigger warning: rank stupidity) cookies to be: “USA’s Big Brazen Intruders: Too Sweet, Here, and Completely Dysfunctional.” HTE wishes to sincerely apologize for what it now realizes was an offensive and inflammatory attack, not just on American food, but on everyone with taste buds. That sentence doesn’t represent the column that is How to Eat Now and hopes to overcome this uncharacteristic faux pas.

While not seeking to excuse such knee-jerk anti-Americanism, HTE urges you to remember that the early 1910s were, the country was drowning in a sweet and greasy wave of US-inspired “man food,” a very stressful time. in British food writing. It seemed that every dish would soon include a Man v Food mountain of pulled pork and bacon jam, washed down with a freakshake. HTE was lashing out at gross excesses. The cookies got caught in the crossfire.

It didn’t help that, back then, the HTE cookie experience was largely limited to fairly mundane, mass-produced versions. Now, many serious bakers are making amazing cookies, and HTE has been haunted by his unexpected dismissal every time he eats one. In fact, you now agree that the British cookie (tiny, dry, one-dimensional, deficient in chocolate) is pretty drab compared to the rococo complexity of an XL cookie. Cookies are black and white television. The cookie is Imax.

Sure, they can become more elaborate. Some cookies literally crumble under the weight of their own outrageous ambition. But how to eat becomes. Consider these words your mea culpa *covered in marshmallow.

*Just minus the marshmallow. HTE has not lost it entirely. Still.

Defining our terms…

it’s necessary because, in both the US and Britain (where any chocolate chip cookie presumably calls itself a cookie), the term is confusing. To clarify, a cookie should be around 10 cm in diameter and more than 1 cm deep at its thickest part. As befits its name, derived from Cracker, which means “little cake” in Dutch – the biscuit should also be generously packed with ingredients. Imagine a shimmering geological fissure hiding nutty gold nuggets, sweet pockets of dried fruit, and subterranean deposits of (semi-molten) chocolate.

Baking Expectations: Cookies should be moist in the middle and slightly crisp around the edges.
Baking Expectations: Cookies should be moist in the middle and slightly crisp around the edges. Photograph: Mrs/Getty Images

A good cookie will also be incredibly buttery (not so much fat-rich as obscenely rich), slightly crisp on the edges, and yet moist, gooey, and chewy on the inside. It should be dense but flexible. Where British biscuits are brittle and dry, the crumbs held together by the firm determination of the upper lip, the biscuit is relaxed, self-assured and supple.

How to achieve those cake-adjacent textures, clear flavors, and layers of caramelized depth in your cookie is much discussed. As J Kenji López-Alt has written for Serious Eats: “Cookies are fickle and advice is contradictory.” However, there is a broad consensus on the wisdom of using, in various ways: a little brown sugar (inherently moist Y helps trap moisture); egg yolks over whites; bread flour to create more elastic gluten strands; and browned butter, which you can try melting before adding to the batter. Which should be cooled overnight. Or not. The debate continues…

Ingredient Distribution

A cookie is not a pizza. It is not a platform. A little gravy drizzled or, if you’re sure, chocolate chips or pecans are acceptable. on top. But most of the cookie flavors need to be buried within. Otherwise gooey with caramel, garnished with everything from Smarties to granola or teetering on marshmallows, the cookie, whose surface is somewhere between a rocky, inhospitable planet and a studded leather face mask, can become difficult to drive and eat.

Good things to put on cookies.

Quality chocolate in dark to milk varieties – not pre-packaged chips but unevenly chopped exciting chunks.

There are other chocolate hazelnut spreads available, but Nutella.

(Salted caramel sauce.

Raisins, sultanas, dates, glazed cherries.

Peanut butter.

Sugar candy.

Lotus Biscoff sauce.

Stem ginger, used sparingly.

Nuts soft enough that, used in small amounts (whole, flaked, or crushed pecans, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, etc.), they add a complementary accent to your cookie rather than turning it into an earthy, dignified bite, like It happens with too many nuts. .

