It's not hard to make a decent chocolate chip cookie, but we’ve all had a our fair share of kitchen disasters.
Wouldn’t it be better to make an amazing cookie every time?
In honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on May 15, Kathleen King, owner of legendary bakery Tate’s Bake Shop in tony Southampton, N.Y., has a few tips for cookie-loving bakers who want to their classic treat to the next level.
From baking temperatures to unsticking a sticky treat, these tips and recipes will have you baking cookies like a pro.
1. Always let baking sheets cool between batches.
If the dough is placed on warm sheets, it could start to melt before it goes into the oven, resulting in flat cookies. Especially during holiday baking season, have extra baking sheets so you can bake batch after batch without waiting. Don’t rinse hot baking sheets under cold water to cool them, or they may warp.
2. Line baking sheets with no-hassle parchment paper.
To get rolled paper to lay flat in the sheet, put a dab of butter in the corners of the baking sheet to hold the paper in place. I also love silicone baking mats (often sold under the brand name Silpat), which are reusable and sturdy. But you can always grease baking sheets the old-fashioned way, with butter, vegetable shortening, or nonstick vegetable oil spray.
3. Portion cookie dough for even cooking.
For even baking, drop cookies should be made with equal amounts of dough. A 1-ounce (2-tablespoon) food portion scoop does a wonderful job.
4. Avoid burned bottoms.
If your cookies brown too quickly on the bottom, stack the sheet of cookies on a second baking sheet. This insulates the top sheet so the cookies bake at a slower rate.
5. Use vegetable shortening.
Cookies made with vegetable shortening will spread less than those made with butter. Shortening melts at a higher temperature than butter, so the cookies hold their shape longer.
6. Don’t be afraid of salt.
You want to use enough to make the flavors come through.
7. Do not over mix your ingredients.
Many cookie recipes start by the creaming butter and sugar together. Most cookies aren’t meant to be light and fluffy, so mix the butter and sugar only until combined and beginning to turn pale, about 1 minute.
Recipe: Chocolate Chip Blueberry Peanut Butter Cookies
8. Unstick the stuck
Bar cookies or brownies can be difficult to remove from the pan without breaking the first one. If you line the pan with aluminum foil before baking, the entire baked bar can be lifted out in one piece for easy cutting. Line the bottom and two opposite sides of the baking pan with a long piece of aluminum foil, allowing 2 inches of excess foil at both ends. Pleat the foil down the center to fit as needed.