Tis the season for baking cookies!
In fact, just this past Saturday my Mom, sister-in-law, and I baked bunches of Christmas cookies. The day after that we had a baked goods auction at our church to benefit the youth group. In addition to that there are other various cookie exchanges, parties, and school events that lots of people need to bake cookies for in the next couple of weeks. With this in mind, I rounded up a bunch of cookie-baking tips that I had in mind and that I have found out through different venues.
*Read your recipe carefully beforehand. Yes, I know this is a no-brainer, but I have started in on recipes with gusto before realizing that I had to chill the dough for an hour or do something else that I hadn’t originally planned on. If you’ve had any baking experience, I’m sure you’ve also had those “whoops” moments.
*Make sure you have ALL the ingredients before starting. This is like the above tip. Be prepared ahead of time. This way you don’t have to make trips to the store at the 11th hour buying random ingredients.
*Preheat your oven adequately before baking.
*Don’t add too much flour. Your cookies won’t come out with as nice of a texture, so go easy with the flour. When scooping it out, make sure not to pack it in the measuring cup!
*Add eggs one at a time. I used to think that it didn’t really matter, but apparently it helps with the emulsification process if you really do follow this step.
*Allow butter to soften. In other words, don’t try to speed up the process and microwave it. If you use completely melted butter, your cookies may pool out when they bake. (I am speaking from experience on this one for sure!)
*Salted vs. Unsalted Butter?? Has this ever confused anyone else besides me? From my research, you can use either for baking. However, if you use salted, don’t skimp on still adding salt to the recipe. Aim for half of what it calls for.
*Mix dough a day ahead of time. In fact, most cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to a week before baking off. It may even taste better! So, if you’re pressed for time or are planning to do up a bunch in one day, feel free to mix some up the day before. (We just did this for our annual cookie-baking day and it worked well.)
*Use parchment paper. It works wonders–you don’t have to grease anything and it really helps with clean up.
*Don’t overbake!! This is probably one of my favorite tips. We like our cookies to be chewy, not crunchy, so I pull mine out of the oven before they are really browned at all. Works like a charm!
*Let cookies rest on baking sheet 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. They are less likely to break apart that way.
*Allow baking sheets to cool before placing more dough on to bake. If they are still hot and you add dough, they spread out too much.
*Let cookies cool before decorating.
*To help keep cookies soft, add a 1/2 slice of bread to your storage container. This tip comes from my better half and it works great!