I’ve read the book Ratio by Michael Ruhlman, from cover to cover. I love this book.
While it covers many aspects of cooking, he also covers the creation of various doughs. More specifically, he includes the creation of cookie dough.
According to Mr. Ruhlman, all recipes can be broken down into ratios. A recipe doesn’t work unless the ratio is correct. If your cookies are to hard, to soft, to crisp, to chewy…. your ratio is off. The ratio of certain ingredients in respect to the other ingredients which are also in that recipe.
So it goes without saying that there are different ratios for different cookies. If you get your ratios correct, you’ll have a perfect cookie every time.
So lets look at some ratios.
I remember the ratio for cookies with this little rhyme:
“Cookies are as easy as 1-2-3.“
Basic Cookies – 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter and 3 parts flour. This ratio will get you a cookie that is almost like shortbread. Light, crisp and very much a VERY basic cookie. Of course, there is no flavor yet, but it’s a cookie none the less. The very core of a cookie.
Drop Cookies – If you are looking for a very rich and chewy cookie, you simply change the ratio. For a richer drop cookie, your ratio would be 1-1-1. In other words, equal parts of everything. With this cookie, you need other ingredients such as nuts or other additions, but it’s still a rich and chewy cookie, albeit, a bit greasy without the additions.
Once you know these ratios, you can begin to play around with all kinds of recipes.
The catch – This only works when you use weight measurements. Either grams or ounces. You can’t use these ratios using volume measurements. So put those measuring cups away, and stick with your kitchen scale. It’s much easier to create a recipe with a scale anyway. All your mess stays in one bowl, and you can constantly reset the scale to zero for the addition of a new ingredient.
Since reading this book, I’ve never looked back. I bake by weight constantly when creating my own recipes.
That said, there is a bit of an art to this science. Don’t get me wrong, baking really does come down to a fine science. Baking is chemistry at it’s best. But when you are creating your own recipes, you have to develop a flare for what will taste good. This isn’t always easy, and I’ve had many many flops in the kitchen. Especially if I forgot to pay attention to my ratios, which happens more often then I’d like to admit.
But with a little planning and…. (I’ll say it….) Math (!), you too can create your own cookie recipes without to much difficulty.
Or sit down with some of your favorite recipes (if they are by weight), and see what ratios they consist of. It then becomes very easy to manipulate your favorite cookie recipes!
If you are interesting in reading this book, I highly recommend it. You can find it at Amazon.com by clicking this link. —-> Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking
Will you try this method or have you already? Give me your feedback. I’d be interested to know if this method works for you and if you have created any recipes using ratios.
Archived Responses to “Create Your Own Cookie Recipes From Scratch”
November 20th, 2009 – 5:29 pmI have been using this method for several years now and it works very well for me. I have managed to win first place with my cookies and cakes at the local fair many times. Having said this, I used to bake monstrosities that were inedible whenever I tried to branch out and make my own recipe. It is amazing what a little knowledge can do for you. Ratios are amazing and I use my scale for everything!
- National Cookie Network
November 20th, 2009 – 5:33 pmHi Crystal,
Thanks for sharing that! Ratios are wonderful things, aren’t they? I couldn’t live without my kitchen scale. I love it!
November 20th, 2009 – 8:18 pmSo glad I happened upon this post! I’ve been considering purchasing Michael Ruhlman’s Ratios and now that I’ve read your opinion of it, I’m more convinced than ever that I need a copy!
- National Cookie Network
November 20th, 2009 – 8:21 pmIt’s definitely worth owning. I can’t recommend it enough!