Baking good cookies is not always easy, but there is a secret that I picked up that makes a big difference with these tips I want to share. You may think that just changing a few things of how you go about creating cookies doesn’t matter, but sometimes the smallest changes are what determines the fate of what comes out of your oven.
Don’t just glance at the ingredients in the recipe and start baking. Often the technique in cookie recipes can require a change so read the entire recipe through first before beginning. Believe it or not, this can make a big difference in the outcome of your cookies.
Another secret to baking good cookies is accuracy when measuring the ingredients for your recipe. Using your measuring spoons and cups instead of your silverware and cups is important if you expect the recipe to turn out as written. Yet, you need to also remember to level them off for the closest estimate of the amounts needed.
It also helps to stick to the ingredient amounts as specified in the recipe. Adding extra or not using what amount if required in the recipe of critical ingredients like sugar, butter or shortening or flour can cause problems with your cookies.
When the recipe calls for eggs, using large eggs is a must. The reason is eggs provide structure for baking success. Otherwise, you could experience cookies that are dried out or dense cakes that lack that tender, airy quality.
Years ago, a margarine was something that you could bake with. However, now you need to be careful because stick margarine became reformulated to include water and often are labeled spread. Unfortunately, baking with a margarine that has less than 80 percent oil will have bad results. You may find it helpful to check those margarine labels before you begin or stick with real butter or shortening for cookies.
Over creaming ingredients too much can be a bad thing. Instead of producing a better cookie, you actually are working against yourself to make the dough tough.
Incorporating baking soda into a recipe does need special attention. If you ever had sour spots in what you baked with it, then the reason could be that the baking soda wasn’t evenly distributed through the dough. Always sift the baking soda with the flour or mix it with buttermilk or sour milk will prevent that from happening.
Making sure that you give your cookie tray enough room in your oven to best utilize the heat to circulate will give better results. Therefore, you want to space the cookie sheet and give it enough room to benefit from how that hot air is circulated with about two inches around all the sides.
This may sound like a minor detail, but it helps to set your timer to the minimum baking time if the cookie specifies one. The cookie could be done instead of allowing those few extra minutes to ruin your efforts.
Some cookies are too soft and intended to remain that way. However, you may feel they need more time in the oven from the softness they still have after baking. But if you tested them with a toothpick or cake tester and nothing stuck or the edges started to get slightly brown, then they are baked. Soft cookies are intended to be soft so give them a few minutes as specified in the recipe to cool on the cookie sheet before attempting to remove them. Don’t be fooled and return them to the oven or they’ll become overly brown and crispy.
Cookies that spread too much always are disappointing. You can lower the odds of this happening to you by not over greasing your cookie sheets or using a warm tray. What I suggest is taking your teflon pastry brush and brushing the cookie sheet with a little oil as evenly as you can over it or use parchment paper. In fact, never lubricate your cookie sheets with butter because it can burn bottoms of those cookies.
Another frustrating issue that you might want to never repeat is when your cookies burn on the bottom while the tops stay perfect. The reason for this can be something as simple as using too darkly coated cookie sheets or ones made of very thin metal.
The real secret to baking better cookies is perseverance instead of giving up. More often than not, all it takes for a successful outcome is tweaking a few things that you do. Hopefully, these cookie baking tips will help you put those problems behind you so you can routinely make better cookies.