All desserts vary in the way they are handled before popping in the oven. I won’t prep for baking a scone the same way I would for a pie. Most desserts require various methods and different forms of caregiving when mixing.
So here are Cookie Dough Tips to help you bake the best batch of simple cookies.
As we learned in my Baking Basics tutorial, butter and eggs are best to bake with at room temp. However, I know what it’s like to be on a time crunch to make a cozy batch of cookies. So…….
If you must: place your eggs in a bowl of warm water for about 15-20 minutes to bring them to room temperature. Also, throw your butter in the microwave at medium heat in 15-second intervals at a time. Otherwise, just patiently read a book and wait. =)
Mixing the butter and sugar is ultra important as well. You want to make sure you don’t over-whip your butter. The butter and sugar should be creamy and soft, but not too fluffy. Executing this incorrectly will cause air bubbles in the dough and your cookies will puff up while baking.
BC Tip: Remember, you want room temp butter & eggs because they won’t combine properly if they’re cold.
You’d think adding flour to a recipe isn’t a big deal. It’s not actually. Just make sure you keep your mixing to a minimum. Too much flour mixing will give you a tough, misshapen cookie. If you’re using a stand mixer, you want to use a low speed to add the flour.
The recipe I use for my basic sugar cookie requires adding the flour all at once and mixing for several seconds after. Some recipes require adding your flour cup by cup. You can do this as well, just monitor the time between flour adding. You want it to be fairly quickly, with few seconds in between each additional cup.
Overall, you want your dough to be fairly stiff. If you need to soften it, you can add a little milk to the recipe as needed. On the contrary, if it’s not stiff enough, you can add some more flour a handful at a time.
BC Tip: Monitor your flour adding, especially if you’re adding extra. You don’t want your cookies to be too dry.
Now, for a simple sugar cookie, you’re going to need to do a few extra steps then if you’re making other cookies, like Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin. With those types of homey cookies, you want to chill for up to two hours, minimum an hour, or whatever your recipe calls for.
For your average Sugar Cookie: you want to split your dough after it’s mixed, in half. Wrap each half in Saran Wrap or Wax paper. Put it in the fridge for at least one hour! (or the freezer if you plan on using it way later).
After about an hour, you want to take out your dough and roll it into 3/16″ sheets, wrap it up again, and let it sit back in the fridge for another 30 minutes. This helps the dough relax. (Like a spa day, for cookie dough), aka….this will help prevent your cookies from losing shape in the oven.
Once you cut the cookies into your desired shape with your cute little cutters, put them in the freezer while they’re on your baking sheet to chill for another 15 minutes. I do this right before I put them in the oven to bake.
If you choose, you can wrap your cut shaped cookies and freeze them for a later day. I do this all the time, so I have cookies always on hand when I want to decorate.
BC Tip: You always want the dough cold while working with it.