activity

In this experiment, you’ll bake two batches of cookies: one made with brown sugar and one made with white sugar. Then, you’ll do a taste test to find out whether the kind of sugar you used affects your cookies’ flavor and texture.

safety
  • Uses the microwave
  • Uses the oven
difficulty
  • Intermediate
time
  • 2 hours, plus cooling time

Prepare Ingredients

Measure these ingredients TWICE:

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (5⅓ ounces)
all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon
baking soda
¼ teaspoon
salt
⅛ teaspoon
baking powder
7 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted
1½ teaspoons
vanilla extract

Measure these ingredients ONCE:

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed (6⅛ ounces)
dark brown sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (6⅛ ounces)
white granulated sugar

Gather Equipment

2
rimmed baking sheets
Parchment paper
2
bowls (1 large, 1 medium)
Whisk
Rubber spatula
1-­tablespoon measuring spoon
Oven mitts
2
cooling racks
Masking tape
Marker
1
 

Make a prediction: Do you think cookies made with brown sugar will taste the same as or different from cookies made with white sugar? Why do you think so?

 
2
 

Make cookies with brown sugar: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

 
3
 
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (5⅓ ounces)
all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon
baking soda
¼ teaspoon
salt
⅛ teaspoon
baking powder

In medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon baking powder.

 
4
 
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed (6⅛ ounces)
dark brown sugar
7 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted
1
large egg yolk
1½ teaspoons
vanilla extract

In large bowl, whisk brown sugar and 7 tablespoons melted butter until smooth and no lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Add 1 egg yolk and 1½ teaspoons vanilla and whisk until well combined, about 30 seconds.

 
5
 

Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and use rubber spatula to stir until just combined and no dry flour is visible, about 1 minute.

 
6
 

Use your slightly wet hands to roll dough into 10 balls (about 2 tablespoons each). Place dough balls on parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space between balls.

 
7
 

Place baking sheet in oven. Bake cookies until edges are beginning to set but centers are still soft and puffy (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), 15 to 20 minutes.

 
8
 

Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven and place on cooling rack (ask an adult for help). Use masking tape and marker to label cooling rack “Brown Sugar.” Let cookies cool completely on baking sheet, about 30 minutes.

 
9
 

Make cookies with white sugar: While cookies with brown sugar cool, repeat steps 2 through 8 to make cookies with white sugar, using clean bowls, whisk, and rubber spatula. (Don’t forget to use white sugar in step 4!) Use masking tape and marker to label second cooling rack “White Sugar.” Let cookies cool completely on baking sheet before tasting, about 30 minutes.

 
10
 

Observe your results: Do the cookies with brown sugar and cookies with white sugar look the same or different? How so? Taste 1 cookie from each batch. How would you describe the flavor of each cookie? The texture?