Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cookie Making Tips

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber
The Holidays are about Cookie Making, and I've seen some wonderful new recipes and decorating on the Internet this season. Be sure and do a few searches to expand your Cookie Repertoire! You can never have too many cookie recipes!

Today, I thought I'd post a few Cookie Tips I've gleaned from Gourmet Magazine, Sunset, All Recipes and making cookies for so many years! Love to hear any tips you have.

COOKIE MAKING TIPS

1. For me the most important 'rule' (this is not a tip) is to make sure you Chill the Dough. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Put the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours or put it in the freezer for 10 minutes. While you're working, if the dough becomes soft, just pop it back in the freezer for a few minutes.

2. Use the Correct Ingredients. If you haven't made the recipe before, follow it exactly and measure the ingredients carefully.

3. Up for debate: Some say that you should always roll out your dough between sheets of Wax Paper, not Parchment because wax paper peels easily off the top of the dough. If you do this, you can then cut out the cookies and they'll peel right off the bottom sheet. And, yet, some people swear by parchment. Give them both a try and see what you think.

3. Add Salt and Leavening to Butter and Sugar Mixture. If you really want your salt and leavening well distributed throughout the dough, beat it in with the butter and sugar.

4. Fats are major to the spread of a cookie. Generally speaking, fat equals flat, crispy cookies while less fat equals higher, cake-like cookies. Speaking of fats: Whipped spreads are not suitable for baking. Use butter, margarine or shortening (Crisco).

5. Sugars: White sugar makes a crisper cookie than brown sugar or honey. Cookies made from brown sugar absorb moisture after baking, so they stay chewy. Most chocolate chip cookie recipes contain both brown and white sugars.
 How to keep brown sugar soft? Put a piece of white bread in the container. The white bread won’t get moldy (trust me), and you’ll always have soft brown sugar. I put the brown sugar in its own plastic container with the bread.

6. Mixing: Proper mixing is important. Some recipes have a creaming step in which the fat and sugars are beaten together until light-colored and fluffy. Other cookies require a sandy texture, so the fat is cut into the flour. Over-mixing can incorporate too much air into the dough, resulting in flat, overly spread-out cookies. Follow the recipe instructions.

7. Temperature: Unless specified, ingredients should be at room temperature before mixing. Yes, Virginia, take the butter out the night before. For cut cookies, chill the cookie dough before baking. The cookies will hold their shape better. For drop cookies, you can keep them at room temperature before baking; the spoonfuls of dough will spread and flatten out.

8. Equipment and Baking: Not surprising to anyone who bakes, different baking sheets and ovens produce different results. I use rimmed baking sheets (jellyroll pans) for cookies rather than thin flat sheet pans. Instead of greasing each baking sheet, I use parchment for easy cookie removal and clean-up. Some of my friends use a silipat liner, but I haven't yet. After a holiday cookie discussion on Twitter (#fnichat) this week, I'm going to get one.


Love to hear other tips! Please comment!

1 comment:

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

I roll my dough out on a Silpat set atop a cookie sheet. I cut the cookies out as close together as possible, peel away the excess and then just pop the cookie sheet into the oven. Easy, and no moving the fragile dough from one place to another.