So, here are some questions for Keiko and other bakers. PLEASE leave a comment with your answers. Maybe we can figure out the problem together.
- Keiko asked if it was the difference in flour. I originally thought this too. However, Illahee's mom brought her a bag of flour from the States, and chewy was still cakey! So, let's leave the flour out of it for now.
- Sugar - American recipes call for granulated sugar. Do you use it when you make cookies? I don't! If you use the "wet" white sugar (like I do), when you measure, do you pack it into the cup, or just kind of shake it in lightly? I shake it in lightly. And...do you reduce the amount of sugar the recipe calls for - adapting to Japanese friends and family members' taste buds? I do.
- Eggs - An egg in an American recipe should be 2oz. volume - 1/4 cup. Eggs come in all sizes here. I made a cake recently that called for 3 eggs. Ryu had bought XXL. I should have used 2 instead of 3. What size of eggs do you use? I think Medium would be 1/4 cup.
- Leavening - Baking powder, baking soda. Do you use Japanese products, or American brands? I use US Soda, and Japanese baking powder. I'm not sure if there are differences in their 'power' or not.
- Fat - butter, margarine, shortening, oil. All are different, according to the websites I looked at, and produce a different shape of cookie. Bottom line, butter seemed to be the ingredient of choice on the web. What do you use? I used to use butter, but have switched to margarine recently. Shortening is tough to find, and recipes using oil are few and far between.
- Salt - this won't affect the cakey/chewy-ness of your cookie, but I thought I'd ask. I find Japanese table salt - the non-wet kind - to be nearly twice as salty as expected. I often reduce the salt by 1/2 for a normal taste, ie - NOT FOR HEALTH! How about you?
- Mixing - do you use a mixer (hand or stand), or mix by hand? I mix by hand. Besides the fact that I don't own a mixer (I make cake with a fork or whisk!), a friend used to use her stand mixer to make chocolate chip cookies, and I thought they were too cakey! Too much air got mixed into the dough before baking. So, I mix by hand. What do you do?
- Oven - well, size is really not an issue, in that most of us have the tiny, microwave sized ovens. But, have you ever used an oven thermometer to check the temperature in your oven? I haven't. I always guess at the right temperature. I guess 170C. for 350F. I am NOT precise in checking this. Also, my oven does temperatures in 10 degree increments, so I am a bit limited in terms of exactness, were I to become more careful. How about you?
- Time - Chewy cookies need to be nearly underbaked. The web says that if they are browning, they are over done. Once you take them out of the oven and off the pan, they continue to cook till their internal temperature lowers to the temperature of the room. So, how do you tell when to take your cookies out?
- One "trick" I read on the net was to drop the pan of cookies (top side up) on the floor when you get them right out of the oven. This knocks the excess air out of them, and they are chewy. I'm not sure the older woman who lives in the apartment under us would appreciate this, however.
The cookie I have not been able to make chewy vs. cakey, is an oatmeal raisin cookie. Have you ever eaten the ones at Freshness Burger? They import them from the States. I WANT to make and EAT lots of those kinds of chewy oatmeal raisin cookies.