This Is Why Grandma Baked with Hard Boiled Egg Yolks

Just when we thought Grandma had shared all her baking secrets, this hidden gem left us floored.

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Whether I’m making cookies, a layer cake or a breakfast pastry, my goal is always to make them as light, flaky and tender as possible. I know not to overwork dough because that develops more gluten, making baked goods tough. I’ve learned lots of tips and tricks from pastry chefs for keeping gluten at bay and I’ve made some amazing things following their advice.

Recently, when we ran a recipe contest asking for Grandma’s favorite recipes, we received a number of cake and cookie recipes calling for cooked egg yolks to be sieved into the batter. Low and behold, Grandma had yet another trick up her sleeve!

Why Grandma Put Egg Yolks in Baked Goods

I’ll skip all the geeky science stuff and give you the Cliffs Notes version (for those of you who don’t know Cliffs Notes, these little gems saved my behind in high school). The trick is simple; take cooled, hard-boiled egg yolks and press them through a fine-mesh sieve directly into your dry ingredients. This is very important—they have to be mixed in with your flour and they have to be sieved. What happens is the little pieces of yolk intermix with the flour and once liquids are added, they act as a barrier stopping some of the gluten from forming.

How to Add the Egg Yolks

Eager to give it a go, I boiled my eggs and added the cooked yolks to one of my new favorite cookies, Lavender and Lemon Biscochitos. I made two batches, one as written and another with 2 egg yolks added to the flour. You guessed it; the one with the egg yolks came out more tender and had a finer crumb than the original. I really was surprised.

Try it for yourself. Add 1 or 2 cooked and sieved yolks to the flour mixture when you’re mixing up your next batch of cookies, biscuits or cake. You don’t need to adjust the recipe at all—but be sure to press them through a sieve! You can’t just plop them in the flour and try to whisk them in. The yolks have to be in very fine pieces in order for this trick to work.

Try This Trick in Grandma's Cookie Recipes
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James Schend
Formerly Taste of Home’s Deputy Editor, Culinary, James oversaw the Food Editor team, recipe contests and Bakeable, and managed all food content for Trusted Media Brands. He has also worked in the kitchen of Williams-Sonoma and at Southern Living. An honor graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, James has traveled the world searching for great food in all corners of life.