It turns out, I just didn’t know good cookie baking techniques. So here are a few tips to improve your cookie baking skills.
Cookie Tip #1: Use A Scale
Cookies are a delicate balance of flour, fat, and sugar. If one ingredient gets out of whack, then you cookies may all run together, or not spread at all, or any other number of undesirable results.
This of course assumes that you can find cookie recipes that give weight measurements. I think these are worth hunting for because they allow you to get at least one variable in your cookie making exactly right.
If you don’t have a scale or can’t find good recipes with weights, at least be sure to use liquid measuring cups for the liquid ingredients and dry measuring cups for the dry ingredients. It does make a difference! Hopefully the recipe will also tell you whether the flour should be scooped or spooned into the cup – that makes a difference too.
Cookie Tip #2: Get the Right Temperature
Be sure to preheat your oven to the correct temperature. Don’t slide the cookies into a cold oven unless the recipes specifically tells you to. Oven temperature is important because it’s one factor in determining how much the cookie dough spreads before it sets.
Cookie Tip #3: Cool Your Cookie Sheets
If you’re making several batches of cookies, be sure to use several cookies sheets. You need the cookie sheets to have time to cool down before you put the next batch on them. If you don’t, the cookie dough will heat up too quickly and the cookies will spread too much.
Cookie Tip #4: Don’t Let The Cookies Stick
I hate it when cookies stick to the pan and for some reason it took me years to figure out what makes that happen. Cookies stick because the sugar in the cookies starts to cool down and harden – and it sticks to the pan. To avoid this problem, remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and put them onto a cooling rack as soon as you can move them with a spatula. We’re talking 1 – 2 minutes after they come out of the oven! If you think you’ll forget to do this then parchment papers or silicone mats are your friend.
Cookie Tip #5: Use the Right Kind of Fat
I know that it’s tempting to substitute fats when you have dairy and soy allergies, or just for health reasons. When you do this, be sure to substitute a fat that has a similar melting point. For example, if you can’t use butter, then use Earth Balance sticks that are suitable for baking.
Don’t use coconut oil which has a melting point of around 76 degrees. If you do, the fat will melt too quickly and drip out of your cookies and onto the bottom of your stove….causing lots of smoke.
I’m sure you can guess how I figured this one out =)
In the next email, I’ll tell you a little bit about the cookie ratio and share a recipe for gluten free shortbread. Yum!
– Mary Frances