She Blinded Me With Science: I’ll Flour You with Cookies

January 10 , 2016 by: Amber Trudeau Cookies

I’m sorry, I just can’t help myself, I love a good theme. Plus, this is a concept I’ve been wanting to do since before I even had a blog, so now that I have a captive (in my mind at least 😉 ) audience, and all the Christmas baking hullabaloo has come to its sad sad end, this felt like the perfect time for a little kitchen experimentation. I’ll lay it out for you, here’s the plan. For the next four weeks, I’m basically making the exact same recipe but tweaking some component of it each week so that at the end of the month we arrive at…THE GREATEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE OF ALL TIME!!!!! (notice I did not say “best vegan chocolate chip cookie of all time”). For example, this week is all about flours. I’ve made four versions of this cookie this week, each one using a different flour (or flour alternative). Next, I twisted Kevin’s rubber arm and forced him to blind taste test them all with me so we could both determine which one was the most delicious. The idea here will be that, whichever flour we rate as the best (and I’m choosing to keep you in suspense for a moment longer here) will get to move on to the next round (aka next week when I tweak a different cookie component).

Now, I’m sure this is the kind of thing where I could just Google information on flours and how the science of each one works blah blah blah. That sounds a lot like research though and I won’t end up with a possibly delicious and possibly terrible cookie at the end of it, so where’s the fun and mystery in that? Plus, my way will allow me to raise my fist in the air at the end of the month and shout “Eureka!” and pretend I’m a member of the enterprising scientific community. 🙂

To start with, I’m just going to use my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe and just standardize every ingredient that I’m not tweaking this week.

Question – do I really need to fully embrace the scientific method for this? Am I going to need to write and submit a food science paper and get it peer reviewed or are we all cool if I’m lazy and just play with cookies instead? Playing with cookies just brings out the kid in me, but science brings out the glasses-wearing, nerdy and intellectual adult so I’m just not sure how well the two will play together 😉 . Alright, how about this, we turn this experiment month into a play/ movie/ sports match to make it sound more fun! On that note, let’s get started:

The Players: FLOURS:

All Purpose Flour – In this production, the role of AP Flour will be played by the organic flour I got at my local grocery store.

AP Flour

Pastry Flour – In this production will be played by the store brand pastry flour.

Cake+Pastry Flour

Bread Flour – In this production will be played by “unknown bread flour brand purchased at my local bulk store”

Bread Flour

Oat Flour – In this production will be played by me grinding up my own oats to use as oat flour.

Oat Flour

Before I get to the reviews, in the interest of unbiased-ness, I will have you know it was a blind taste test. I just labelled the bottom of each cookie plate and then mixed them all around. The oat flour one though looked so crazy that there was obviously no way of disguising it for myself, but Kevin didn’t know at least. Anywho, on with the reviews!

Reviews (*Note: Kevin decided to give each cookie a name/ tagline, so I’m including that at the beginning of all his reviews 🙂 ):

All Purpose Flour:

Individual AP Flour Cookie

Kevin – “The Salty One” – Texture was a bit shortbreadish, slightly grainy, had a good, slightly saltier (in a good way) taste. Looks good, like a regular/ proper chocolate chip cookie.
Me – Soft, slightly chewy, nice balance of sweetness.

Bread Flour

Individual Bread Flour Cookie

Kevin – “Mr. Crunch” – This one was the thickest of the four, had a crunchy texture and a good flavour.
Me – The bread flour and the all-purpose flour both looked the most like regular chocolate chip cookies (i.e. looked the way I wanted them to). The bread flour though had a nice balance of sweetness. The texture was, in my opinion, perfect – the outside was slightly crispy and the middle was soft and chewy.

Cake and Pastry Flour

Individual Pastry Flour Cookie

Kevin – “Hidden Chocolate” – Paler looking, tasted good/ ok, but had a bit of a grainy texture.
Me – Flat, didn’t rise as much as the AP flour or the bread flour. Tasted a bit too sweet. It had a soft texture, but the sugar didn’t seem to dissolve as much so it was a bit too granular for me.

Oat Flour (aka Gluten Free) –

Individual Oat Flour Cookie

Kevin – “Wafer Thin” (*said in the Monty Python voice) – Looks a bit pancake-y, but tastes great! Crunchy and chewy.
Me – This one definitely had the best taste, but the texture was pretty crispy and chewy (which is fine if that’s what you’re going for, but I prefer my cookies to be soft and chewy).

Verdict:

Kevin – Even though it looked the worse (i.e. “pancake-y), the oat flour wins out for being the best tasting. Ranking order:

#1 – Oat flour
#2 – All-purpose flour
#3 – Bread flour
#4 – Cake and pastry flour

Me – Taste-wise, I was a tie between the bread flour and the oat flour, but because the texture of the bread flour was more to my liking, that won the coveted #1 spot of the four flours. So my ranking order is:

#1 – Bread flour
#2 + #3 – Tie between Oat flour (for taste) and all-purpose flour (for texture)
#4 – Cake and pastry flour

All 4 long rev 2

I’m thinking now if I get the chance before starting on sugar testing next week, that I might try and do one final flour test where I do some combination of oat flour and bread flour (taste meet texture, texture meet taste. You’ll be best friends I just know it 😉 ).

I know I usually include recipes, but for the next four weeks, I’m going to instead make you wait until we figure out the perfect combination of flour, sugar and fat and then I’ll do the big recipe reveal at the end, so stay tuned!

 

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About Amber

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Hi, I'm Amber Trudeau.  I bake.... a lot.

I'm also vegan, and found that whenever I went out to a restaurant my dessert choices were limited to sorbet, sorbet, and sorbet.  So I started making my own desserts. I wanted them to taste good though - so my ultimatum was to make delicious desserts that also happen to be dairy-free and egg-free. Every week or so, I challenge myself to try something new.  To recreate some kind of traditional dessert that tastes amazing without using animal products.

Have a challenge for me? Send me a note:

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