Cooking Tips · Techniques

Cookie Success

Do you love to make cookies for the holidays? Many of us do and we especially delight in the satisfied look on faces as they devour those cookies. Because we are embarking upon this cookie making time, I thought I would re-run a Cooking Tip on Cookie Success that I wrote earlier. I have added a few additional tips for you. Here it is!

Do you prefer your cookies chewier or crispier? Did you know that there are modifications you can make to your cookie recipes to get the result you prefer? This tip will outline some of those changes.

For those of you (including me) who prefer chewy cookies, try the following.

  1. Keep things cold. Chilling the dough will slow down spreading of the cookies. Chilling the baking sheet helps even more.
  2. After removing one baking sheet of cookies from the oven, do not immediately put more cookies on the hot sheet. Wait for it to cool thoroughly. You may want to run cold water over the baking sheet. If the baking sheet is still warm, the butter will melt faster resulting in spreading of the cookies and a thinner, crispier result.
  3. Use solid shortening. Since butter melts faster than solid shortening, cookies made with butter will spread more. If you really want the taste of the butter, try half butter and half shortening.
  4. Adjust your sugar. Use a larger proportion of brown sugar to white. Using dark brown sugar attracts more moisture from the air, thus resulting in a chewier cookie. Also, cookies made with honey will become soft as they stand after baking.
  5. Use yolks only or add one extra yolk. Egg whites are drying. If a recipe calls for two eggs, only use one egg plus one egg yolk.
  6. Use baking powder rather than baking soda. This gives a more acidic environment, which spreads less. Use 1 teaspoon per cup of flour.
  7. Watch your baking time carefully. Don’t over-bake and consider taking them out of the oven one or two minutes before the recommended time.

For crispy cookie fanatics, here are your tips.

  1. Use butter rather than shortening.
  2. Use a bit more liquid in the batter as this helps the cookies spread more.
  3. Substitute 1 tablespoon corn syrup for 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
  4. Replace the egg in the recipe with milk.
  5. Using baking soda rather than baking powder. Use ½ teaspoon baking soda per cup of flour.

Here are some more tips for all cookies.

  1. If possible, use light-colored baking sheets. This ensures more even cooking. Dark cookies sheets can also lead to over-baked bottoms.
  2. Baking sheets should be heavy and preferably, not non-stick.
  3. If your recipe calls for room temperature ingredients, make sure your ingredients are really at room temperature. There are scientific reasons for this but let’s just say it will give you superior results.
  4. If you have the time, let your dough rest before baking. It will improve the flavor and color of the cookies. Refrigerate the dough in an airtight container at least overnight and up to 3 days.
  5. If your cookies are browning too quickly, put a second baking sheet under the first while they are cooking.
  6. Cool your cookies on a wire rack, not directly on the counter or on a plate. There needs to be room for air to circulate around the cookies to prevent condensation and soggy bottoms.

There are more tips/techniques out there but, for now, try these tips for your favorite cookie recipe. If you are making chewy ones, save one for me!