Why You Should Try Using Cake Flour To Make Cookies

Knowing the various types of flour and how best to use them can be overwhelming for any baker (novice and expert alike), but if you are dabbling in homemade baked goods, familiarizing yourself with cake flour is a good place to start. With a protein content lower than that of all-purpose flour, cake flour helps create a delicate, fluffy texture in your treats.

The spectrum of cookie textures is wide — there is crispy and crunchy, hard on the outside and chewy on the inside, soft and crumbly throughout ... many cookie outcomes are possible. They all result from your preparation process and choice of ingredients. 

Flour type is among the most impactful variables, as it forms the dough's base texture. If you seek a cookie on the softer, cake-like end of the spectrum, using cake flour is a tried and true way to obtain it. It is a simple substitution that's guaranteed to elevate what your oven cranks out.  

The case for cake flour in cookies

As a base ingredient, flour type will impact the structure of a cookie, so if you want to modify it, using cake flour is the perfect place to start. Cake flour is a fine wheat flour with a lower protein content than all-purpose flour. Wheat protein, or gluten, gives baked goods their stretch and durability, making them chewier and less tender. 

All-purpose and high-protein flour are better suited to breads, while cake flour is best for softer sweets. It contributes to that smooth, delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Using bread flour will noticeably affect your baked goods as much as using cake flour.

Many cookie recipes call for cake flour, but depending on what kind of cookie you're going for, you may not want to use it exclusively. A mix of flours with varying protein contents can help create a more nuanced texture; if you want to achieve a more delicate texture but don't want to sacrifice chewiness, a blend of cake and all-purpose flour is ideal.

Testimonials to cake flour in cookies

Bakers will use cake flour to make the New York-style chocolate chip cookies. Popularized at the New York City-based Levain Bakery. These cookies are characteristically thick with a crunchy exterior and gooey, pillowy interior. Though Levain Bakery does not disclose the specific ingredients in its beloved cookies, other bakeries with similar thick cookies, like Chip City, disclose that cake flour is, in fact, on their ingredient list, helping achieve the signature style. Notably, though, it is included along with all-purpose flour.

When determining how much cake flour to use in relation to all-purpose flour, the principle is simple: the more cakey you want your cookies to be, the higher ratio of cake flour you will want to include in the mix. Feel free to tinker with proportions to achieve the cookie of your dreams. You'll find that a little cake flour goes a long way.

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