Do your cookies sometimes not turn out exactly how you had hoped? Don’t worry; here are some tips and tricks to make sure all your cookie-baking-adventures are successful! The tips and tricks in this article are based on the science behind baking and a lot of personal experience in the kitchen. If you are missing some specific tips for making cookies, let us know! Truthful Food continuously adds more tips and useful information to make sure all Truthful Bakers can find the information they need to create the most spectacular and perfectly baked goods!
Before you Start:
- It is easier to work in an organised kitchen. Clean up and make sure all the dishes are done before you start. If you need something, it will be clean and where you expect it to be.
- Prepare your cookie sheets, scale, bowls, etc. so everything is ready to be used.
- Depending on the ingredient, it is worth it to buy good quality ingredients. When using chocolate, cacao powder or fruit, you can really taste the difference.
- Use your refrigerated ingredients straight out of the refrigerator unless the recipe specifically calls for them to be warmer.
- Make sure your ingredients are fresh before you start.
If you are only baking on rare occasions, there is no need to invest in expensive baking supplies. You can mix your cookie dough using a bowl and a wooden spoon, or you can use a mixer. Both will work perfectly fine. If you are a frequent baker, however, it pays off to invest in some quality supplies. Some of my essentials for baking cookies:
- A digital food scale.
- A stand mixer.
- A silicone spatula of high quality.
- A cookie sheets of high quality. What does that mean? The material is thick, and the surface is shiny. These cookie sheets are usually of a lighter colour. It is recommended to have more than one cookie sheet so you can keep baking when you are making more than a small batch of cookies.
- A cooling rack.
- A rolling pin. If you do not have one at hand, you can use a bottle or a glass.
- Cookie cutters. You could use a glass for round cookies or cut the wanted shapes by hand using a knife if you do not have any cookie cutters.
- Measuring spoons. You can use these to make sure all your cookies are the same size.
Making the Dough:
- Measure all your ingredients carefully. Ideally you weigh them using a food scale (some recipes use measuring spoons) but either way, make sure to stick to the correct units for all your ingredients.
- Do not use both imperial and metric in the same recipe. If the units are mixed, convert them before you start.
- Weigh all your ingredients before you start mixing so they can be used in a timely fashion. This ensures you are using your ingredients while they are at the right temperature and point in your recipes.
- Preheat your oven in time so that when you are done mixing your ingredients, the Oven is ready to be used. This way your dough will not get soft because it is sitting around, waiting for the oven to heat up.
- When applicable; mix the butter, sugar, and eggs first till the dough has turned lighter and is airy. Then add the dry ingredients. Only do this differently if the recipe specifically calls for it.
- Sieve your dry ingredients to prevent lumps from forming.
- Use the flat beater(s) to mix the dough.
- Use a silicone spatula to remove ingredients sticking to the insides of the bowl while you are mixing. Make sure they get properly mixed into the dough after you have loosened them.
- Mix until all your ingredients are homogeneously mixed. Stop mixing as soon as you have reached this point.
Adding Additional Ingredients:
- When adding dried fruit, chocolate, nuts, etc., make sure the pieces are not bigger than a blueberry. If they are, they will influence the structure of your cookies.
- When mixing in additional ingredients, make sure they are not just in one place in your dough before you stop mixing.
Moving the Dough:
There are many different types of cookies you can make. The most convenient way to put the cookies on your cookie sheet differs per type of cookie you are making.
- If you are making cookies, use a silicone spatula to remove all the dough from the bowl if necessary.
- Use a cooled cookie sheet to lay the cookies on. If your cookie sheet is warm, the dough will run.
- Make sure there is enough space between the cookies. Often the cookie dough will spread out once you put them into the warm oven.
- If you are making cookies by cutting slices from a large piece of cookie dough, it is important that your dough is cold before you cut it. Leave the dough in the refrigerator overnight or put it in the freezer for several hours (or till it is very solid).