The above are mutually sympathetic ingredients from a very similar flavor palette, which will benefit from some striking contrast, modulation or inversion. Flaked sea salt intensifies flavors in an invigorating way, while dried cranberries, citrus zest, or even toasted rhubarb offer a tart score. More than three flavors is a confusing exaggeration.

Bad things to put in cookies

Choc horror: white chocolate and cookies are
Choc horror: white chocolate and cookies are “the work of the devil”. Photograph: Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

Marshmallows. It’s like hitting an edible air bag filled with cotton.

All but the smallest amount of honey for depth. In larger quantities, this floral bully imposes a single-note flavor on all foods.

White chocolate: work of the devil.

Chocolate mint, that perennially nasty hybrid of chocolate and toothpaste.

Alcohol, the ruin of many desserts.

Mixed spices on a tip of cinnamon and nutmeg. Christmas is over, luckily.

Nougat: culinary plasticine.

Hazelnuts, peanuts and whole almonds? All too hard.

Proprietary candy brands that, from Maltesers to Rolo, are designed as self-contained snacks. They were never intended to be embedded in biscuits where they create clashes of textures (e.g. pieces of Twix or KitKat forming dry patches of double or triple layer biscuit overload).

Dried apple, apricot or banana: who are we kidding here? There are no redeemable nutritional benefits to the cookie.


Nauseabundo before 9 am, the cookie is not breakfast. It is not a meal any moment. is a de facto A elevenses snack or afternoon tea item, enjoyed with a bucket of tea on gloomy afternoons in need of a boost. Otherwise, it’s a late night dessert.

process and equipment

You can eat a cookie over the sink, cupped in your hand, or run around dragging crumbs like Hansel and Gretel. The biscuit, much tastier and more unhealthy if eaten, should be delayed (breaking pieces over a period of five to 20 minutes) and preferably eaten off a plate. This is not a cleanliness issue per se. Your cookie will create a lot of debris that you want to contain in one place, then pick it up with a wet finger. That final sweep of cookie crumbs is one of the most enjoyable phases of this snack.


You dip the cookies because they are too dry. A cookie does not need to be moistened. By contrast, if you dip in a cookie (high-fat, soluble embedded pieces), it quickly becomes structurally unstable and oddly sticky: a thick, undefined slime instead of a shiny theme park of edible attractions.

Some suggest the solution is to dip the cookies in cold milk which HTE won’t consider because a) he’s not a toddler, b) the milk does nothing to transform the cookie’s flavor and c) due to the cookie’s friable nature, it is still possible for pieces to fall out in the milk. Besides, who drinks milk for fun?

Ice cream

Frequent partners, often to the detriment of the other. In particular, the addition of cookie dough to ice cream (scraggy, gritty, provocatively sweet) is one of the many disgusting quirks of modern food.

Try dulce de leche sandwich cookies for a more refined alternative to ice cream.
Try dulce de leche sandwich cookies for a more refined alternative to ice cream. Photograph: Adriana Samanez/500px/Getty Images/500px Prime

A small cookie crumble is fine as an ice cream topping. But stuffing a whole cookie in there, like a wafer, is too many good things that, beyond the sugar content, have little natural affinity. For example, any chocolate on your cookie won’t be able to melt smoothly in the sub-zero clutch of ice cream. It will taste like gravel.

For engineering reasons, it is also advisable to avoid using cookies to create ice cream sandwiches. Making a soft ice cream sandwich between a hard cookie in a convenient and enjoyable way (the sandwich must maintain its structural integrity but the cookie must yield smoothly) requires a degree of knowledge of food science far beyond most experts. home cooks and professional chefs. The Maxibon is a stroke of genius (see also: its US spiritual cousin, Chipwich), but most homemade cookie sandwiches are disastrous.

If you must sandwich something between two cookies, make it something sticky (jam, Nutella, dulce de leche), rather than something that will often burst into comical spurts (ice cream, whipped cream, mascarpone).

To drink

Tea! Tea! Tea! Strong, tannic and iron tea in its strength. Black coffee (not creamy white) may offer a bitter contrast to your cookie, but it lacks the refreshing powers of tea to quench thirst and cleanse the palate. Tea is the obvious reset button when it comes to super sweet, fat-laden cookies.

So, cookies, how do you eat yours?

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