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Five Minute Monday – The Chemistry of Cookies

After watching this week’s Five Minute Monday, the magic of raw cookie dough going into the oven and fully baked delicious cookies coming out a short time later will be shattered. There is no magic. What happens is a purely predictable chemical process as the internal temperature of the cookie rises.

  • At 92 degrees F, butter melts. The sugars and fats liquify and break apart, releasing water trapped in the butter.
  • At 136 degree F, the salmonella in the eggs dies.
  • At 144 degrees F, the proteins in the eggs start to break down. This causes them to change shape, and harden.
  • At 212 degrees F, the water evaporates, leaving air pockets inside the cookie. The cookie dries, and spreads out on the baking sheet.
  • At 310 degrees F, the cookie begins to brown in a process called Maillard Reactions. You can smell this reaction
  • And between 356 and 390 degrees F, finally caramelization happens – the sugar molecules begin to break down.

Cookies are chemistry. Who knew!

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