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Nov 4, 2010 08:59 AM

what makes a cookie crispy?

Any bakers out there know what makes a cookie crispy?

I'd like to make a crispy whole wheat cookie. Is it the sugar the butter?

and can I achieve a crispy cookie with oil?

Any advice would be great.


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  1. In general, more butter to flour ratio, although adding white sugar will make a crisper cookie. If you have a recipe you want to try, it might help to post it and we can make suggestions.

      1. re: toomuchfat

        "fat and high heat baking"

        That would result in a crispy burnt cookie.

        It's the proportions of butter and sugar in the dough, with more butter to flour, as chowser wrote. A lower baking temp has somewhat to do with it, it allows the cookies to spread more and dry out some. All butter or melted butter, rather than any other fat, such as margarine, all white sugar as opposed to brown, honey or maple syrup, using baking soda instead of baking powder, less egg with a sub of milk for the liquid, a little corn syrup as part of the sugar measure, a thinner dough or batter, use bread flour or a mix of bread and AP; all these things can contribute to crispier cookies. Using a whole grain flour will help also.

        For the OP-The thing to do now is post your recipe, as chowser requested.

        1. re: toomuchfat

          You could also dehydrate cookies. I did that for a recent recipe of mine. It was twice-baked, slow-baked at 250F and then a stint in a dehydration oven for several hours.

          I know dehydration sounds weird but it does work AND it helps preserve flavors because high heat decomposes flavors. Yes, it does take LOTS of time.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              It's a chocolate chip variation. I call it the "Black Sugar Trifecta, Wrapped Chip Cookies".

              The black sugar refers to a mix of dark brown, molasses and date sugars (dehydrated and ground to a powder). The black sugar has 3 functions in the cookie (I won't list them). Three and three, hence the word "trifecta".

              The wrapped chips are chocolate chips, wrapped in a date surround.

              It takes me almost 3 days to make a batch, 2 days to prep the ingredients, almost 1 day to complete baking. There are shortcuts that could cut the time, but I had a good time making the 3-day version.

              They are great cookies, but I won't be making them again for a while. I've got a bunch of other recipes and ideas to work on.

              Here's the link:


          1. Whether a cookie turns out chewy or crispy depends ultimately on the ratio of moisture to the other ingredients, flour and fat.

            To make crispy cookies, reduce the amount of ingredients that hold moisture (e.g., flour, eggs, brown sugar, molasses, etc.).

            Reducing these ingredients that either have moister (brown suguar) or hold moisture (flour) will increase the proporationate ratio of fat in your cookie dough. This is key for a variety of reasons. Fat gets hotter than the water in the dough and drives out the moisture. Fat also makes the dough softer and melts it quicker when hot, making the cookies spread. Thinner cookies, for obvious reasons, bake up crisper than thicker ones.

            Baking time and procedure can also help create a crisper texture. Bake the cookies at a lower temp to give them more time to spread before they firm. May seem counterintuitive, but the lower temp allows you bake longer without burning the cookies. The longer the cookies can stay in the oven the longer it has a chance to allow any moisture in the cookie to evaporate.

            With these guidelines, you can adjust and play around with your recipes to make as brittle a cookie as you want.

            Good luck.

            1. I don't know about crisper, but here's what I do to make a cookie softer. Maybe if you do the opposite?

              1) heat butter to just barely melt, then dissolve sugar in it rather than creaming the sugar and butter together
              2) let the cookie sheets cool between batches
              3) use heavy duty cookie sheets
              4) refrigerate the dough for at least 24 hours

              Thinner cookies, cookies that spread more (which thinner baking sheets that heat up faster in the oven before the cookie has a chance to "set", and using still warm cookie sheets) will be crisper.

              I don't really know what refrigerating the dough does except maybe let ingredients thoroughly incorporate, or why barely melting the butter seems to help to get a soft cookie, but they do.
              If anybody knows WHY that makes cookies softer, then you could do the opposite to make them crisper.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ZenSojourner

                Melting the butter lets the flour absorb the liquids more, as does letting it sit longer, which makes a softer cookie. Refrigerating the dough makes the dough hard by firming up the butter. It takes longer to melt the butter (softer butter spreads the cookie dough faster which results in a crisper cookie). It's the same reason using a cold pan will make the cookie softer--the butter in the dough will stay firmer as it bakes because it starts off cold. The outside will cook w/ less spreading so stays soft.

                What it comes down to, as crispiness goes, and what the other suggestions made will do is to increase the spreading more quickly to get a crisper cookie. You can do that by decreasing temperature, increasing butter or sugar/reducing flour, starting off w/ softer dough, using a cookie sheet that comes to temperature more quickly. These are the opposite of what you do to get a softer cookie.