Follow our easy tips and tricks for baking the best batch of cookies every time.
Photo: Howard L. Puckett; Styling: Lydia Degaris-Pursell1. SPLIT THE DOUGH
Work with half of the cookie dough at a time when rolling and cutting cookies. Too much handling of the dough makes cookies tough. Keep the other half refrigerated. Chilled dough is easier to handle.
2. CHOOSE BAKING SHEETS WISELY
Bake cookies on shiny, heavy aluminum baking sheets. These sheets with no sides are designed for easily sliding cookies onto a cooling rack. Dark sheets may absorb heat, causing cookies to brown too much on the bottom; nonstick baking sheets work well if not too dark. Insulated baking sheets require a slightly longer baking time.
Quentin Bacon3. KNOW HOW TO GREASE
Grease baking sheets with cooking spray or solid shortening instead of butter or margarine. Avoid using tub butter or margarine products labeled as spread, reduced calorie, liquid, or soft-style. These contain less fat than regular butter or margarine and do not give satisfactory results.
4. PURCHASE PARCHMENT PAPER
Use parchment paper to eliminate the need for greasing baking sheets. It also promotes even browning.
5. DON'T OVERLOAD THE OVEN
Bake one sheet of cookies at a time on the middle oven rack; if you need to bake more than one at a time, rotate the sheets from the top rack to the bottom rack halfway through baking to encourage even browning.
6. MAKE A BETTER BAR
To make brownies and bar cookies, line a baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil; allow several inches to extend over the sides. Lightly grease the foil. Spread the batter evenly in the pan; bake and cool. Lift from the pan, using edges of the foil. Press down the foil sides; cut cookies into the desired size and shape with a dough scraper (available at kitchen-supply stores).
7. BE CAREFUL WITH OVERBAKING
Check cookies for doneness at the minimum baking time.
8. USE COOLED BAKING SHEETS
Cool baking sheets between batches before reusing; wipe the surface of each with a paper towel.
9. SHORT ON COOLING RACKS?
Place a sheet of wax paper on the counter and sprinkle it with sugar. Cookies will cool without getting soggy.
10. COOL BEFORE STORING
Cool cookies completely before storing them in airtight containers.