Leave it to science to reveal all of life's greatest mysteries. Here's the secret to baking the perfect cookie, by food scientist Shirley Corriher: it's all about the gluten!
Among the cookie problems bakers face is that the cookies can emerge from the oven soft and intact, but when the cookies travel, they may turn into a box of crumbs.
To beat this problem, Corriher suggests adding a tablespoon of water to a cup of flour that's going to be used in the cookies. The two proteins in flour — glutenin and gliadin — grip water, Corriher tells NPR's Melissa Block, and make "springy stretchy, strong elastic sheets of gluten." The gluten will hold the cookies together, she says.