- If you are making rolled cookies, cut out the cookies when the dough is cold. The cookie shapes will not deform when you scoop them up and transfer the cookies onto your cookie sheet.
- If you are making standard drop cookies, use a tablespoon to transfer the dough one portion at a time. Using a tablespoon will ensure that your cookies are all the same size.
Baking the Dough:
- Make sure there is enough space between your cookie sheets and the inside of your oven. The hot air needs to circulate, and when your cookie sheets are about the same size as the inside of your oven, circulation will be prevented, and your cookies will not bake the way you expect them to. This is also something to keep in mind when you are putting more than one cookie sheet in your oven at the same time.
- Bake the cookies in the centre of your oven.
- Put one large cookie sheet in the oven at the same time. If you want to bake more cookies at the same time, position the cookie sheets as close to the centre of the oven as possible and rotate the two cookie sheets halfway through the baking time.
- Do not open your oven for at least the first half of the indicated baking time. Ideally, you should only open it when you take out your cookies.
- Check if your cookies are ready a bit before the indicated baking time is over, at the indicated time and is necessary a little after till your cookies are done.
- Depending on the thickness of your cookies, the baking time may vary. Truthful Food carefully decides the weight or size of each cookie to optimise the baking time. If you stick to the indicated number of cookies and the indicated baking time and temperature, you should have no problems.
To consider, when Baking the Dough:
It is possible that when you are making a recipe for the first time, the indicated temperature is too high. One temperature setting is not the same for all ovens. If this is the case, your baked goods will start to brown before the inside is ready. You can still save your baked goods by covering them with aluminium foil. Don’t forget to make a note in your recipe that will remind you to lower the temperature and increase the baking time the next time you are using it. If it is the first time you are trying out the recipe, you can consider baking one cookie as a test cookie to see if the temperature settings and the baking time are correct for your oven.
Letting your Cookies cool down:
- Let your cookies cool down a little before removing them from your cookie sheet. This will keep you from getting burned.
- Transfer your cookies from the cookie sheet onto a cooling rack using a thin spatula. The best time to do this is when they have cooled down enough that they do not fall apart anymore or change shape when you scoop them up using a spatula.
Taking Care of your Cookie Sheets:
- If you cover your cookie sheets with parchment paper before you use them, it should not be necessary to wash them after. Wiping them down with a moist cloth will be enough. This will keep your cookie sheets as good as new for a very long time.
- If you want to rinse off your cookie sheet, make sure to let it cool down before you do so. The cookie sheet material will not respond well going from hot to cold that instantaneously.
- Make sure your decorations have completely hardened before you store them.
- Let your cookies cool down. Wrap them in plastic wrap individually or put them collectively in a container. This way they will not dry out.
- For crunchy cookies; a cookie tin is the best method of preserving your cookies.
- For soft cookies; store your cookies in an airtight container to keep them soft and moist.
- If possible, do not store different types of cookies in the same container. The cookies will start to taste the same after a while.
- The cookies will stay good for several weeks if stored correctly. If you like, you can store them in the refrigerator but make sure to take them out in time to let them return to room temperature before serving.
- You can store the raw cookie dough in your refrigerator wrapped in food wrap in a resealable freezer bag for several days if you do not want to bake the cookies right away.
- You can freeze the raw cookie dough in a resealable freezer bag for several months if you do not want to bake the cookies right away. Let the dough defrost before you bake your cookies.
- You can freeze your cookies for several months if wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in airtight containers while in your freezer.
- Label what you freeze so, you know where to find your cookies and dough. Add a date so you know when you froze your dough or cookies.
- You can freeze decorated cookies most of the time. Decorated cookies, however, will not stay delicious as long as non-decorated cookies.
- Let your dough thaw slowly, at room temperature, while still in the container you used to freeze it in.
- Thaw soft cookies slowly at room temperature, while still in the container you used to freeze them in.
- Thaw crunchy cookies slowly at room temperature on a cooling rack.
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