Biting right into a heat cookie is pure bliss whether or not you favor gentle, melt-in-your-mouth treats or those who crunch and crumble. And fortunately, they’re straightforward for dwelling bakers of all ranges to make. Cookies vary in taste, form and dimension, and there are lots of of recipes circulating on-line in addition to in cookbooks. Meaning you may simply discover one which aligns with what you’re craving and the way snug you might be within the kitchen.
We talked to skilled bakers concerning the steps concerned in making do-it-yourself cookies and the instruments they advocate utilizing all through the baking course of. With their steering in thoughts, we put collectively an inventory of extremely rated objects, professional picks and merchandise we’ve used ourselves. Specialists additionally shared recommendations on the right way to know when your cookies are executed baking, the right way to retailer them and why the freezer may be your greatest pal.
SKIP AHEAD Make the cookie dough | Form the cookies | Bake the cookies | Let the cookies cool | Cookie adorning | The way to retailer cookies
Our prime picks
Step 1: Resolve what sort of cookie to make
The kind of cookie you’re making impacts the components and instruments you’ll want, plus it offers you an concept of how lengthy the method will take. Among the commonest cookie sorts embrace:
- Drop cookies: Because the title implies, you make drop cookies by dropping balls of dough onto a sheet pan. The dough spreads within the oven, giving the cookies a spherical form as soon as baked. Drop cookies are the simplest cookies to make, consultants informed us, and fashionable sorts embrace chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and peanut butter cookies.
- Minimize out cookies: The star of any vacation cookie field, reduce out cookies are made by rolling out dough and utilizing cookie cutters to create shapes. They’re additionally a fantastic possibility for newbie cookie bakers. Folks historically make reduce out cookies from sugar or gingerbread cookie dough, however the taste prospects are infinite.
- Spritz cookies: Spritz cookies are made utilizing a cookie press, a software that pushes dough by way of a patterned disc. The dough may be very gentle, which makes it straightforward to pressure by way of the press. As soon as they bake, spritz cookies have a lighter texture in comparison with reduce out cookies, says Elizabeth Barbone, a recipe developer and cookbook creator who runs the websites Cook Fast, Eat Well and Gluten-Free Baking. Since utilizing a cookie press may be tough, consultants advocate mastering extra beginner-friendly bakes first, like drop, reduce out and slice-and-bake cookies.
- Slice-and-bake cookies: To make slice-and-bake cookies, you roll dough into logs and refrigerate them. As soon as the dough is chilled, you slice the logs into rounds and bake them on a cookie sheet. Slice-and-bake cookies are shortbread cookies, that means they’re buttery and have a crumbly texture. They’re fairly easy to make, particularly when you’ve baked drop and reduce out cookies, in my expertise.
After you resolve what sort of cookie you’re making, discover a recipe on-line or in a cookbook that aligns together with your taste preferences and baking expertise degree. Learn the recipe to be taught concerning the totally different steps and provides required. Additionally remember to verify what number of cookies the recipe yields so that you don’t find yourself with 36 whenever you solely wished a dozen.
Step 2: Make the cookie dough
It’d sound apparent, however whereas making cookie dough, observe a recipe precisely because it’s written, says Penny Stankiewicz, a chef-instructor of pastry and baking arts on the Institute of Culinary Education. Don’t substitute components, and know that in the event you do, your cookies received’t style or have the identical texture because the recipe supposed. There’s one exception to the rule, nonetheless: You possibly can play with a recipe’s flavors and mix-ins. “So long as you don’t mess with the structural components of the recipe, like flour, butter and sugar, you’re not going to wreck its integrity,” says Stankiewicz. “For instance, you may change how a lot vanilla extract you add, sprinkle cinnamon into your dough or use two sorts of chocolate chips as an alternative of 1.”
Beneath are instruments consultants advocate utilizing whereas making cookie dough.
Kitchen scale or measuring cups
You possibly can both measure components by quantity or by weight. Measuring by quantity entails utilizing liquid and dry measuring cups, whereas measuring by weight entails utilizing a kitchen scale. Arlyn Osborne, a recipe developer, meals author and the creator of the forthcoming cookbook “Sugarcane,” recommends measuring components by weight. She says it’s extra exact and helps make sure that cookies are constant each time you make them.
Hand mixer or stand mixer
The vast majority of cookies dwelling bakers make contain the creaming technique, which suggests step one within the recipe is to cream room temperature butter and sugar collectively, says Stankiewicz. Utilizing a stand mixer with the paddle attachment is the simplest manner to take action, consultants informed us. Additionally they advocate protecting a versatile silicone spatula readily available to periodically scrape the perimeters of the bowl. Stankiewicz prefers KitchenAid’s stand mixers, however says any model will do. And whereas you need to use a hand mixer or spoon to cream butter and sugar for cookies, it’s not as environment friendly.
