Cookies are one of the most widely searched recipes on my blog. Unfortunately, cookie-disasters are one of the most messaged questions in my inbox too. I’m going to shed light on a few cookie baking tips and give you my favorite cookie recipe of all time.
(Photo by: Katie Smith)
My kids are running around like crazy people today, and they need to get that out of their system before we head off to the JS Midwest Made cattle sale this afternoon at 5 p.m. at the Jeff and Deb Hansen Ag Learning Center on the Iowa State University Campus. I don’t want them running around throwing their arms up and having the auctioneer think that we want to buy a Simmental heifer for $15,000.
On to the cookie baking tips. Here are 7 tips for better cookies!
7 Tips for Better Cookies
1. Make sure your recipe is solid and that you follow directions closely.
*This sounds like a no-brainer, but if you miss an ingredient or measurement, it can ruin the whole batch. Also, don’t skip a step (like chilling the dough if the recipe requires), because you could end up with a mess on your hands.
2. Check your cookie baking gear.
*The baking sheets you use will directly affect the outcome of your cookie. I recommend traditional aluminum half sheet, baking sheets. They are easy to come by and last forever. I don’t recommend ‘nonstick’ or glass, as they conduct heat at a higher level and leave you with a darker underside of your cookie.
*SILPAT. Get used to this word, when I purchased these silicone baking sheet liners, my cookie game changed significantly. I have one liner (as seen above) on every half sheet pan I own.
3. Check your OVEN. Nearly every oven I’ve ever tested is not at the preheat temperature when the “Preheat Beeper” goes off. Wait, 10 or maybe 20 minutes. Trust me on this.
*The number one component of any baked good: a trustworthy oven. If you bake often, you can tell by the heat radiating out of the cracked oven door whether or not the oven is to temperature or not. For around $5-$6 you can purchase an oven thermometer to leave in your oven, so you know when it is at the correct temperature.
4. Size matters, and consistency is key. Purchase ice cream scoops to help get perfect portions of dough.
*I recommend a 1/4 cup or 4 oz. cookie. This is the perfect size. One tip: gently flatten the tops slightly for the perfect bake on this size of cookie. (Refer to photo above.)
5. Roll dough balls in sugar prior to baking.
This ends up being my little secret, but I have found that cookies store better when they have been rolled in and baked in a bit of extra sugar. I mix up the types I use: superfine baker’s sugar, granulated sugar or ultra coarse sparkling sugar and each gives a different, interesting result.
6. Ingredients, Ingredients!
Chances are, if you bake frequently, this doesn’t apply. But if you are an infrequent baker and haven’t made cookies in a year… don’t leave your once-a-year batch up to some ingredients that have been hanging out in your pantry for 18 months. Flours can take on flavors from those spoiling bananas you meant to use for banana bread, and so on. Keep those baking ingredients up to date, especially leavening ingredients like soda. Fresher ingredients, (butter that hasn’t been frozen), nuts that haven’t been frozen, etc. will always make a better cookie!
7. Never eat just one.
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” -Julia Child
If you want to eat two cookies in one sitting. Goodness gracious, go for it.
There, I said it.
And don’t forget a giant glass of milk.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
By: Cristen www.foodandswine.com
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups oats (regular rolled oats or instant are just fine)
1 cup miniature chocolate chips (I prefer mini to the big chips, I’m the weirdo that searches high and low for the cookie with the least chocolate chips in it.)
PREHEAT: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
MIX: In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine salt, soda, flour and oats. Whisk well. Add to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add chocolate chips and mix only until chips are spread throughout dough.
BAKE: Scoop 1/4 cup (I use an ice cream scoop) of batter, shape into a ball. Roll in sugar and pat gently into a thick disk on a greased/parchment lined/silicone lined cookie sheet. Repeat. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes depending on desired doneness. (12 minutes gives a slightly underbaked cookie, 14 minutes is nearly perfect, 15 is slightly more brown.)
FREEZE? You can certainly freeze dough disks after assembly. Simply wrap them tightly and keep up to 2 months in freezer. When ready to bake, unwrap, sprinkle with additional sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 16-19 minutes. Check cookies at 15 minute mark, every freezer freezes differently!