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Cookies are a delicious treat, but if not properly baked, they can be a disaster. We have all had that one batch of cookie that went straight to the garbage bin, right? I have had my fair share, that’s for sure! But after discovering some tips and tricks, I have gotten pretty consistent results. I have baked enough cookies to know some things that work and others that do not, so I want to share those with you today. :) Here we go!
Baking pans solely for cookies
Invest in baking pans that are ONLY for baking your cookies. They do not have to be expensive. I get mine at Home Goods for around $7 each and only use them for that. I used to use the same baking pans to bake cookies and at another time, bake chicken. I always foiled it well if I was cooking meats on it, but it still changed the pan. So go ahead and buy some new ones to keep clean and tidy only for cookies. Also, I have found that rimmed cookie sheets are the best. When I use the air bake kind (they have no rim) my cookies turn out terribly! Check out these cookie sheets. 3 of them for under $15. It’s a steal!
Silpat mat and/or parchment paper
I am obsessed with parchment paper. I use it every single time I bake cookies because not only does it keep the cookie in a nice shape, but it requires less cleaning. Win win! I also just started using silpat mats. These are the mats I have and they work wonderfully! I also use them for other baking so it was a great purchase. :)
I am not saying you need to go out and buy the best vanilla out there, or have name brand oil, but if there is an ingredient that is supposed to shine, make it a good one. I use generic ingredients, except for my chocolate chips in my cookies. My personal favorite is Ghirardelli. They are big and chunky and really creamy and warm when you bite into them.
Proper measurements of ingredients
Did you know brown sugar is supposed to be packed unless otherwise specified? Yep, if you don’t do that, your cookies won’t have enough sugar. Did you also know you are supposed to use a spoon to scoop flour into your measuring cup and then level it off? If you just scoop that measuring cup into your flour bin, you will compact the flour and end up with too much of it! There is a trick for everything, so if you are in doubt, do a quick google search (or ask me!). :)
Room temperature ingredients
Yep, I used to skip this step altogether, but it really does make a difference! When you are baking, eggs ought to always be room temperature because the cold will kill your dough. Also, butter should always be room temperature. If it is not too hard, you’ll get cookies with a weird consistency and they might stay in mounds on the sheet. If it is too melted, your cookies will go flat. Leave your butter on the counter for a couple of hours before baking, or look for other ways to hurry the process if you want your cookies now. ;)
Use a cookie scoop
There is no need to make a mess or get all complicated with plopping cookie dough on the sheet using two spoons. Buy yourself a good ol’ mini ice cream scooper at your local supermarket and you’ll be good to go. All cookies will be perfectly round, even and take the same amount of time to bake. This Wilton cookie scoop is under $4. Buy it and have perfect cookies.
Under bake your cookies
Yep, if it says 10 minutes in the oven, I usually take them out at the 8-9 minute mark and let them finish baking on the warmth of the sheet. It really works. If you leave them in the oven the whole time, and then on the sheet for a bit, they tend to get hard
Remove from pan quickly
Within 2-3 minutes, you should transfer your cookies to a wire rack or else they will keep cooking on that sheet until they turn perfectly…hard. Yep, no one wants that so transfer them quickly to avoid it!
Freeze it! Mikey and I will only eat about 4-6 cookies in a sitting if we are practicing self-control, so having 25 cookies sitting on the counter is not ideal. Instead, I bake what I want, and then freeze the rest in balls in a freezer bag. I date the bag (just to know when the dough was made) and then write the temperature and time it needs in the oven. I always have a bag in the freezer ready to go. Whenever we want a quick warm treat, we pop a couple in the oven and they are delicious!
Which brings me to my last point…Freeze that dough even if you are going to bake them today. When you freeze the dough and then pop it directly in the freezer, it makes the cookie stay thick and perfectly round. I like my cookies soft in the center so these are perfect (keep in mind you might have to leave them in the oven a couple of extra minutes!).
And now, a couple of those common mistakes:
(we talked about this one above…make sure it is room temperature!)
-Measuring ingredients incorrectly
(brush up on how they are measured to be sure!)
-Oven temperatures are off.
Yep, it happens. My oven is always a lot hotter and works faster than most. So I have to either lower the temperature, or take the cookies out sooner to ensure I do not burn them. Figure out how your oven works and work with it!
-Beating egg whites
When you beat egg whites, make sure the utensils and bowls are perfectly clean. Any residue from previous baking could affect the way the eggs are beaten and make it not function properly.
-Wrong baking pans
If you use the wrong size pan, your baking will be thrown off by A LOT! If you just use a brownie pan to bake, those high rims on the side will affect the cookie. Use the good stuff to be sure you get perfect cookies!