Dehydrating Cookies -- What YOU Need To Know | LilaLoa: Dehydrating Cookies -- What YOU Need To Know

Dehydrating Cookies -- What YOU Need To Know


I live in South Korea. It's been said before, but it is still true. As a result of this, I am pretty much the world's best Amazon shopper. I know you think that YOU are the number one, top competitor of Amazon shopping ...actually...you might be right, but let's not ruin this for me right now, okay? 

Sometimes I make cinnamon rolls the size of my head and drink watered-down soda while browsing through the ladies shoe department just so I can pretend that I am in an actual store. My kids are happy to accompany me to the land of make believe as long as they get their own straw. Sometimes they even pitch a fit until I put some inexplicably desirable item in the cart. And like every other parent on the planet...I take it out while they are going to the bathroom.

The problem with Amazon is that you can load stuff in your cart "for later." I usually reserve this space for items that I really want to get and know that there is no circumstance, ever, in the entire world, under which I would be able to justify purchasing it. I want to walk away, but I talk a mean justification and it's so hard to say no to myself. So I just leave it there. And every time I open my shopping cart, it's just staring up at me with those big, sad, BUY ME NOW eyes. I can't live with that kind of sadness.

Guess what was in my cart for months and months last year? If you guessed a porcelain wind-up elephant -- that would be weird. The answer is a dehydrator. I don't need one. But I was pretty much convinced that I wouldn't really be a whole person again until I could hear that gentle fan, quietly drying my balcony-grown produce in the background of my life. Luckily for me, some super thoughtful and generous family member actually purchased it for me. Which was way better than purchasing it myself, because then I didn't have guilt over buying the weirdest thing ever off Amazon, because that would have given me a guilt complex and I would have only been able to use it in the closet while everyone was asleep. And...my closets don't even have power outlets.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago where some friends were chatting about whether or not you could use a dehydrator with cookies and what it would do to them. And I was afraid to admit that I had a dehydrator. (For all I know, the dehydrator is the appliance equivalent of wearing red socks and sandals with shorts.) So I experimented in secret. And...I was surprised with the results. Let's get to it, shall we?


I made 2 sets of cookies. I put one set in the dehydrator and one left one set on my kitchen table, so they would be right next to each other. I also somehow chose the most humid day of the year for this "experiment." Also, I should note that I intentionally made these cookies wonky and off-centered. Its uh, new approach to umm, science and spatially... important things for an experiment.

I wanted to see if the dehydrator would help with the color bleed problem. My red and black almost never bleed...so I used pink and purple instead because those seem to be worse for me. And I used nearly a teaspoon of each gel in about 1/2 cup of icing. (Has anyone ever TRIED to get their colors to bleed? It's not as easy at it seems.)

I was also concerned about the cookies getting dried out while the icing dries. You know, since I was putting them in a DE-hydrator and all.

Anyway...I put one set of cookies in the dehydrator and turned it on to the lowest setting, which for me is 95 degrees. I tested for icing and cookie dryness at random intervals until the icing was completely dry. (I challenge any scientist to be precise will feeding an infant, endlessly replacing the shoes of a 2 year old and repeatedly saving the life a 5 year-old as he jumps to his near-death while bouncing from one couch to another. )


 1 HOUR

The dehydrator cookies are on the left in all the pictures. At one hour, the cookies in the dehydrator were already dry to the touch. Both cookies were easily dented when I pushed my finger into the icing. I was surprised to see how shiny the dehydrator cookies were compared to the cookies that were left on the table. Both cookies tasted exactly the same. No noticeable bleeding

2 HOURS

The cookies reached maximum shine at 2 hours. I know its kind of hard to tell from the pictures... and I'm totally sorry that I'm not a super-amazing shine picture taker-er person. Trust me though. I am not lying to you. If you were going to use a dehydrator for shine, they don't get much shinier after 2 hours. The dehydrator cookies were starting to get firm, but both cookies could still be mushed when I pushed on them with my finger. The cookies still tasted the same. No noticeable bleeding.

4 HOURS

This is a better picture of how shiny the dehydrator cookies are. (Remember, they are on the left.) By 4 hours, the icing on the dehydrator cookies had dried enough that it wasn't easy to dent the icing. The cookies left on the table still had very mush-able icing. Both cookies still tasted the same and there was no noticeable bleeding. (Starting to see a pattern?)

8 HOURS

Do you SEE the shine difference between the two cookies?! I cannot believe how much shine I have been missing out on all this time. At this point the icing on the dehydrator cookies was pretty much dry. I couldn't dent it without using unrealistic force. (By that I mean, any cookie will dent if you hit it with a hammer. I did not hit it with a hammer.) The cookies STILL tasted the same and there was no noticeable bleeding.

20 HOURS

I took the last cookie out of the dehydrator at 8 hours when it was completely dry and let it sit on the table with the other cookie over night. The shiny dehydrator cookie stayed shiny. There was a tiny bit of color bleed on the table cookie.  I tasted both cookies, and neither one of them seemed drier than the other. I even had my husband, who had no idea which one had been in the dehydrator taste them. He said they tasted the same and if anything, the one on the table seemed drier. 

In summary -- dehydrators dry the icing faster, with more shine, and at least with only 8 hours of dehydrating -- don't noticeably dry out the cookies themselves. (EDIT -- Please keep in mind this test was done in an extremely humid environment where the average humidity doesn't fall below 80%)

I'm really excited for these findings. I have 5 shelves in my dehydrator, so that definitely frees up some counter space. I can use my dehydrator on those crazy-humid days where my cookies literally never dry. And since I live in the land of no-heat guns, this is a fantastic option for me to achieve that beautiful shine!!


FAQ

What dehydrator do you use? I have a NESCO 700 Watt dehydrator. Like THIS ONE.

What should I look for in a dehydrator? It should have a fan and a temperature control. If you make a lot of cookies...get a big dehydrator. My dehydrator has 5 trays and I can fit about 3 dozen cookies in there at one time.

What temperature should I use for the cookies? The LOWEST possible setting. I set mine to 95 F. If it does not have a variable control, they are usually set to around 140F which is much to high for cookies.

How long should I leave my cookies in the dehydrator? It depends on your climate. If you live somewhere that has a lot of humidity, you can leave them in there 4-6 hours without drying out the cookie. If you live in a dry climate, 20-30 minutes should be more than enough to set the icing, avoid craters and give it a shine.