Butter and shortening make cookies tender. When fat is mixed with flour, it coats some of the flour thus protecting it from the liquids in some recipes. This ensures that gluten does not develop and makes the cookies less chewy and more tender.
Butter creates a great flavor, therefore substituting margarine or shortening for butter alters the taste and texture of the cookie. Since butter has a lower melting point than margarine and shortening, it spreads more when baking. This implies that a cookie baked using butter will be crispier and thinner than that made using margarine or shortening.
The type of butter you use also determines the flavor and texture of your cookie. For example, premium European-style butter has lower moisture and higher butter-fat than regular butter. As a result, cookies made using this type of butter are thinner, more butter-tasting, crumbly, and crispy. As for salt and unsalted butter, the amount of salt found in salted butter varies significantly. Therefore, it’s better to bake your cookies using unsalted butter since this gives you more control over the amount of salt.
Eggs are a significant source of protein and moisture in the cooking dough. The protein in eggs makes the cookie chewier, and the liquid creates structure in the cookie by bonding with the protein and starch on the floor. Most cookie recipes use large eggs. If you prefer to use a different size, you should keep in mind that the difference between different sizes is around ¼ ounces. While this is a small amount, it could make a big difference if you are baking with more than six eggs. In most cases, it is safe to use egg sizes interchangeably.
Baking soda is used in most baking products as a raising agent. However, in cookies, it is an essential ingredient that contributes to browning. It neutralizes acidic ingredients in the dough, such as butter, vanilla, honey, and brown sugar, which usually inhibit browning. In some instances, baking powder, which is a combination of an acidic ingredient and baking soda, is used as a substitute for baking soda to create a light, cake-like texture. When heartened and moistened, the acid and alkali in baking powder react and neutralize each other, releasing carbon dioxide. This aerates the dough and makes the end product puffier.
Salt is the ultimate flavor enhancer when it comes to baking cookies. Without it, sweetness dominates, and the secondary flavors fall flat. Salt also makes the protein in dough stronger, resulting in more chewy cookies. Table salt and kosher salt have an identical flavor, and the two can be used interchangeably. Table salt is fine, while Kosher salt is coarse. This implies that the same weight of table salt takes up less space and vice versa. If you would wish to replace table salt with kosher salt, use twice the volume so that the degree of saltiness is equivalent. Conversely, if you want to replace kosher salt with table salt, use half the volume.
Understanding the relationship between these ingredients can help improve your baking and give you an idea of how to fix a recipe in case something goes wrong.