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Which Flour for Cookies?

Asked by Inkweaver. Answered on 13th March 2012

Full question

Hi there, I'd love to try Nigella's Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies (Nigella Express, p190), but I'm a little nervous, as last time I tried another of her cookie recipes they spread quite a bit and I ended up acheiving every child's dream of creating one giant cookie (kind of cool, but not exactly what I was going for!). So, before I try again, what kind of flour should be used? The recipe simply says 'flour.' Is it self-raising or plain? Thanks for your help!

Our answer

In all of Nigella's books the flour used is plain (all-purpose) unless the recipe specifies that it should be self-raising. Nigella doesn't use self-raising flour in her more recent books as she found that quite often self-raising flour would sit in the cupboard for some time and the raising agents in the flour would tend to expire before she could use the flour up. She prefers to use plain flour and add baking powder and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).

Also if your cookies are spreading when they bake it could also be that the cookie dough is slightly too warm when it goes into the oven. The butter will tend to start to melt too quickly if it is soft, spreading the cookies out. If you can it may be worth refrigerating the shaped cookies for 15 minutes before baking - you could refrigerate them while the oven preheats. Also make sure that you leave enough space between the cookies on the baking sheet - it is a good idea to leave around 5cm/2 inches between each unbaked cookie (or more, if the recipe specifies wider spacing).

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