The ratio for cookies is 1-2-3, 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, 3 parts flour although I found this ratio to be anything but. As Michael Ruhlman describes, this is the ratio for a basic cookie, and not one that you would make normally, but one that helps you understand what a cookie is.
My sister Ashley joined me in the kitchen as a willing participant in the learning process. It hardly required any convincing given the subject matter and while also being a welcomed break from work she had left to do for her summer internship at my company.
Ashley worked on an old family recipe for oatmeal cookies while I made the basic cookie for comparison. Having never considered the recipe ratio before, it was interesting to note that it called for equal parts sugar (1 cup), butter (1 cup) and flour (1 cup) . The additions included oatmeal (2 cups), salt (1 tsp.) and baking soda (1 tsp).
The family recipe was easy to make. The instructions called for cutting the butter into the rest of the ingredients just like a pie dough. Once combined, the cookies were rolled into balls and flattened onto a pan with a fork. Ashley dropped mini-chocolate chips on some of them for fun. Why not right? We were just having fun.
The Ruhlman ratio was less easy to make. The resulting dough didn’t seem moist enough and in fact, being so crumbly was hard to roll into a “log” to be sliced into cookies. I decided to portion it into two parts so I could experiment with a flavoring enhancement, specifically peanut butter. To make things manageable I opted to cool both doughs in the freezer for a bit, and with the butter more solid, I was able to roll the peanut butter cookies out and slice them. The basic cookie dough was rolled into balls much like the oatmeal cookies and left as such on the baking sheet.
Each batch was baked in the oven which was preheated to 350 degrees F. The resulting aroma from all of the baking made us salivate with eager anticipation. Such a simple pleasure was about to be enjoyed.
With the cookies baked, we of course had more than we could eat ourselves without needing to join a weight-loss program. The oatmeal cookies were packed and saved for the office tomorrow.
The basic cookies and peanut butter cookies were also packed and saved to be enjoyed later. These cookies did not spread out at all and the peanut butter ones especially look funny as they are so crisp. They almost look the same as they did before they were baked.
I resolve to spend some time with this ratio to test variations. Who wouldn’t want to? Cookies make the world go ’round.