With the Christmas holiday season upon us, cookies are one of the treats we would be making more in the kitchen. Cookies are great for holiday gatherings, treats for kids, and gifts for friends and colleagues. So, I've thought of gathering 5 helpful cookie baking tips that, hopefully, will banish cookie disasters, help you bake a better batch, and make your baking sessions easier and faster!
Cookie Tip #1: Chill the Cookie Dough
Chilling your cookie dough prior to shaping and baking prevents cookies from spreading. The edges will stay crisp and you'll get thicker and more solid cookies.
I do try to plan ahead when making cookies so I can allot time for the cookie dough to chill overnight. But when planning does not happen (which I am guilty, for sure) chill the dough for at least four hours.
After chilling, let the cookie dough sit at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes (depending on how rock solid they are) to help it loosen slightly and make it easier to scoop or shape them. After shaping them and you see that they have become sticky, wet, or greasy due to handling with our warm hands, put the cookie dough back in the fridge for about 10 minutes or so before baking. This way, you'll get professional looking baked cookies!
Cookie Tip #2: Use parchment paper or silicone baking mat
It's a good practice to always line your baking sheets with a parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to ensure that the cookies won't stick into your pan. Do not grease your baking sheets with a non-stick spray or butter as it will cause your cookies to spread.
I personally prefer using silicone baking mats as they are reusable and promotes even browning. However, these mats can get really greasy, so it's important to make sure that they are clean and grease-free before using them. You may also need to wipe them clean with paper towels between cookie batches.
Cookie Tip #3: Roll the cookie dough between wax paper
For cut out cookies, rolling the dough between 2 pieces of wax paper is a great way of keeping them thin and being able to release them easily from the paper. Using parchment paper will make them stick, and plastic wrap is not ideal as it's difficult to get it smooth, resulting to more wrinkles on the underside of the dough.
Another great advantage of using wax paper is that you can see through it so it's easy to see if there are any problems while rolling your dough.
Cookie Tip #4: Bake them at the right temperature
Next to a food scale, an oven thermometer is the next most important tool in a baker's kitchen. Not all ovens are the same and, unless your oven is regularly calibrated, your oven's temperature is probably inaccurate. You might have set the oven to 350 F but the actual temperature inside is not.
When you bake your cookies at the wrong temperature, the effect can be overcooking, over-browning or underbaking, and excess spread. Oven thermometers are inexpensive and are easily available in most kitchen stores and online. Trust me, this small, inexpensive tool is going to save you a lot of time and money!
Cookie Tip #5: Store your cookies
To keep your cookies fresh longer, store them in airtight containers instead of plastic bags and paper boxes. Airtight cookie Christmas tins are widely available during this time of the year. I love that they look so festive and beautiful enough for gift-giving while keeping my baked treats fresher!
Ready to make a better batch of cookies? Here are some recipes to try!