Mindy Segal, a James Beard Award Winning pastry chef, the proprietor of Chicago’s HotChocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar, and the author of Cookie Love: 60 Recipes and Techniques for Turning the Ordinary into the Extraordinary, shares five tips for the best cookies ever.
Our guest today is Mindy Segal, a James Beard Award Winning pastry chef and the proprietor of Chicago’s HotChocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar. She’s now authored her first book, Cookie Love: 60 Recipes and Techniques for Turning the Ordinary into the Extraordinary.
Cookies have such an emotional resonance for home cooks—they’re often one of the first things aspiring bakers learn to make, they’re something you make for someone else, and they turn a bad day into a pretty good one. Tune in to hear how Mindy fell in love with cookies, and her top five tips for making great ones.
1) Baking takes much more instinct than people realize. Forget about the science, relax, and use your instincts. Baking is easier than you think!
2) When you're baking shortbread, the butter has to be cold and cut equally and evenly. Large chunks of butter won't distribute well.
3) Don't overmix! Overmixing can overwork the gluten, which isn't good for your cookie texture. A combination of machine-mixing and hand-mixing can help keep you from overmixing.
4) Get inspired by flavors that you might not necessarily associate with cookies. Mindy uses halvah, sorghum, creme de violette sugar, orange blossom water, and various beers in her cookie recipes!
5) A good cookie plate should include representation from all the major types of cookies: drop cookies, thumbprint cookies, rugelach, bars, biscotti, and egg white cookies. Don't forget to use seasonality as an inspiration, too!
Photos Courtesy of Cookie Love by Mindy Segal with Kate Leahy, copyright (c) 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2015 by Dan Goldberg.