Cookie Chemistry_Seacole

Christmas Cookie Chemistry and Seacole’s Favorite Cookie Recipe

Cookie Chemistry_Seacole

The Seacole team is looking forward to a festive time off at the end of the month. And if your office is like ours, holiday treats are everywhere! All these confectionery delights has our team thinking about the chemistry behind a delicious cookie.

Cookie Chemistry at Work

Baking cookies and other treats is an example of chemistry in action. Baking is one of the first chemistry experiments we do as kids. The ingredients you use, how long you beat the dough, the temperature of the oven, and baking time work together to set off chemical reactions, resulting in the perfect cookie.

Cookie Chemistry Basics: Spread, Rise, Color, and Flavor

Butter determines the spread, or diameter, of your cookie. Melted butter creates a very wet dough. In the oven, the structure of cookies made from this type of dough will quickly break down in the heat. This expands the diameter of the cookies. Using colder butter creates a drier dough, helping the cookies maintain their structure.

Cookies rise when the water in the dough is converted from liquid to gas (steam). The steam pushes the dough up as it starts to rise. Then, the baking soda and baking powder combination cause a chemical reaction, producing carbon dioxide. The cookies rise even further, creating holes in the dough. The result is light and flaky cookies.

Fun fact: Cookies won’t rise in temperatures lower than 212 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the boiling point of water. Any lower and the water in the dough will not convert to steam. In the last few minutes of the bake, two delicious chemical reactions occur. As the sugars break down, they caramelize and create that signature fresh-baked cookie odor. Then the proteins in the egg and flour succumb to the Maillard reaction. This reaction occurs when sugars and proteins are heated together, for delicious results. The Maillard reaction is responsible for cookies’ toasty flavor.

Cookie Chemistry: Advanced Skills

Here are Seacole’s few chemistry tips for the perfect cookie. Using melted butter in your dough will create a flatter, chewier cookie. Using cold butter creates a cakey, fluffy cookie.

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and baking powder (baking soda plus a dry acid, such as cream of tartar) can alter cookie chemistry, too. Using soda instead of powder will create extra rise because baking powder leavens the dough when it is mixed in and when it is heated.

Two more pro tips: Use more flour for a thicker cookie. Dark sugars such as molasses and honey will get you a toastier flavor than white sugar.

Seacole’s Favorite Cookie Recipe: Aunt Mary’s Sugar Cookies

This sugar cookie recipe is from the kitchen of Seacole owner and founder Gregg Elliott’s mother.

Aunt Mary’s Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter

2 eggs

1 ½ cup white sugar

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. fresh baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla

3 cups flour (reserve 3 Tbsp. for rolling)

Sift flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together three times. Cut into butter like a pie crust. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until light. Add sugar and vanilla to eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Combine all ingredients and hand mix gently. Store in the refrigerator overnight.

Roll thin or make into balls and press with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in sugar. Bake at 300–325 degrees for 10–12 minutes. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays from the Seacole team!

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Plant De-Icing Tips_Seacole

Landscape-Safe De-Icing Products for Ice and Snow

Plant De-Icing Tips_Seacole

Finding an effective de-icer that’s also safe for plants and other landscape features can be difficult. Seacole can recommend several de-icers that are effective and safe for the environment.

Choosing Road Salt

Each de-icing product is very different. Salt is the most popular de-icing agent. Several different types of salt are available, each with a different ice-melting capacity, price point, and degree of safety.

Rock Salt, or sodium chloride, is the most common de-icing agent. It is widely available, affordable, and easy to spread. But it is only effective to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, making it inappropriate for deep-winter applications in northern states. Rock salt can be harmful to plants, so avoid using adjacent to grass or landscape beds.

Calcium chloride is another option. It works faster than rock salt and at colder temperatures, down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. It will not hurt concrete walkways, but it will damage or kill plants. Though more effective than rock salt in colder climates, it still harms landscaping.

Potash or potassium chloride, better known as a fertilizer, is also an effective de-icer and safe for plants when applied appropriately. Seacole recommends spreading no more than 5 pounds per 100 square feet. Potash works more slowly than rock salt or calcium chloride, but is ultimately more effective.

Magnesium chloride is the most plant-safe ice melt option. It works down to -13 degrees Fahrenheit and requires just 1–2 pounds per 100 square feet. Magnesium chloride is safe for plants and paved surfaces.

For the Best De-Icing Results, Spray, Don’t Spread

Solid salt ice melt is a conventional choice for de-icing, but Seacole has an innovative and plant-safe option. The PA Liquid De-icer works in -40 degrees Fahrenheit. A single application will last longer than solid rock salt. It is also safe for plants and paved surfaces. Apply liquid deicer with a standard lawn and garden sprayer.

This winter, choose a plant-safe solution such as PA Liquid De-icer for effective and safe ice melting. Contact Seacole today to place an order.

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