What do you get when you combine butter, sugar, eggs, flour and cocoa powder? If you said cookie dough then congratulations, you win! If you said perfect cookie then you are correct too! There are many things that go into the perfect cookie that even experienced bakers often take for granted. Follow these easy baking tips to bake perfect cookies every time!
Read the Cookie Recipe Before Beginning.
When you read through a recipe before beginning, it’s easier to figure out what ingredients and equipment you need, as well as any special directions for preparation. If you already know all of that, then there’s no reason not to get started! Preparation is key in baking. Make sure your oven is at an appropriate temperature before beginning; many cookie recipes will tell you how long they should bake—and if yours doesn’t, look at other recipes similar to yours or take note of an average. You might want to mark down cooking times on a whiteboard or calendar so you can remember next time. Remember that some recipes are only guidelines—don’t feel like your cookies must look exactly like theirs! Have fun with it!
Always Have the Correct Butter Consistency
Use softened butter when making cookies, cakes, brownies and quick breads. If you find that your cookie dough is too dry or not coming together, try adding a little more softened butter. If it’s too wet and messy, try chilling it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. One of the most common baking mistakes people make is using cold or melted butter instead of softened butter; it makes a big difference!
Use quality ingredients (including eggs!)
Any baking recipe is only as good as its ingredients. If you can, use organic or pasture-raised eggs in your baking recipes, instead of conventional eggs. These eggs will have a deep orange yolk, which means they will impart more flavor and color into your cookies. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that you are using top-quality vanilla extract—anything else just won’t cut it. With these two things alone, you’ll be amazed at how much better your cookies come out.
Cook at lower temperatures for longer periods of time
A popular misconception is that you need to turn up your oven’s temperature when making cookies. The exact opposite is true! You should be cooking at a lower temperature for longer periods of time. If your cookies are not baking properly or they’re cracking on top, then consider lowering your temperature and cook them for longer periods of time. Even if they’re not following a perfect circular shape, they’ll still taste delicious! To give you an idea of what I mean, try cooking your next batch at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 14 minutes instead of 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. This will give you softer, chewier cookies and less risk of burning!
Don’t open the oven door unnecessarily
Opening and closing an oven door not only lets heat escape, but it also introduces hot air. Hot air in a very hot oven is not good! Avoid opening your oven door for as long as possible. Just don’t peek! If you do need to take a peek, make sure you open it just a bit. You’ll lose less heat than if you leave it opened all the way.
Let the cookies cool in the pan
One of the biggest baking mistakes people make is letting cookies cool completely in their pans. If you do that, chances are they’ll get too dry. Take them out of their pans when they’re still slightly warm, and serve them with a nice glass of milk or a tall glass of cold milk for dunking—and you’ll see how good cookies can be. You should also try cooling your cookies on wire racks—not in their pans! It’ll keep them from getting soggy while they cool down, and they’ll taste better because of it.
Get an Oven Thermometer
Most ovens are inaccurate. If you’re not using an oven thermometer, it can be difficult to tell if your cookies are truly baked all the way through—and that could lead to a serious sugar cookie disaster. A properly-used thermometer will ensure that your treats are golden brown and delicious every time. You don’t need an elaborate cooking instrument; a basic, easy-to-use kitchen thermometer is perfect for bakers of all skill levels.
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