Cooking Through Ratio: Doughs and Batters – Cookie Dough

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.

Unbaked Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Unbaked Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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.

Unbaked Basic Cookies

Unbaked Basic Cookies

Unbaked Basic Peanut Butter Cookies

Unbaked Basic Peanut Butter Cookies

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.

Baked Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Baked Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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.

Baked Basic and Peanut Butter Cookies

Baked Basic and Peanut Butter Cookies

I resolve to spend  some time with this ratio to test variations. Who wouldn’t want to? Cookies make the world go ’round.

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3 Responses to Cooking Through Ratio: Doughs and Batters – Cookie Dough

  1. Pingback: Cooking Through Ratio: Doughs and Batters – More Cookies | Culinary Agoge

  2. Katie says:

    Greetings, I randomly stumbled onto this blog. Wanted to comment. You probably already know this but the 1-2-3 (2-4-6) parts in the cookie ratio is by weight rather than measurement. Maybe that would help you. I made the basic “essence” of a cookie tonight. Once batch purely basic and once batch altered with an egg, salt, vanilla and chocolate chips. For the basic cookie I started with 3 oz of sugar, then 6 oz butter, then 9 oz flour. I use my hand to mix and work the flour in just until it’s all moistened. It helps it from turning crumby. I pressed them before baking. For the second batch I did equal parts 3 oz sugar, then 3 oz butter, then 3+oz flour (I added some flour as I was troubleshooting a recipe that had spread too much while cooking). With the help of salt, vanilla and and egg they were perfect.

    Good luck with the ratio. I bet you’re close to perfecting it now and making great cookies!

  3. Eric says:

    Thanks for the tip. I do weigh everything with a scale and actually haven’t revisited this ratio. Work’s been killer. The was a reminder to get back in the kitchen. Good luck to you as well.

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