A little over a month ago, I wrote an article about pressed chocolate cake. And by pressed, I mean just that: stacking some plates on top of a just-baked cake, and waiting for them to weigh down the layer into its densest, fudgiest, happiest mood. I first read about this method in River Cafe London. But the most surprising part of the article was a comment from a reader:
“I like to do this with cookies that puff up too much,” Cyanpineapple wrote. “Squishing them while they're warm with a mug takes some of that air out so they get more chewy rather than dry.”
As soon as each batch of cookies came out of the oven, I pressed half of them on the sheet tray with a glass. After some initial stickage and chocolate smearing, I figured out that a little nonstick spray goes a long way toward a clean smush. (And yes, smush is the technical term we’ll be using here.)
The results? The smushed cookies were better or worse, depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re the sort of person who wants cookies to be as thin as possible, then I have a feeling you and this hack are going to get along great.
The chocolate cookies transformed from domed and brownie-like to dense and fudgy. Meanwhile, the chocolate chip cookies’ centers became suspended in a gooey state and the chocolate chips themselves, spread out in all directions, as if someone popped each one like a balloon. The peanut butter cookies went from classic crispy-chewy with a modest poof to paper-thin wafers—perfect, I imagined, for sandwiching with Nutella.
Of course, this trick can come in handy if you’re baking cookies that aren’t behaving the way you want them to—say, getting too puffy or not spreading enough in the oven. But cookie-smushing is just as fun for adapting a favorite recipe that you think could be a little thinner or crisper.
My only caveat: All of the smushed cookies looked like they had been, well, smushed. Which is to say, I thought they weren’t quite as pretty as their left-alone counterparts.
But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Maybe a smushed—extra-thin, extra-chewy, extra-crisp—cookie is just what you’re after. And now you know how to get it.
Have you ever tried this technique? Tell us in the comments!
This post contains products that are independently selected by our editors, and Food52 may earn an affiliate commission.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.