Week 26 (5-8-17) The Science in Baking

The purpose of today’s class was to show us how ever-present science is. Today we found science in the kitchen.

WE weren’t actually in the kitchen. But on Sunday, I was.

And I was making two batches of  Potato Chip Cookies.

Ever heard of ’em?

These guys hadn’t either.

My mom has made potato chip cookies for as long as I can remember. They’re truly simple to put together which is why I chose these, say over chocolate chip cookies.  See here.

Potato chip cookies

1 cup butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

3/4 cup crushed potato chips

That’s it.

What I did, however, when I made the two batches was isolate one variable. I used all the same ingredients in the exact same quantities, but because of the variable I changed, the two batches of cookies turned out differently.


Here’s where the brainstorming began.

What variable had I changed in the making of the cookies?

Here’s the list we came up with.

And one of them IS the variable I changed.

I melted the butter in one batch of cookies…

Which yielded a really greasy and crumbly dough. Such that when the recipe directions said to roll the dough into balls, I couldn’t.

For the other batch of cookies, I used room-temperature butter, which made a fluffier dough.

One that could easily be rolled into balls and dipped into sugar.

When they came from the oven they looked like this versus the dense squares from the melted butter.

At this point, no one has seen the cookies. They’re writing their hypothesis– what they think melting the butter in the recipe will do to the cookies.

Now with the cookies in front of them–one of each type, they’re trying to discern which has been made with melted butter and which with room-temp butter.

Not as easy to tell as they might have thought.

Doesn’t melted butter flatten the cookie? Not in this recipe.

But at least they taste good.

Real good.

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