By Savini Gauri
It goes without saying that cookies rule all especially Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Ever since I started baking cookies have always been my go-to thing.
Cookies are always a hit with everyone. They’re easy and approachable when compared to most desserts – most cookies don’t require special equipment or complicated ingredients, either. They’re also super easy to eat, bake, share, store, ship, freeze, and make in advance. Not only this, cookies are convenient, perfect for gifting, look pretty in simple packaging and can be made in large batches for events, bake sales, parties, etc.
I don't think there is a single person out there who does not appreciate a fresh-baked homemade cookie (or at least I chose to believe so).
Before we get started, these are 5 essential cookie baking tools:
Flat Baking Trays: A set of quality FLAT baking trays is a MUST. Make sure the tray has no ridges or patterns (the trays that come with the oven usually have those). If you are buying new trays try to buy lighter coloured ones that are slightly thick, as dark coloured, flimsy ones usually lead to over baking and burnt cookies.
Silicone Baking Mat OR Quality Baking Paper: Baking Mats are one of the best baking tools ever. whether you are making cookies or thin cakes, it works like magic. Or if you don't want to invest in a baking mat you can always buy good quality non-stick baking paper (they're pretty inexpensive, but not sustainable).
Rubber Spatulas: I don't think one can ever have too many. And nothing beats them (given they are well-made and sturdy) These are my favourite ones. From stirring to mixing to scraping the bowl clean, they can do it all.
Cookie Scoops: Cookie Scoops are not just to ensure consistent shape, but also the SIZE. The scoop ensures even sized dough. As a result, the cookies come out even sized and consistently baked.
Wire Rack or Cooling Rack: When I take the cookies out of the oven I let them cool on the baking tray for 5-7 minutes. Then, I immediately transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Why this process? This process allows the whole cookie to cool down evenly and avoid soggy bottoms (of the cookies).
The following 8 cookie baking tips help guarantee a better batch of cookies. No more wasted time or ingredients!
1. CHILL YOUR COOKIE DOUGH
Follow the recipe says, if it says to chill the cookie dough, then do it. Don't skip the step. If the cookie dough feels sticky or wet - just put it in the fridge. Chilling cookie dough makes it firm and helps prevent excessive spreading. The colder the dough, the more even the spread. Also, chilling help the flavours develop properly. Chilled cookie dough is also easy to handle and scoop. Some recipes may ask you to chill the dough before scooping, some after and some may ask you to do it at both stages. Just follow the cooking instructions. In case the dough feels too cold and hard to use simply leave it at room temperature for 5-10 minutes and it will become easy to use.
2. TEMPERATURE IS KEY
It is the most important part of any cookie recipe. It is imperative and there is legit science to support these steps. If the recipe calls for room temperature butter and eggs make sure they are at room temperature. If the dough needs to be cold then it needs to be cooled. No shortcuts or skipping steps. Accuracy of oven temperature is also very important. Make sure your oven is calibrated correctly. In case it is not, then buy an oven thermometer (they are very inexpensive) and use it. You won't regret it.
3. IGNORE THE SPECIFIED BAKING TIME
Nobody can possibly ever tell you the exact time you should bake your cookies. All the baking times mentioned in any recipes are not accurate for every scenario. Every place, person, kitchen and oven are different. Maybe it's hotter where I am. Maybe your kitchen is colder. Just IGNORE the baking time in every recipe (it's usually just a yardstick). Simply look at the final product and decide. Decide based on what is in front of you. And then with time you will build instincts and know when your product is ready. Also, keep in mind that everyone prefers different cookies, some people like them crispy, some like them very soft. All these can be achieved by simply playing around with the baking time.
4. PREVENT EXCESSIVE SPREADING
Make sure you cool the cookie dough properly. Once the dough is chilled, work very quickly. Because the longer you take to work with the dough, the warmer it will get. And if it gets warm then the cookies will spread excessively. So the quicker you are the more even the spread of the cookies will be. Also, ensure you follow the recipe temperatures precisely (after all baking is more of a science than anything).
5. BAKE ONE BATCH AT A TIME
You get the best possible results when the oven only concentrates on just 1 batch. Try to avoid multiple batches at the same time. But if you have to bake more than one batch, rotate the trays back and front as well as between racks (up and down). This helps in even baking and browning. But if you have the time and bandwidth try to bake cookies on one rack at a time. Because even if you bake multiple batches at one, you will have to open the oven too many times to move trays and as a result, the oven will have an inconsistent temperature leading to an uneven bake.
6. MIX BUTTER AND SUGAR PROPERLY
If the recipe calls for mixing room temperature butter and sugar (also known as creaming) make sure the butter is actually at room temperature and the sugar is properly powdered. If you think there are some sugar granules left or there are any lumps then sift the sugar before using. Then mix the sugar and butter using a whisk or electric mixer. Continue to mix it until the mixture turns light in colour and the mixture becomes smooth (sugar grains can't be felt). Doing this step properly will give you a nice and voluminous cookie mix resulting in a lighter and softer cookie (rather than a stodgy and cakey cookie).
7. ADD ALL THE DRY INGREDIENTS AT ONCE
Always add the dry ingredients to the cookie dough at once. Never add the dry ingredients in instalments. If you add the dry ingredients in batches it will lead to a loss in the volume of the dough. Also adding in batches result in over-mixing causing the cookie to turn out very dense. So always add the dry ingredients in one go and mix just until everything is combined.
8. LINE YOUR BAKING TRAY
Always bake your cookies on a lined baking tray. Never bake them directly on a baking tray or even on an oiled baking tray. Line your baking tray with a silicone baking mat or baking paper. And if you have an option between a silicone baking mat and baking paper I would recommend a silicone baking mat as it helps avoid excessive spreading. It's reusable and leads to less wastage of resources. And they are very easy to maintain.
I hope these help you make the best cookies in the world.
Question: What is your absolute favourite type of cookies?