You researched cookie recipes for hours and finally filtered down your top favorites to one whose pictures have you drooling onto your screen. While mentally debating whether to use the electric or hand mixer you start overthinking it and flash back to your last cookie failure. Now you start thinking, “Should I even bother?” Sound familiar?
It doesn’t have to be that way! Sometimes there isn’t enough explanation (or space) in an individual recipe to cover the basic techniques of cookie baking. If you have ever wondered why your cookies are flat or too puffy, too tough or not sweet enough, do yourself a favor and read over these 5 tips for success.
Top Tip #1: Watch the Ingredients. It may sound simple, but make sure you are using fresh and room temperature ingredients (unless otherwise noted in recipe). Old baking soda will guarantee you a flat cookie and old butter will make your cookies dry as a bone. Also, measure EVERYTHING. Level off all powders, sugars, and flours to make sure you have the exact amount needed in the recipe.
Top Tip #2: Follow the Preheat Instructions. The typical temperature for baking cookies is 350 degrees. Make sure that you do NOT put your cookies in the oven until it is preheated. Also, bake only one pan of cookies at a time and center the cookie sheet in the oven so that the warm air can circulate evenly around the sheet.
Top Tip #3: Don’t Overbake. Who wants a tough or burnt cookie? Most cookie recipes will give you a baking time range as well as a description of what the cookie should look like when it is done. When in doubt, look at the edges of the cookie. They should be slightly golden in color with the center remaining neutral colored.
Top Tip #4: Cool Properly. When you have decided your cookies have baked to perfection, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and leave the cookies on there to firm up for at least 5 minutes. If you try and move them over to a cooling rack beforehand, they will not lift well and most likely fall to pieces.
Top Tip #5: Keep them soft. The perfectly baked cookie should have a soft center. You want to make sure that you maintain the shape and integrity of the cookie (while they last). In order to do this, you must store cookies in an airtight container. Plastic bags, containers, and even under cake domes work great.
Hope you have found these tips useful. If you have time, drop me a line with your top cookie baking tips!