8 Steps for Better Cookie Baking

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Bake someone happy today. Include cookies. And make it easy on yourself with these eight simple steps to better cookie baking.

8 Steps for Better Cookie Baking | Life as Mom

C is for cookie. It’s good enough for me.

Truer words were never spoken. Who doesn’t have fond memories of the Cookie Monster gobbling down cookies in a flurry of crumbs? And who doesn’t melt when the baker chick hands Harold Crick a warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies?

Cookies are where it’s at, people.

And accordingly, it’s in your best interests to perfect your cookie baking game.

8 Steps for Better Cookie Baking

Keep these tips in mind for better cookie baking.

8 Steps to Better Cookie Baking: Bake someone happy this month. Include cookies. And make it easy on yourself with these eight simple steps.

1. Soften the butter.

Oh, it’s such a pain to make cookies with hard butter. And, yes, butter is in order. It makes everything better. For best pricing, buy it in bulk for about $2.50/pound at Costco or on sale at the grocery store.

You can freeze butter, so don’t hesitate to stock up when you see a great sale. (And yes, west of the Rockies, butter comes in short, stumpy sticks like those pictured.)

Leave a package on the counter the night before you want to bake. If it’s salted, it will stay good at room temperature. Lots of baking recipes call for unsalted butter, but you can fudge on this point. Just adjust the salt in your recipe if need be.

If your butter is not soft enough to “cream” easily, nuke it in the microwave for 10 to 30 seconds at 10% power.

8 Steps to Better Cookie Baking: Bake someone happy this month. Include cookies. And make it easy on yourself with these eight simple steps.

2. Preheat the oven.

You don’t really need to preheat for casseroles and savory dishes, but for baked goods, yes, preheat. It matters when you’ve got chemical reactions going on between leavenings and liquids, so don’t cheat on this one.

Get an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is calibrated properly. Some ovens run too hot or too cold, so you’ll need to adjust for this.

8 Steps to Better Cookie Baking: Bake someone happy this month. Include cookies. And make it easy on yourself with these eight simple steps.

3. Buy ingredients in bulk.

If you know you’re going to do a lot of baking, particularly at the holidays, build a stockpile from the baking aisle, making sure you have enough flour, sugar, and leavenings to make many batches.

These items are typically on sale this time of year, so feel free to buy a lot if you’ve got the room and know you’ll use it. Check “best-by dates” to ensure best texture and flavor.

8 Steps to Better Cookie Baking: Bake someone happy this month. Include cookies. And make it easy on yourself with these eight simple steps.

4. Line your baking sheets.

For easy clean up, line your baking sheets with silpat mats or parchment paper. You can reuse a sheet of parchment 2-3 times and then chuck it. The silpat mats can be washed and reused indefinitely. Both serve as an excellent measure to combat burnt and stuck-on-the-cookie sheet cookies.

They also make it easy for you to quickly transfer each batch to the baking sheet and to the cooling rack. Just lift the paper or mat and transfer the whole unit. While one batch is baking, you can get the next batch ready on a mat or piece of parchment.

You won’t have to wash baking sheets when you line them!

8 Steps to Better Cookie Baking: Bake someone happy this month. Include cookies. And make it easy on yourself with these eight simple steps.

5. Make sure the goodie shows.

Sometimes, the chocolate, M&Ms, or nuts hide under a layer of dough. That’s not a bad thing, but the finished product is much more appealing with a hunk of chocolate showing in all its melting goodness. Add one or two bits to the cookie balls prior to baking.

(If you don’t already have a quick-release cookie scoop, get some. They make cookie baking so easy for both adults and kids!)

8 Steps to Better Cookie Baking: Bake someone happy this month. Include cookies. And make it easy on yourself with these eight simple steps.

6. Use parchment paper and binder clips for bar cookies.

Even if you’re making bar cookies, be sure to line the 9×13 baking dish with parchment. Cookie removal and clean up will be a breeze!

Binder clips will hold the paper in place until you get your dough or batter in the pan. Then remove them prior to baking.

8 Steps to Better Cookie Baking: Bake someone happy this month. Include cookies. And make it easy on yourself with these eight simple steps.

7. Trim the ugly edges.

It doesn’t matter if you’re making brownies, magic bars, or these yummy Caramel Pepita Bars. The edges sometimes get ugly. Trim those off so you can cut prettier, sharp-edged bars.

You get to eat the edges. Ahem.

cookies stacked on a white tray with a glass of milk

8. Serve on a tray with milk.

Cookies on a tray with a glass of milk, mug of cocoa, or cup of hot tea are so inviting and comforting. And that’s what cookies should be. They should welcome you home and bring you comfort on a hard day.

So bake a lot of cookies and enjoy them with your peeps!

Ease your holiday stress!

Speaking of cookies…. want to make the holiday season a little brighter? Ease your seasonal stress by planning in advance how you will handle your holiday kitchen. Take the Celebrate Simply workshop and get ready to jingle all the way.

Learn more here.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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Comments

  1. Kimberly says:

    You can safely leave unsalted butter out at room temperature too. (In European countries it is also not uncommon to leave eggs and butter out of the fridge entirely). As a former pastry chef, I would suggest that unless a recipe indicates otherwise, it is best to have all ingredients room temperature (if you are not comfortable leaving eggs out until they are room temperature, you can always put the uncracked eggs into a bowl of hot tap water for a few minutes).

    • Thanks for the tip. Somewhere I read that unsalted butter had to be refrigerated. The restaurant I worked at in college was fastidious about that. Good to know. And thanks for the tip on the eggs!

  2. I just made a super sized batch of monster cookies with red & green M&M’s for Christmas – so good! I have yet to use parchment paper. I’ve never thought about how one could lift them all up and slide them off at once. And sometimes finding that metal spatula I only use for removing cookies off of a cookie sheet is like a “Where’s Waldo” in my house. I also only use a cookie scoop (unless for shaped cookies that have to be rolled in sugar or something crazy like that). Also I found a perfect size scoop for my muffins as well – and only use that. We have five children and people think I’m nuts for making 100 or more muffins/cookies at a time – but hey, they fly off the shelf!! Thanks for the tips Jessica & all you do!

    • LOVE parchment paper. Wish it were a little cheaper, though.

      • Karen J says:

        I get my parchment paper at the dollar store-where it only costs a dollar 🙂
        If I’m really feeling wealthy and need to add something to an Amazon order, I’ll buy the Reynolds pre-cut and folded parchment paper. It’s around four dollars a box, but very, very convenient.

  3. Michele says:

    I tried a different way to be more organized with my Christmas baking. I designated one day for making the dough and the next day for baking. Much more effective use of time.

  4. My cookie baking tip: freeze or chill the dough before baking. When I do this my cookie are so much better. If the butter is too warm, the cookie will spread out and be really thin. Also, Aldi has parchment paper this Christmas. I believe it was less than $3/roll.

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