The Scientific Reason Why Cookies Taste Better When They're Dunked

The Scientific Reason Why Cookies Taste Better When They're Dunked

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Megan Gordon
Mar 25, 2013

Girl Scout cookie season just wrapped up, and if you're anything like me you were probably sidetracked at the grocery store by sweet-looking Scouts hawking Thin Mints and Samoas. As a former Girl Scout who once did her fair share of hawking, I have trouble saying no. Plus, I like cookies. Especially when they're dunked in milk.

And, it turns out, there's a reason why cookies taste even better when dunked.

I have fond memories of dipping my cookies in milk, but I also love dunking firm cookies, like shortbreads and Thin Mints, in hot tea in the afternoon.

NPR explored why so many others do the same, asking, "Does immersing a cookie into a warm beverage really make it taste better? And if so, why?"

Cookbook author Heston Blumenthal did a number of scientific experiments and discovered that a chocolate cookie dipped in black tea did actually have more flavor. A science fanatic, Blumenthal worked with a group of food scientists who developed a new machine which would "measure the amount of flavor released in your mouth as aromas when you take a sip of Cabernet, melt a chocolate bar on your tongue, or chew on a cookie."

The result was that cookies released more cookie flavor and aroma when dunked. Why? Methylbutanol, a compound linked to the toasty flavors in baked goods like cookies, is more easily and quickly released into the mouth and nose when the cookie is dampened — especially by a hot beverage, like tea. The conclusion: "dunking is better than not dunking."

What do you think? Is dunking more of a habit, or do you feel it actually makes your cookies more flavorful?

Read the Article: Dunking Science: Do Cookies Really Taste Better Dunked in Tea? by Michaeleen Doucleff

Related: Foods for Dunking: Best Food and Beverage Combos

(Image: Faith Durand)

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