Hygroscopic biscuits

[by Naveen]
"These are like dessicator packets!" - my self-assessment of a recent baking experiment
An amazing batch of cinnamon rolls from my housemate inspired a spree of haphazard ingredient substitutions. I still had brown rice flour, coconut oil, flaxseed, and other such ingredients from my previous adventure in vegan baking, so I thought that I would use them to recreate his decadent breakfast. However, I neglected to realize two points:
  • The melting characteristics of coconut oil are totally different than shortening. I didn't mix the dough enough to break up the chilled blobs of coconut fat, which led to pools of liquid when transferred to the oven.
  • Brown rice flour is good for shortbread cookies, when the purpose of the flour is mainly to turn a large quantity of butter (or other fat) into a cookie that doesn't melt in your hand, but crumbles easily. When the fat:flour ratio is scaled back, the starches are no longer fully occupied, so the resulting quick bread loses structural integrity and appears to seek out any source of water (e.g. your tongue).
In an attempt to console me, my housemate explained how he had hundreds of years of collective cooking experience with wheat flour, butter, and sugar against my couple years of amateur interest in gastroscience. To catch-up, I need to be more systematic and purposeful in my experimentation. Although I lack the resources of America's Test Kitchen, I'll strive to apply my physics skills to the culinary realm.

1 comment:

  1. I was looking for hygroscopic recipes for my 2-4th grade students. We are making cookies and discussing what exactly hygroscopic means. This is absolutely hilarious and I will share it with my kids!