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Lindsay-Jean is a Contributing Writer & Editor at Food52.
This past thread on the topic might help you solve the mystery: https://food52.com/hotline...
PieceofLayerCake is a trusted source on baking.
I never knew it was a prerequisite for cookies to crack...do they taste good? Is the texture pleasing? When I think of a cracked surface on a cookie, it sounds to me that they're puffing quick and then collapsing. There are certain cookies that are designed to do that like those fudgy chocolate cookies you roll in confectioners' sugar. There are also cookies that are rolled in granulated sugar that, during the baking process, the sugar melts, creates a crystalline coating that cracks as the cookie expands and falls. The latter sounds to me to be what you're talking about. I'd like to encourage people to attach recipes to these questions so there are as many resources as possible to help.
When I'm making a basic, creaming-method cookie; say I have no instructions and just a recipe list. First thing's first, the butter must be soft, but still cool...no melty bits. I'm going to cream the butter and sugar (I usually add my salt in with the sugar, 'cause...why not?) for 2 - 3 minutes, then scrape the entire bowl, sides and bottom, super well. I actually take the bowl off the mixer and scrape it with a good bit of leverage. Add the eggs one at a time and mix them on low speed only until they just mix in, I don't want them to soufflé during the baking process. I then scrape the entire bowl again. I then add the dry ingredients, again on low, until they almost fully absorb. If there are add-ins, I fold them in by hand, while simultaneously making sure all the ingredients are then fully incorporated. This helps prevent overmixing. I don't have a consistent practice of chilling my dough (unless the recipe calls for it), but I find a good rest helps. If its cool enough in my kitchen, I just keep the bowl sitting on the counter until my oven preheats. If its warm, I'll scoop them and chill the dough balls.
As was mentioned in the attached topic, a warm oven helps with that intense burst of heat. For home-sized cookies, I would bake a basic chocolate chip cookie at 375F for 8ish minutes. That will give them a quick rise and any sugars on the surface will melt quickly, adding to a crackle. That also gives the outside and edges a lovely golden crisp, while the middle stays slightly fudgy. Make sure you don't over bake the cookies, always slightly under bake. That way, they have a bit of elasticity, and the structure isn't quite fully set. That will allow them to fall a bit as they cool. To check the doneness of a cookie, I make sure the middle is still a bit pale, and I very gently pick up the edge of the cookie with my fingertip, if it feels set, but the interior is still soft, its perfect. Some people give the pan a quick rap on the counter right as they come out, but I've never tried that.
If all else fails, it's probably the recipe. If the cookie doesn't have the proper amount of leavening, it won't rise properly and will either fall too quickly, or not at all.
Lisanne is a trusted home cook.
I agree with Pieceoflayercake; not all cookies are "crack" cookies. (I don't think of sugar cookies as that type). Some chocolate and ginger varieties have that feature. Could you link to a recipe?
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Well played. You deserve a cookie.
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