10 Secrets to Baking Professional-Quality Cookies at Home

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Cookies may seem simple … but there's a big difference between good and great. Here's how to hit your next batch out of the park.

1. Chill the dough

We get it: It’s a pain to chill your dough. And when you’ve got a bad cookie craving, chilling your dough can seen like a corner worth cutting. But resist! Chilling the dough helps meld the flavors and solidify the butter, which — for those without chemistry degrees — means that it’ll help the cookie maintain its shape. Ever bake a tray of cookies that flattened into oblivion? Yeah, that’s what we’re avoiding here.

2. Trim your cookies

Cookies don’t always come out of the oven looking perfect — it’s the sad truth. So if your cookies need a super straight edge, just trim them with a sharp knife as soon as you take them out of the oven. But work fast, while they’re still warm and soft.

3. Smooth the edges

Cookie cutters can’t stay sharp after prolonged use, which can make for some weird edges. So pat your shapes down before baking or use a small handheld cheese grater after baking to sand down rough edges.

4. Cookie trays matter

If you’re getting an uneven bake on your cookies, the problem could be your baking tray. Combat this issue with an insulated cookie sheet, or by doubling your trays when baking. Another option is a perforated baking sheet, which helps circulate heat up into the cookie while baking. All bakers and ovens are different, so do some testing to find what works best for you.

5. Don't over-bake

So many bakers are guilty of the over-bake. Here’s the fail-safe way to tell if your cookies are done: Poke one with your finger while it’s in the oven. If the cookie springs back, it’s done. If the dent stays on the surface, check again in another minute.

6. Avoid parchment paper

Parchment paper can be a little unruly, resulting in an uneven bake. Swap it for a silicone baking sheet to ensure flat, even cookies.

7. Use room-temperature eggs

We know it’s hard, but wait for those eggs to hit room temperature before adding them to your dough. The whites and yolks will combine much better, so it’s worth the wait.

8. Skip the microwave

While you’re bringing your eggs to room temperature, do the same with your butter. (Melted butter totally changes the texture of your dough, so be sure to avoid that!)

9. Don't over-mix

Over-mixing activates the gluten in the flour, which can create misshapen or puffy cookies. Mix your dough on a low speed, and don’t do it longer than necessary.

10. Measure your ingredients right

Double-check all measurements before adding to your bowl, and never pack ingredients into cups. That’ll give you dense, tough cookies — two qualities nobody is after. For the most accurate results, use recipes that give weight measurements instead of volume; there’s much less room for error that way.

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