Cookies make everything better, especially around the holidays when their delicious scent fills your entire house, making it smell like fresh-baked magic. But not all cookie attempts yield perfectly baked cookies that everyone will enjoy. This sweet dilemma usually starts with the dough. That’s why C&H® Sugar has prepared a few tips and tricks to help make sure your cookies both look and taste like perfection.
Check Your Cookie Dough’s Consistency
The texture of your cookie dough can dramatically affect how your cookies look and taste once they come out of the oven. After mixing your ingredients (sugar, flour, water, etc.), check that the consistency of your dough isn’t:
Tough – For rolled cookies, your dough can become “tough” by adding too much flour to your pin or counter before rolling it out. To avoid this, try using as little flour as possible while preparing to roll your dough.
Dry – “Dry” or “Crumbly” dough is a product of over-mixing or using too much of any ingredient during the mixing process. This can be reversed by adding one to two tablespoons of liquid (water, milk or softened butter) to your mix.
Soft – Dough that’s “soft” or “runny” can be thickened by adding one or two tablespoons of flour to your mix. This will help keep your batch from “Spreading” and coming out of the oven looking like flat, not-so-cookie-like puddles.
Turning Your Cookie Dough Into Delicious Cookies
After mixing your dough to the correct consistency, it’s time to bake them. Some steps you can take to ensure that your cookies come out of the oven looking like fresh-baked perfection are:
Chilling your dough beforehand – Chilling cookie dough keeps it sturdy as it bakes into delicious cookies. This practice also heightens the flavor profile of your cookies and gives your ingredients time to meld.
Using a silicone cookie sheet – This silicone cookie baking tool grips the bottom of your cookie dough patties and keeps them in the perfect shape while they bake. Using one also allows your cookies to brown more evenly.
Sticking to single batches - Bake one batch at a time if possible. Cooking your batches one at a time, on the center rack, is a great way to avoid hitting hot spots in the oven that could result in uneven cooking.
Cooling cookies with a cooling rack – When your cookies are finished baking, remove your pan from the oven and let them settle for about five minutes on a cooling rack. This will keep the cookies from overcooking on your hot pan.
Knowing your oven’s true temperature – If possible, purchase a digital thermometer to get an exact reading of how hot or cold your oven is before you start to bake. A too-hot oven is another factor that will cause your cookies to overcook, while one that is too cold can leave them too raw.
Measurements – Make sure all ingredients are properly measured.
Ingredients – Use fresh ingredients.
Room temperature – Use ingredients at room temperature.
Butter and sugar – Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Scraping the sides – Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
Dry ingredients – Add dry ingredients and mix until combined, do not over mix.
Ice cream scoop – When using a cookie recipe that calls for dropping the dough, use an ice cream scoop to drop your cookie dough evenly. Utilizing this simple tool will ensure that your cookies are even portions, uniform in shape and will come out of the oven evenly baked.
Cooling – Allow cookies to rest in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooking rack.
Following these tips will ensure that your cookie dough has the best shot at turning into tasty and evenly baked cookies that your guests will love.