I know I’m going out on a limb by making the claim I’ve made in the title, but if you think about it, this goes beyond personal preference. Unless of course you have a peanut allergy, the nuttier the cookie, the better it is. You have to remember that any baked item has to necessarily be judged on two levels: taste and texture.
Judging bread, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, and brownies on taste is pretty straightforward. It really is. This is how most people size up baked goods. Just like they size up food of any kind, they always zero in on the taste. No big mysteries here. This is not surprising at all. What people tend to overlook, however, is the power of texture.
Make no mistake about it, with everything else being equal, if you were made to choose between a cookie that has great taste, but almost no texture and a cookie that above average taste but has amazing texture, chances are you probably would want the cookie that has better texture. The reason for this is because most people experience food or baked goods in a multi-sensory way.
We’re not just using our tongues. We’re not just using one sensory input. Instead, we look at the cake, for example, and take in its view. Does it have a nice crust? Does it look appetizing? Is it cut the right way? Then we also smell it. Does it have a nice aroma? Does it smell fresh? Does it seem like it just came out of the oven? We then proceed to taste it and when we taste it, we kind of move things around in our mouth to get an idea of the texture.
Do you see how this works? It’s all about multi-sensory appreciation system. This is how most people operate. And to discount this or outright ignore it, can make your cookies very bland. You want your cookies to draw conversations. You want people to start talking about the stuff that you bake and if that’s the case, you really can’t go wrong by adding quite a bit of nuts in your cookies.
This is why when I was a kid, my favorite cookies growing up in California was Famous Amos. Famous Amos was an amazing cookie brand. I believe that they got taken over by a large food corporation, but back then, the texture was just amazing. The taste was pretty standard, it didn’t really jump out at you, but it was the texture that kept bringing me back over and over again.
Make no mistake about it, if you really want to take your cookie baking skills to a much higher level, you cannot ignore the multi-sensory approach to baking. You have to understand that people process food in whatever form it may take, using as much as possible, all five of their senses. This is why you have to engage people in terms of texture.
A little bit of texture can go a long way and the great thing about it is that they deliver on a pound for pound basis quite a bit of texture. Do yourself a big favor and add a little bit more nuts. Whether we’re talking about pecans, walnuts, or almonds, go crazy. There’s no harm in it. A little bit of texture can definitely bring your cookies to the next level of quality.
Sadly, this advice doesn’t apply across the board
As hopeful as the wording of this article may be, keep in mind that this advice doesn’t apply across the board for the simple reason that there are quite a number of people who are allergic to tree nuts or peanuts. If you or someone you’re planning to give cookies to is suffering from some form of nut allergy, you need to mix things up using a different strategy. You will need to find another way to bring some much needed texture to the table as far as your cookies go. Here are some alternatives to nuts.
Oatmeal is nice and chewy and nut-free. Oatmeal brings quite a bit of texture to cookies. Similarly, adding flaxseed to your cookie batter can make your cookies hold together tighter and baking with flaxseed also brings lots of dietary fiber and omega 3 fatty acids to the table. Finally, you can invest in some sprinkles. There are lots of fast setting sprinkles on the market. Best of all, many of these sprinkles don’t melt too quickly. These bring quite a bit color. Not only do they look good, they are nice and chewy or crunchy as well.
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