Cookie Baking Tips
These cookie baking tips will make your everyday baking easier and even better. Find tips from selecting cookie sheets to how to bake cookies.
Buying cookie sheets:
If you are new to baking, deciding what kind of cookie sheets to buy can be confusing. If you plan to bake a lot of cookies, having at least two cookie sheets will speed up the process. Select cookie sheets that are at least two inches narrower and shorter than your oven to allow heat to circulate evenly around them. Pans with high sides deflect the oven heat causing cookies to bake unevenly. Dark surfaced pans, such as nonstick, tend to make cookies brown quicker. Flat shiny metal cookie sheets bake cookies more evenly. Whatever type you select, make sure they are sturdy.
Cookie baking tips for getting started:
Before beginning to bake cookies, read the recipe all the way through. This will save you time and frustration. If a recipe calls for an ingredient that you don’t have on hand, you may be able to use a substitution. Ingredients that are vital to the recipe, such as flour, will require a trip to the grocery store.
Have all the utensils you will be using out and ready. The type of cookie you are making will determine if you need a rolling pin or cookie cutters, but all recipes require some basic kitchen equipment. You will need measuring spoons and cups, mixing bowls, a large spoon for stirring, a teaspoon if you are making drop cookies, a spatula, cookie sheet(s), wire cooling racks and a timer. An electric mixer, either a hand held or a stand mixer, will also make your cookie mixing easier.
Have all the ingredients out. This will also save you time. If a recipe calls for butter softened or at room temperature, it will take several minutes before you can get started.
Parchment paper baking:
With parchment paper baking cookies is especially easy. No need to grease or butter pans and clean up is a breeze. To use parchment paper, cut the paper to fit the baking pan. Do not let the parchment paper hang over edges or touch the oven rack or wall.
If you have a lot of cookies to bake, using parchment paper can help speed up the process, especially if you have only one cookie sheet. Cut several sheets of parchment to fit the cookie pan. Put the cookie dough on the sheets of parchment paper. When the first batch is done, slide the parchment paper with the baked cookies off the cookie sheet onto a wire rack to cool. Slide the second sheet of parchment with the unbaked cookies onto cookie sheet and bake. Repeat the process until all the cookies are baked. When the cookies have cooled, remove them from the parchment paper with a spatula.
Cookie baking tips for mixing cookies:
When using an electric mixer, use medium speed for creaming butter, shortening, sugar and eggs. Use low speed for working in dry ingredients unless recipe specifies otherwise. Always mix in dry ingredients only enough to blend. Over beating tends to make the cookies tough.
Cookie baking tips for placing cookies on pans:
Always put cookies on cool baking sheets. If cookie sheets are warm, the cookies will spread too much. Allow plenty of room for the cookies to spread when spacing cookies on sheets. Recipes usually specify how much room to leave. As a rule of thumb, thin dough and dough with a high content of butter or shortening will spread the most. Avoid placing cookies too near the edge of the cookie sheet as they will brown much quicker than those in the center. If you have less than a full sheet of cookies to bake, place a small baking pan, turned upside down, on the empty space of the cookie sheet. This will prevent the cookies from baking unevenly.
How to bake cookies:
Let the oven preheat a full fifteen minutes before baking cookies. Unless recipe specifies otherwise, bake cookies as near to the center of the oven as possible. Cookies placed too low tend to burn on the bottom while those placed too high will be brown on top but raw in the middle. Since heat builds up in the oven, you can expect second, third and fourth sheets of cookies to bake slightly faster than the first. Always use a timer when baking cookies. Check cookies after the minimum baking time specified in the recipe. If cookies are not done, bake for the maximum time. If, despite all precautions, some cookies are done ahead of others, simply remove them from the cookie sheet and continue to bake the others.
Cookie baking tips for cooling cookies:
When placing cookies on wire racks to cool, arrange them in a single layer and don’t let them overlap to avoid cookies sticking to one another. Cool cookies completely before storing.
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