I Tried Jennifer Garner’s Most Beloved “Cloud Cookies” and I’ve Already Made Two Batches This Week
Who doesn’t love a good baking fail? While it’s endearing to watch our favorite celebs bake some of their favorite treats over on social media, I have to admit, it’s even more entertaining to watch them fail on camera as well. It makes them feel a little more normal — like the rest of us — so I couldn’t help but love the recent cookie-baking fail Jennifer Garner posted on her Instagram.
The well-known actress was making a batch of Sarabeth’s Cloud Cookies, and while she made the process look seamless, she ended up with rather flat, brown cookies at the end. So how did that happen? Well, she skimped on using the superfine sugar that the recipe calls for. By the end of the video when she made her second attempt, you can tell that the superfine sugar made all the difference for this particular chocolate chip cookie.
Superfine sugar (also known as caster sugar) is a finely ground sugar that is meant for baking airy desserts, kind of like these cloud cookies. Curious if these cookies really would become that airy when baking them, I decided to give the recipe a try for myself. Needless to say, I felt like I was biting into sugary, buttery air in a good way, of course!
Get the recipe: Sarabeth’s Cloud Cookies
How to Make Sarabeth’s Cloud Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, making sure one of the racks is at the center or top third of your oven. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together 1 1/3 cups of superfine sugar and 1 1/3 cup of light brown sugar.
In another medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
Using an electric mixer, beat one cup of room temperature unsalted butter (the equivalent of two sticks) on high speed for about a minute, until it is smooth. Gradually add in the sugar mixture, then toss in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat the sugar/butter mixture for five minutes, stopping to scrape the sides occasionally, until the mixture is a light brown and fluffy texture; this should take about five minutes. Gradually add in two room temperature eggs and beat them in.
Slowly sprinkle in the dry ingredients until just combined. Once everything is incorporated, remove the dough from the electric mixer and gently fold in 2 cups of toasted sliced almonds, and two cups of chocolate chips.
Scoop a 2-inch sized cookie dough ball and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Be sure to give the cookies enough room — they will get much bigger. I recommend baking eight cookies per sheet pan to give them enough space.
Bake the cookies for 12 minutes first. Remove the pan from the oven, then gently wrap the pan on a surface to slightly deflate the cookies and give them that signature crinkle look. Place the cookies back in the oven and bake for another 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan before removing to a cooling rack.
My Honest Review
I have to admit, I was really skeptical about making these cookies after seeing Jennifer Garner’s baking fail on Instagram. Would they actually work well, or was I bound to have super flat, super burnt cookies by the end of this recipe?
Turns out, the superfine sugar really is the trick to making the perfect cloud cookies. The batter for these cookies was fluffy and cloudy, and the texture of the cookies reflected it. Each bite was crispy, yet there were little air pockets throughout that gave it that “cloud-like” texture that they are so famously named after. While the steps for properly beating the sugar, butter, and eggs may seem a bit tedious, I promise you, you’ll want to go through with the meticulous steps to get this texture.
Also, while the recipe does call for quite a few chocolate chips and almonds, don’t be afraid. At first I thought it was a bit too much, but the cookies spread out quite a bit, so you’re not just biting into almonds and chocolate chips with each bite; the texture is still perfect.
As for the taste, I admit, I kind of wanted a hint of more salt. I like a good salty chocolate chip cookie, and I feel like this just didn’t have as much as I would have desired. After giving these cookies a test, I decided to bake them with a sprinkle of salt on the bottom so each bite could have that extra zing of salt — which is honestly how I make all of my chocolate chip cookies anyways.
3 Tips for Making Sarabeth’s Cloud Cookies
- Get the superfine sugar: It may seem a little tedious, and you may have to order it online, but do not skimp on the superfine sugar. This helps to give the cookies that cloud texture. Don’t make the same mistake Jennifer did!
- Do not age the dough: In many cases, when it comes to baking cookies, refrigerating the dough — also known as “aging” the dough — is beneficial for giving the cookies an even richer texture and flavor. However, with these cookies, do not put the dough in the fridge. The air-like quality these cloud cookies need happens during the beating process of the dough, and you’ll lose it if you refrigerate it. The texture of the dough will seem fluffy and wet, but that’s okay; you’ll get the texture you desire.
- Sprinkle salt on the bottom before placing the cookie down: As I mentioned, I enjoy a good pinch of salt with my chocolate chip cookies. If you’re like me and you want a little extra salt with each bite, sprinkle some salt onto the parchment paper before placing your cookie dough down. That way when you take a bite of the cookie, the salt underneath will hit your tongue first and give you that delicious salty-sweet taste you desire!