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You can have a great recipe and follow the directions exactly, and still end up with a tough cookie. Do you know the art of baking cookies can be an exact science. Sometimes they turn out great, and other times they just don't. Well I am here to let you in on a few reasons that this may be happening to you.

The art of baking cookies requires using the correct ingredients. If a recipe calls for butter, then use only butter to get the best results. Some recipes will allow butter or margarine, however the margarine need to contain at least 80% vegetable oil. Anything less than 80% can make cookies tough due to their higher water content. A higher water content in the oil can also cause them not to brown as easily, and stick to the pan. Butter can create a crisper cookie. Shortening melts slower than butter making it less likely to burn the cookies, on the down side, it lacks flavor. Skilled artisans often take the measurement of the oils and use half butter half shortening. Never substitute vegetable oil for shortening.

Next, you need to measure your ingredients with the correct products. Metal and plastic measuring cups are for dry products, whereas glass and plastic cups with spouts are for liquids. Use the correct measuring cup for each particular ingredient. Measuring dry ingredients in a liquid measuring cup will add more of the dry ingredient to any recipe. When measuring the dry ingredients be sure to top off cup with a knife to remove excess ingredients peaking over top of measuring device. If you do these two things your cookies should not turn out dry.

Before you mix your ingredients let everything come to room temperature. After you have mixed your ingredients, you need to wrap the dough in saran wrap and allow it to get cold in the refrigerator. This is a necessary step in allowing the dough to rest. When it is chilled properly it becomes easier to manage and less likely to spread. This is especially true with sugar cookies. The art of baking cookies calls for doing what your recipe request, however if you are in a hurry you can place it in the freezer for about 20minutes and yield the same results.

Another thing to consider is that the type of cookie sheet you use will dictate the outcome of the cookie. Find you a good shiny heavy gauge cookie sheet with no sides. Dark cookie sheets cause over browning of the bottom of the cookie, and sheets with an edge or side don't bake evenly. Insulated cookie sheets will cause your cookie to be light in color and soft in the center. Finally, if you use an insulated cookie sheet add some non-stick spray to it anyway. This will help the cookie spread unless you want a thicker cookie.

Consider how your oven cooks. I have a gas stove and the food tends to cook faster. This is important to have a feel of how your oven cooks. Don't leave cookies in the oven until they are completely brown, If you take them out of the oven when only the sides are brown and place them on the stove top, the centers will finish cooking. I usually give them around 5 minutes and then I use a spatula and transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Now that you have completed this process and know the art of baking cookies you should feel like a pro. At this point you can begin adding more ingredients to your cookie dough and begin decorating them. There are many recipes for cookies, but even the simplest of cookies can be the greatest when cooked properly.

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