In Search of the Perfect Cookie
Tips for Homemade Goodness
Nothing tastes as good as homemade cookies fresh out of the oven. Here are some suggestions for making sure your cookies turn out perfectly every time.
* Use fresh, quality ingredients in your cookies. You don't want your cookies to turn out sub-par because your flour was old or the eggs you used are bad.
* Always use pastry flour or all-purpose flour to bake cookies. Self-rising flour contains a leavening agent that lightens and softens the finished product. Not ideal for baking cookies.
* Be sure to measure your ingredients correctly. With baking, it usually is not a good idea to "eyeball" ingredients as a way to measure before adding them to a recipe. Use measuring spoons and cups to add ingredients to your recipe. Be sure to level off the amount in your cup or spoon before adding an ingredient to the recipe.
* When your recipe calls for eggs, use large ones. Eggs keeps your baked product cohesive so that it doesn't fall apart. This is why large eggs are best to use. You don't want those cookies falling apart before they're eaten.
* If you like chewy cookies, substituting brown sugar for white sugar in a recipe can make them chewier. Brown sugar may also make the color of the cookie darker but if you like adding a chewy texture to your cookie, using brown sugar may be the way to go (that doesn't compromise the recipe).
* Put the dough in the fridge before you start baking cookies. If you bake the cookies when the dough is at room temperature, they're more likely to spread and burn around the edges before they have a chance to bake properly. The dough is also easier to handle as well if it has been in the refrigerator for a while. This is especially useful if you have to roll out the dough to cut the cookies into shapes before baking.
* Make sure to leave at least two inches of space on the baking pan before you bake the cookies. Doing so will allow the cookies to spread without touching each other.
* Don't over mix your cookie dough as that can create denser dough (resulting in cookies with a less than desirable texture). You only have to mix your dough until all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
* Bake your cookies for a few minutes less than the recipe says you should. Baking times are approximate and cannot factor in altitude or temperature differences in ovens. It is better to bake the cookies for less time and then check to see if they're done to your liking rather than over-baking them due to factors beyond your control.
* Make sure you let your cookies cool down completely before decorating them. The cookies might break or the decorations might melt into your cookies if you try to add them while they're still hot.
With the above guidelines, you can take the cookies you bake to the next level of bakery fresh perfection and your cookies will be the ones to crave!
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