Utilizing the Right Baking Equipment
Correctly measuring your ingredients can make all the difference. Use the liquid and dry measuring cups for their intended purpose or you could end up with disproportionate ingredients. Using a scale will give you the most accurate measurements.
Some tools less associated with baking can prove very useful- For precision in presentation, a measuring ruler makes sure your cookies fit together properly, especially if you are baking more elaborate cookies with specific shapes. It’s also helpful in keeping uniform distance between the dough pieces on a baking sheet (typically two inches); using an ice cream scoop is often recommended for this part of the process as well, for symmetrical and evenly placed pieces of dough. Off-set spatulas are also a great tool for moving and shaping cookies.
The kind of baking sheet you use will influence the cooking process. A thicker pan makes sure the bottom doesn’t brown too quickly before the rest of the cookie, and a pan with shorter edges allows for easier transfer of cookies onto plates or cooling racks. A cooling rack makes sure the cookie evenly cools so they don’t retain too much moisture and become soggy.
Using parchment paper is always recommended as a superior alternative to butter or other cooking greases since it not only helps in the heating process of the cookie, but makes clean up afterwards a fair bit less arduous.
If you plan to store the cookies, make sure to use air-tight containers.
Choosing the Right Ingredients
Ingredients give you flexible control over the cookies taste, texture, and shape.
Flours – All-Purpose unbleached flour gives you a flatter cookie that keeps its shape when heated compared to cake flour which will be softer and puff out more. Always sift in a bit of flour at a time as you stir the dough mix, and avoid over-stirring so the cookie doesn’t become too dense.
Eggs – Eggs tend to make cookies softer and puffier. Adding egg yolks by themselves makes for a chewier and crispier cookie, while egg whites go for a dryer and softer texture overall. Always stir in one egg at a time so they mix in thoroughly.
Baking Soda & Baking Powder – The choice will mainly effect the coloring and texture of the cookie, with baking powder giving you a lighter and softer/puffier cookie, while baking soda augments the browning process.
Sugar – A cookie tends to keep its shape if more sugar is used. White sugar benefits a crunchier/crispier texture where as brown sugar makes a chewier cookie. Honey is a suitable replacement if your looking for a similar texture to brown sugar. Make sure you mix the sugar well into the mix.
Butter – More butter or fat substitute is another option for allowing a cookie to keep its shape. Less fat leads to more expansion in the final cookie.
Your cookies will get better with experience. Time to get started!