FOOD SCIENCE

The Role of Sugar, Butter and Flour in Shortbread Cookies

FoodCrumbles.com

December, 2021

Shortbread is one of the simplest types of cookies there is!

Shortbread

Mix FLOUR, BUTTER and SUGAR

Shape

Bake

Enjoy!

As such, it's a great vehicle for doing some cookie science experiments!

Shortbread

Let's investigate the role of each of its ingredients!

Flour

Butter

Sugar

FLOUR

01.

Brings, and holds, all ingredients together

Full of starches and gluten

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What happens to flour in the oven?

When mixed with moisture & heated, starch absorbs water and swells.

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The starch 'gelatinizes' and firms up the cookie!

Flour contains a lot of starch (= type of carbohydrate).

Makes a thick cookie, that doesn't spread

Too MUCH flour:

Makes a dry, flavorless cookie

Gives a dry, crumbly dough

Too LITTLE flour:

Makes a very vulnerable cookie, breaks apart easily

Makes a (very) thin cookie

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BUTTER

02.

Adds richness and tenderness to your cookie!

≈80% fat + ≈20% water

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In the oven, butter melts, and makes the dough soft!

It helps it expand and spread

What's the difference between butter & vegetable oils?

Both are made up of a mix of triglycerides, they just each contain different ones.

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And, butter contains water as well as some flavors!

This causes their melting point to differ.

SUGAR

03.

Adds sweetness & crunch!

Made up of crystals!

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Makes a cookie that is:

Too MUCH sugar:

Very very crisp

(TOO) brown

Very very sweet

(TOO) thin

Why does sugar aid browning?

Sugar reacts with the proteins in butter & flour in the MAILLARD reaction.

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As well as a lot of delicious flavors!

During this process, brown molecules are formed.

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VERY white, bland & savory (like a pie crust!)

Nice and brown!

TOO crispy (almost hard)

Now that you know the role of each ingredient.

Here's a recipe to get you started:

Start experimenting!

Now that you know the role of each ingredient.

Start experimenting!

Here's a recipe to get you started:

100g flour 50g sugar 75g butter

Change the ratios, to start your trials!

Did you your own COOKIE SCIENCE experiments? Let us know! Tweet: @FoodCrumblesSci

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