This post covers detailed Tips on Baking Cookies.
In this post, I'm sharing all the tips that I learned from research and testing. My friends and family don't bake cookies so, this time, they didn't share any tips. ?
I believe in techniques and science so I'm sharing the facts about single ingredients in cookie making. Then the method and finally how to fix any recipe that doesn't work for you.
Even, how you can make your same old oven work for you with the least equipment.
- 1. Testing before baking the whole batch in a go!
- 2. Eggs at Room Temperature :
- 3. Butter at Room Temperature
- 4. Best-quality Chocolate chips
- 5. Flour tips on baking cookies:
- 6. Avoid over-beating:
- 7. Chilling tips on baking cookies:
- 8. Cooking time:
- 9. Baking paper or baking mat:
- 10. Adding nuts
- 11. Adding cocoa powder
- 12. Oven Temperature:
- 13. Bake one batch at a time.
- 14. Quick fixes for cookies
- 15. Leftover cookie dough
- 16. How to freeze the leftover dough?
- 17. Quick equipment fixes
1. Testing before baking the whole batch in a go!
The first and foremost secret to best Cookie baking is testing. If you try any new cookie recipe, alway bake a single cookie first. Note the baking time required. All ovens behave differently. Adjust the temperature if needed.
This tip is applicable to any new cookie recipe that you bake. That is bake 1 cookie first adjust and then go ahead with baking another single cookie to see the result. Bake the whole batch only when satisfied with results. This will save you from wasting your ingredients and help you learn quickly.
2. Eggs at Room Temperature :
Your eggs need to be at room temperature or they will not rise as you want. If your eggs are cold, immerse them in lukewarm water for 2-3 minutes to bring them to room temperature.
3. Butter at Room Temperature
This is another important ingredient, if your butter is warm or too cold, it will not be creamy when you mix it with sugars. So your butter needs to be at room temperature so it can be whisked easily.
But not too warm that it turns into a greasy mixture when mixed with sugar. It should be creamy. The butter at cold room temperature will also rise well. So, If you keep butter on the counter around 30-45 minutes in advance. It works best.
In another case, just heat butter in the microwave for 15 seconds. And rest it for a few minutes before you begin.
You can replace butter with margarine. (I've tried it so I know you can make cookies with margarine but use butter for the best taste and texture.)
4. Best-quality Chocolate chips
Try to use the best quality chocolate chips. You can also use your favorite chocolate and chop it but keep it in the fridge until you mix. So it’s hard and doesn’t melt in the batter.
5. Flour tips on baking cookies:
DO NOT dig your cup in flour and fill it! You'll pack your flour tightly and add extra flour to the recipe. Always spoon the flour into the measuring cup for correct measurement. A single extra spoon can make your cookie comparatively tough.
Another tip is always to add ¼ cup less flour than called in the recipe. Feel the dough and see if more flour is needed. If you are still not sure bake one cookie with less flour and see how it turns out. If it’s too flat then add the remaining flour.
6. Avoid over-beating:
If you are using a stand mixer, this tip is for you. Avoid the beating of eggs in cookie dough. You will fill too much air in cookies and when they will cool after baking, they'll go flat. So annoying!
7. Chilling tips on baking cookies:
All cookie doughs do not require chilling so you can skip it sometimes. But when your recipe calls for it or your cookie dough is soft and greasy, chilling is a must. Or you will end in flat crispy cookies. They won’t be as soft as you would want.
Another reason to suggest chilling is the cold center of chilled cookies cooks slowly compared to outside. Giving you chewy outside and super soft inside.
This step is also important because it gives flour and other ingredients time to merge together, and hence provides heightened subtle flavor.
Chill dough overnight for the best result. If you are in hurry, scoop the cookie dough baking sheet and keep it in the fridge for 30 minutes. They'll chill quickly.
Lastly, if you chilled the dough overnight and it is very cold, allow it to rest on the counter for about 10 minutes so it is not very cold when it reaches the oven. If you don't the bottom will be golden and the center will be still undercooked.
8. Cooking time:
8-10 minutes works best most of the time for me. But ovens behave differently. So, set your timer to 6 minutes and then look for a visual sign of completion of baking.
