It's Girl Scout cookie season and if you're anything like me, you've been 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. Last week a little news story brought to my attention a fact I've long known: there's a trick to making them taste even better.What exactly is this trick? Dunking! 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. Last week NPR wrote a piece exploring 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 actually asked a group of food scientists to help him develop 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 is that cookies released more cookie flavor and aroma when dunked. 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?
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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