There are few things as delicious and homey as warm, homemade cookies fresh out of the oven. When I was a kid, chocolate chip was the family favorite, and there were always homemade cookies in the house whenever we came in from playing outside. It’s absolutely the best smell and taste in the world!
However, baking is just as much (probably more) of an art as a science, and if you’re looking to make the best cookies ever then here are some tips and tricks to make your sweet tooth say YUM!
- Use room temperature ingredients – For cookies, you should use mostly room temperature ingredients. This will help everything mix together better and will end up with a more uniform batch. It’s also easier to work with! Milk is the exception to this, as you’ll want it to be a little cool.
- Let the butter soften naturally – If you microwave the butter to soften it, then it will change the texture of your cookies. Instead, let it soften on the counter in the wrapper until you can make an indent with your finger. It should be slightly cool to the touch, but not melted. If you’re in a hurry, place it on a plate on top of the stove, then turn the oven on to warm. Just be sure to keep an eye on it!
- Cream the butter until it’s smooth – Creaming butter is usually one of the first steps of baking cookies and is one many bakers overlook the importance of. You should cream your butter until it is no longer grainy when rubbed between your fingers. This should take 3 – 5 minutes on average if your butter is softened.
- Measure properly – Easily the most important part of baking is getting the ingredient ratio correct. When measuring dry ingredients, spoon into the measuring cup then use the back of a knife to scrape the top so it’s even. Don’t tap your flour to settle it or you’ll end up adding too much, and always pack down your brown sugar in the measuring cup to prevent air pockets.
- Add flour in batches – It’s tempting to just dump all of the flour in at once, and I admit I am guilty of doing this. However, I recommend mixing all of the dry ingredients in a separate container first then adding it in batches, mixing completely between additions.
- Refrigerate dough – Most experts recommend that once you have the dough all mixed you throw it in the fridge or freezer while the oven preheats. This will yield fluffier cookies. If possible, throw it in the fridge for an hour or give it 20 minutes in freezer.
- Split dough for rolled out cookies – If you have a recipe that requires rolling and cutting out cookies, then split the dough in half and only work with one half at a time. This will prevent the dough from getting too tough. Refrigerate the half you aren’t working with.
- Grease your pan – I recommend using spray grease or smearing solid shortening on your pan. Don’t use butter! Many sites also swear by parchment paper, but I personally never have that in the house.
- Space cookies properly – Cookies need to be spaced evenly and need to be the same size in order to cook properly. If the recipe doesn’t give guidance for how to space them, always leave at least two inches between the first batch and see how far it spreads.
- Rotate pans during baking – For the best, most evenly-baked cookies, rotate your pans halfway through baking. Spin them around so that all sides are heated evenly, and if you are doing two pans at once, swap the top and bottom to be sure everything gets the same amount of heat.
- Cool baking sheets and cookies – If you have trouble with your cookies breaking when you take them off of the pan, cool them on the baking sheet for a minute before trying to remove them. Also let your baking sheet cool a bit between batches and wipe off any grease for a better result with subsequent batches.
- Use wax paper and sugar in place of cooling racks – If you are worried about cookies not being crisp, then cool them on cooling racks to provide more air flow. If you don’t have baking racks, spread wax paper and sprinkle sugar on it as a makeshift option.
- Store in airtight container – On the off chance that any of your warm, yummy homemade cookies make it through the cooling process, store them in an airtight container for the best result. Bonus: when you open the jar, it will smell delicious!
- Be Patient – If I had to boil it down to one thing, it’s to be patient. Cookies really require a bit of love, trial and error to get just right. Don’t rush the steps and enjoy it, and you’re bound to have a great sweet snack at the end of the day!
Do you have any additional tips for baking cookies? Let me know in the comments! Happy baking, everyone!!