You have probably seen a recipe for chocolate chip cookies and noticed that it asked you to chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. You might have gone along with this step not knowing why, or skipped it altogether (we understand that sometimes cookies just can’t wait!) however there are a few very good reasons as to why you should use a little bit of extra patience to chill that cookie dough.
1. Controlling the Spread
Have you ever carefully spaced cookies on the baking tray only to find in the oven that they spread flat out and combined to form one giant, slightly square super cookie? Chilling the dough prevents that from happening. Chilling the cookie dough chills the butter and resolidifies your added fats, meaning that it takes longer to melt in the oven and the cookies spread less. It also gives the sugar more time to absorb liquid (aka your wet additions), this is liquid that would otherwise remain free in the dough to cause more spreading.
2. It Concentrates Flavour
Chilling the dough does two different things to concentrate the flavour.
Firstly, flour breaks down to its components, one of which is sugar. The sugar from that broken-down flour then acts as a flavour enhancer making the cookies taste sweeter and more flavourful.
Chilling the dough also, slowly, makes the cookie dough dry out. This may sound bad, but it isn’t, as it locks in all the original flavour into your chilled dough concentrating and intensifying the flavour.
If you like your cookies chewy and crispy (as opposed to doughy) then you are definitely going to want to chill your dough. As the chilled dough dries up, it concentrates the sugar which creates a more caramelised cookie with a better texture.
It may be difficult to be patient, but it’s worth it for those extra delicious cookies. Look on the bright side it’s the perfect excuse to make and prepare cookie dough the night before a busy day so you can just chill and bake as needed.