The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Chocolate Cookies


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Ever heard the expression, “That’s the way the cookie crumbles?” What does this mean? How does the cookie crumble?

About a year ago, Qasin Saleem, a doctoral student at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom used a sophisticated digital-image processing system to study some freshly baked cookies while they were cooling.


He and his colleagues observed cracks appearing on them only a few minutes after they were removed from the oven. After an additional observation period, they concluded that during this cooling process, moisture drifts from the center of the cookie, building stress toward the outside while, indeed, the center actually shrinks. This results in the formation of tiny cracks, which often cause cookies to crumble during handling and shipment.

And here’s what we want to know …

  • Low-fat, low-sugar cookies fared the worst, crumbling the most.
  • Sugary, high-fat (more delicious) varieties were far less likely to crumble.

It figures that the sugary, high-fat cookies are the ones that stick around (in every way)! Guess these are the ones you’ll want to ship to us at Christmas.

So … well … that seems to be the way the cookie crumbles.


The 2005 Old Farmer's Almanac


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