Visual signs win always. I keep staring at my cookies when they bake and it's so satisfying. You need light brown edges and the center will be undercooked for soft cookies. When you lift the cookies from the baking sheet and transfer them to the wire rack, they’ll be very soft but they’ll firm up as they cool.
For chewy cookies, your edges will be brown and the center will be set.
9. Baking paper or baking mat:
You can bake without baking paper but it really helps and doesn't allow cookies to spread too much. The flat cookie is crispy and chewy instead of being soft and gooey.
Another reason is the extra layer between the metal tray and cookie allows them to get golden instead of getting too dark brown or burning.
10. Adding nuts
You can add your favorite nuts to cookies without altering anything in the recipe. For around a 3-cup flour batch of cookies, you may add up to ¾ cup of nuts of your choice.
11. Adding cocoa powder
If you want to turn a plain flour cookie into a cocoa cookie just reduce the flour and add an equal amount of cocoa.
For an instance, if you wish to change the 3 cup flour cookies recipe to chocolate cookies. So will add ¾ cup cocoa powder and use 2 ¼ cup flour. You might need to make more adjustments but this is a good place to start and develop a new recipe.
12. Oven Temperature:
Always follow the recipe temperature and timing precisely and bake on the middle shelf of the oven. Usually, 325-400 F is recommended. I prefer 355 F.
Now, you can't trust oven temperatures. It's always less or more than what you set. So, for best results use a thermometer.
If you really care about cookies and baking invest in an oven thermometer. It's worth every penny and very cheap for the job it does.
13. Bake one batch at a time.
Concentrate on one batch at one time. Cookies burn quickly, and ovens have a hot spot so baking one batch at a time gives the best results.
If you have to bake lots of cookies and try then rotating trays can help you achieve even browning of all cookies.
14. Quick fixes for cookies
If your cookies go flat, first try chilling them. You can also add an extra spoon or spoons of flour so it holds the structure of the cookie. Lastly, the baking paper helps them stay in place and doesn't let em spread too much.
If your Cookies burn from the bottom while it is still runny in the middle. Reduce oven temperature or/and bake cookies on the top shelf. You need to judge here what works best for you.
If you want soft cookies, take out the cookie as soon as the sides turn brown and the center is just set. They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet. Yes! Don't forget to chill the dough for soft centers.
For chewy crispy cookies use more brown sugar and butter in a recipe. Brown sugar caramelize and make them crispy. Extra butter helps them spread more.
15. Leftover cookie dough
This is my favorite tip. Cookies are addictive. You'll eat too many without even feeling guilty. So, I alway bake ½ or ⅓ batches. And freeze the remaining. Those 10-12 cookies are for kids. And that works best and I don't gain any extra inches around the waist.
Those remaining cookies are amazing to greet my nephew and nieces when they visit. They make a quick lunchbox fix in school for my boys.
Freshly baked cookies make the best gift when you visit friends or family. And at those times, I'm too busy to plan anything ahead. These cookies save the day. It takes 30 minutes to de-freeze and bakes cookies and 20 minutes extra for cooling. ( Just keep extra cookie boxes and ribbons for gifts.)
16. How to freeze the leftover dough?
Scoop them or roll them and keep in the freezer for 30 minutes or until they firm up. Then put them in a large box. You may separate layers of cookie scoop with plastic sheets.
You can also freeze the dough directly but then you need to thaw it and then scoop it on a baking tray. I used both methods.
17. Quick equipment fixes
These tips are crazy but I know many people who never bake cookies at home. And they would not invest a dime until they know they can do it easily.
So for those beginners, you need a baking sheet or cookie tray for baking cookies. If you don't have one you can use your pizza pan, Swiss Roll tin, or something similar. Just line it with baking paper.
Obviously, you never grease or dust the baking sheet with flour for cookies.
If don't have a wire rack to cool cookies. You can't cool cookies on any flat surface. You can use an oven rack if it stays above the flat surface. Or any clean, steel/iron rack that does the job.
Hope you took a tip or two. Please give me a thumbs up in the comment if you like this post.
I plan to update this page again as I learn more tips. Please share your amazing tips too.