Dough

Homemade cookies are a treat for the senses. Nothing beats the taste, aroma, and warmth of a gooey, chewy cookie served hot from the oven with an ice-cold glass of milk. You may notice that your cookies, made from the exact same recipe, don’t have the same texture or consistency as those your mom or best friend bakes. Your favorite recipe may list the ingredients, but leave out critical hints for cookie perfection. If so, you may appreciate these tips for making the best homemade cookies.

8. Soften the Butter

Soften The Butter

Make sure your butter is at room temperature before creaming it together with the sugar. Cold butter is difficult to combine with the other cookie ingredients, and melted butter is too wet. When combining your butter and sugar, spend a few minutes creaming them together before adding the next ingredients. Furthermore, allowing your eggs to come to room temperature before mixing them into the batter will result in a better batter. If you can, place your butter and eggs on the kitchen counter about an hour before you begin baking.

7. Add Dry Ingredients Gradually

Dry Ingredients Gradually

After combining the wet ingredients, take care to add the dry ingredients gradually. Whisk together your dry ingredients, such as flour, baking powder, and salt. Then, add them bit by bit, a cup or so at a time, to the wet ingredients. Take care to mix well between each addition. This makes it easier to mix the dough and spreads the dry ingredients evenly throughout the batter. When measuring the flour, use the proper technique. Scoop up a hefty amount of flour in your measuring cup. Then use the flat edge of a knife to scrape off the excess flour.

6. Chill the Dough

Chill The Dough

This next step is critical. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes before scooping it into balls. Placing the dough in the refrigerator prevents your cookies from spreading on the pan. It can be disappointing to pull your cookie sheet from the oven to discover your cookies have melted and spread into one another during baking. According to King Arthur Flour, chilling cookie dough also solidifies the fat and allows the sugar to absorb other liquids from the batter. Chilling improves the flavor and texture of your cookies—just don’t be tempted to sneak bites of the dough!

5. Use a Cookie Scoop

Uniform Cookies

When dropping your dough onto the cookie sheet, use a cookie scoop to create uniform cookies. This not only makes your cookies look alike, but it also ensures they will each bake to perfection in the same amount of time. A cookie sheet containing cookies of various shapes and sizes will yield treats that come out of the oven in different stages of doneness. Pampered Chef makes cookie scoops in a variety of sizes. These scoops also come in handy for filling muffin tins, forming meatballs, and making stuffed pasta shells.

4. Line Your Cookie Sheet with Parchment Paper

Parchment Paper

Always line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. These products provide an extra layer between your cookie dough and the cookie sheet. This prevents spreading and keeps the cookies from sticking to the pan. Check out this silicone baking mat from Crate and Barrel. If you prefer, you can find rolls of parchment paper at your local supermarket or big box store. Then, get to work baking up your favorite recipes for chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, or chewy oatmeal raisin cookies.

3. Space Your Cookies Evenly

Space Your Cookies

When placing your cookie dough on the baking sheet, take care to space them evenly. Typically, cookies do well when spaced about two inches apart. You don’t want to have wasted space on your baking sheet. However, you also don’t want to place cookies so closely together that they melt into each other. In addition, to ensure an even temperature, you may want to bake only one tray of cookies in the oven at a time. If you do choose to place multiple cookie sheets in the oven at the same time, rotate the pans to allow for even browning.

2. Cool Slightly Before Removing

Cool Slightly

After you pull your cookie sheet from the oven, allow the cookies to cool slightly before transferring them to a cooling rack. Scooping the cookies from the tray too soon can cause them to fall apart. Allowing them to cool slightly helps them to retain their shape. If you are looking for a new cookie recipe, check out Food and Wine’s recipe for Lemony Butter Cookies. The tartness of lemon and the sweetness of sugar combine to form this mouthwatering confection.

1. Use a Cooling Rack

Cooling Rack

To complete the cooling process, use a spatula to transfer your slightly cooled cookies from the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Then, allow your cookies to come to room temperature on the rack before placing them in a storage container. Storing your cookies too soon will create condensation that will make the cookies soggy. Of course, the best cookies are warm cookies, so feel free to serve up some of those warm cookies with glasses of cold milk for dunking. Enjoy!

Related: Healthiest Bread
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