This post covers detailed Tips on Baking Cookies.
In this post, I'm sharing all my 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 of 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 least equipment.
Beginner's Tips on Baking Cookies:
1. Testing before baking whole batch in a go!
- 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 result. Bake 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 like you want.
- If your eggs are cold, immerse them in luke warm 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 to warm that it turns into 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 other case, just heat butter in microwave for 15 seconds. And rest it for few minutes before you begin.
You can replace butter for margarine. (I've tried it so I know you can make cookies with margarine but use butter for best taste and texture.)
4. Best quality Chocolate chips
Try to use best quality chocolate chips. You can also use your favourite chocolate and chop it but keep it in fridge, until you mix. So it’s hard and doesn’t melt in 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 in recipe. Always spoon the flour in the measuring cup for correct measurement. A single extra spoon can make your cookie comparatively tough.
- Another tips is always add ¼ cup less flour than called in 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 turn out. If it’s too flat than add remaining flour.
6. Avoid over beating:
If you are using a stand mixer, this tip is for you. Avoid over 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 centre 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 provide heightened subtle flavor.
- Chill dough overnight for best result. If you are in hurry, scoop cookie dough baking sheet and keep in fridge for 30 minutes. They'll chill quickly.
- Lastly, if you chilled dough overnight and it is very cold, allow it to rest on counter for about 10 minutes so it is not very cold when it reaches the oven. If you don't the bottom of will be golden and 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 nuts of your choice.
11. Adding cocoa powder
If you want to turn a plain flour cookie into cocoa cookie just reduce flour and add equal amount of cocoa.
For an instance, if you wish to change 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 adjustment 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 middle shelf of 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. Cookie burn quickly, ovens have hot spot so baking one batch at a time gives best results.
If you have to bake lots of cookies and try than 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 extra spoon or spoons of flour so it hold the structure of cookie. Lastly, baking paper helps them stay in the place and doesn't let em spread to much.
If your Cookies burns from bottom while it is still runny in the middle. Reduce oven temperature or/and bake cookies on top shelf. You need to judge here what works best for you.
If you want soft cookies, take out cookie as soon as sides turn brown and center is just set. They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet. Yes! Don't forget to chill dough for soft centres.
For chewy crispy cookie use more brown sugar and butter in a recipe. Brown sugar caramelise and make em crispy. Extra butter helps them spread more.
15. Leftover cookie dough
This is my favourite tip. Cookies are addictive. You'll eat too many without even feeling guilty. So, I alway bake ½ or ⅓ batch. And freeze the remaining. Those 10-12 cookies are for kids. And that works best and I don't gain any extra inches around waist.
Those remaining cookie 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 time, I'm too busy to plan anything ahead. These cookies save the day. It takes 30 minutes to de freeze and bake cookies, 20 minute extra for cooling.( Just keep extra cookie boxes and ribbons for gifts.)
16. How to freeze leftover dough ?
Scoop them or roll them and keep in freezer for 30 minute 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 then scoop it on 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 wire rack to cool cookies. You can't cool cookies on any flat surface. You can use oven rack if it stays above the flat surface. Or any clean, steel / iron rack that does the job.
Hope you took a tips or two. Please give me a thumbs up in comment if you like this post.
I plan to update this page again and as I learn more tips. Please share your amazing tips too.