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I have a problem with my cookies becoming crumbly as they hang-out in room/warm afternoon temperatures.

I bake cookies -- a lot for fundraisers. Normally these cookies are stored in display cases within main halls and sold by students. What happens whenever I test them in the middle of the day, is that they've lost their tender toughness, which is more akin to a freshly baked batch or one from the refrigerator.

Since the cookies won't be sold through a refrigerated display-case for the foreseeable future, I wonder what's a good ingredient to make the cookies tougher within warm ambient temperatures? I suppose grocery-store cookies have this certain ingredient to a higher extent.

Thanks for your help!

The recipe is as follows

(Makes 120-130 cookies)

Wet:

  • 1 lb butter (2x 220g), caramelized/browned to 300 F -- cooled
  • 10 oz granulated sugar + 4 eggs + 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 oz brown sugar

Dry:

  • 20 oz APF
  • 6g baking soda, 8g iodized salt
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 16 oz dark chocolate chips*

*I should disclose this. I use couverture chocolate chips so they're slightly melty, but also because they're cheaper than bakeproof ones.

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    Cheers from Mandaluyong. Humidity is probably a pretty big factor here, and could conceivably be resolved by the addition of a desiccant to the display case (maybe as simple as rice) along with some cheap fans. Or even more simply with a glaze. We'll need to see the recipe though (as far as ingredients go). Store bought cookies could sail the Pacific and come out dry, that's probably not a good goal to set (selectively permeable but still legally edible stuff) for fresh cookies :) – Tim Post Oct 15 '16 at 18:11
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Both eggs and cornstarch tend to make cookies more delicate. I'd cut the eggs in half and add in 2 tbsp of water to make up the moisture content. The cookies won't puff as nicely, but they will not crumble so easily, either. If that doesn't toughen the cookies enough, halve or eliminate the cornstarch.

  • I couldn't imagine cutting out half the eggs... I'll research and give that a try. ...it would cut the cost if it works well. – wearashirt Oct 17 '16 at 14:28
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I'd imagine these are being stored in a simple glass / plastic display similar to what you'd see at a sari-sari store.

Shalryn's suggestion is good, but it compromises the quality of the cookie a bit. I'd look at using some sort of desiccant first, and a simple electric fan behind the display to move the air around in order to take advantage of it. Humidity and lack of air movement is definitely a big problem here, and if you can find a way to control that, you might not have to alter the recipe (which sounds positively delicious and I'm going to try it).

Some rice flour in a small shallow tin might just be enough to do it. You'd have to experiment a bit, and ultimately you might have to alter your recipe, but those cookies are surely a hit and I'd hate to see you have to make them harder for logistic's sake :)

If they're being sold in boxes, just add a silica gel pack and let folks know that they can't hit direct sunlight for too long. They are incredibly cheap (they run around 1.25 pesos from anywhere between 2-3 gram packets).

  • You're right about the humidity... The cookies are in a cake-display case with a transparent top. Can't remove the top because flies abound! – wearashirt Oct 17 '16 at 14:31
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    Maybe some screen on the top? The other suggestion of cutting out the cornstarch to the extent that you can is probably the best one you could try, I checked with a couple pastry chefs and they both agreed. – Tim Post Oct 17 '16 at 15:45
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You probably do not want a cookie to be "tough" in the meaning it usually has in baking - that kind of tough you would get by encouraging gluten development, but you would end up with something bready/cakey.

A "chewy" consistency, which is probably desired, has more to do with the kinds of sugars used, you want something somewhat sticky that does not crystallize out hard - eg molasses, inverted syrup.

The use of some brown sugar is likely a step in the right direction already. The massive amount of fat could help or could cause your problems (nearly 1:1 fat/flour ratio could end up with you literally frying the flour).

Check what kind of brown sugar you are using - are you interpreting brown sugar as "raw unbleached cane sugar" while the recipe writer ( if this is your recipe, the recipes you derived from) intended "common fake brown sugar, being white sugar drenched in molasses"?

  • It's the white sugar drenched in molasses. However I've recently switched to soft brown sugar, the one the clumps up. I'm assuming that's still not it? What is the effect of real unbleached cane sugar? Can I just directly use viscuous molasses? – wearashirt Oct 22 '16 at 7:58

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