Mixing bowls can be found in glass, ceramic, metallic and extra, however their materials doesn’t matter in terms of making cookies, says Barbone. What does matter, nonetheless, is the blending bowl’s dimension. Substances can spill out of bowls which are too small whilst you’re stirring, she says. And whereas there’s no such factor as a bowl that’s too massive whilst you’re hand-mixing, there may be in the event you’re utilizing a stand mixer. Mixing bowls which are too massive could forestall the paddle from reaching its sides, smearing components right into a paste alongside the underside of the bowl as an alternative of whipping it till fluffy, says Barbone.
Step 3: Form the cookies
Every sort of cookie has a signature form, which you obtain utilizing particular instruments. Beneath we listed what you’ll must type drop, cutout, spritz and slice-and-bake cookies, plus professional steering about what to search for when looking for every software.
Used for: Drop cookies
Cookie scoops assist you to create balls of dough which are the very same dimension, inflicting the batch to bake evenly, says Barbone. She prefers cookie scoops with a set off deal with since they shortly launch balls of dough, which makes shaping drop cookies quick and environment friendly.
Cookie scoops are available in quite a lot of sizes, which you’ll see listed as a quantity that corresponds to the variety of scoops per quart of dough. For instance, a #40 scoop offers you about 40 scoops per quart, whereas a #10 scoop offers you about 10 scoops per quart — this implies the #10 scoop is bigger than the #40 scoop. There’s no customary scoop dimension it is best to search for, however #40 is widespread for cookies, says Barbone. In the event you make cookies usually, take into account shopping for a big, medium and small scoop so all of your bases are coated.
Used for: Cutout cookies
You don’t technically must put money into a rolling pin since you need to use family objects as options, like wine bottles or canned meals. However a rolling pin tends to supply extra even outcomes, so in the event you plan on baking usually, it’s good to have.
Rolling pins are available in many types, all of which assist you to flatten dough. However Osborne prefers French tapered rolling pins, that are formed equally to batons and wider within the center with narrower ends. She says French rolling pins are straightforward to maneuver and provide you with a lot of floor space to position your palms whereas going over the dough.
Used for: Cutout cookies
Cookie cutters are available in lots of of shapes. You should purchase them in primary shapes like circles, hearts and squares, or vacation themed shapes like gingerbread males and menorahs. Cookie cutters additionally come formed as animals, numbers, letters, symbols and extra. Some websites even allow you to create customized cookie cutters, which is a superb possibility for themed occasions.
Whereas procuring, you’ll see plastic and metallic cookie cutters, both of which is able to do. However every materials gives its personal strengths and weaknesses.
Metallic cookie cutters give cookies clear, crisp edges they usually’re straightforward to scrub since you may put them within the dishwasher, says Barbone. However they’re sharper in comparison with plastic cutters, in order that they’re not nice for teenagers to make use of. Metallic cookie cutters are additionally fairly sturdy, says Stankiewicz. If you take care of them correctly, they’ll final for many years. In truth, Stankiewicz says her household’s copper cookie cutters have been handed down for generations and are an heirloom of kinds.
Plastic cookie cutters, however, are duller in comparison with metallic choices. This makes them appropriate for teenagers, however they may give cookies messy, smushed edges, says Barbone. And even when the plastic cookie cutters you purchase say they’re dishwasher protected, it’s greatest to hand-wash them, says Stankiewicz. Warmth from the dishwasher may cause them to soften or change into misshapen.
Used for: Spritz cookies
A cookie press is a cylindrical software with a plunger on one finish and interchangeable discs on the opposite. Every disc has cutouts on it, creating totally different shapes. You load dough into the physique of the press and use the plunger to push it by way of the disc’s holes, leading to completely formed cookies. You progress the press’ head alongside the sheet pan and push out one cookie at a time.
Barbone recommends shopping for a cookie press that comes with metallic discs, which cleanly launch dough so every cookie’s form is clearly outlined. If attainable, keep away from plastic cookie presses as they’re extra susceptible to getting clogged and breaking, she says.
Plastic cling wrap
Used for: Slice-and-bake cookies
After rolling your cookie dough into logs, you wrap every one in plastic cling wrap and put them within the fridge for a couple of hours or in a single day. The plastic wrap retains the dough contemporary whereas it’s chilling and it helps maintain out odors and moisture. In the event you’re searching for a plastic wrap various, you may go for reusable beeswax wrap. Some manufacturers additionally make silicone instruments that can assist you dimension, form and retailer slice-and-bake cookie dough.
Step 4: Bake the cookies
Placing cookies within the oven is commonly essentially the most nerve-wracking step for dwelling bakers — nobody desires to place effort into perfecting dough and find yourself with a burnt last product. To make sure cookies come out golden brown and able to sink your tooth into, think about using the under expert-recommended instruments.
Regardless of setting your oven to a selected temperature, it most likely doesn’t heat up precisely the place you need it, until it was lately calibrated, says Stankiewicz. This implies your baked items are possible cooking at a barely decrease or barely larger temperature than you’re anticipating, which impacts cooking time. To assist affirm your oven reaches the correct temperature earlier than including your cookies, Stankiewicz recommends shopping for an oven thermometer. It hooks onto the oven’s racks and reads its inner temperature, which you’ll monitor whereas your oven is preheating to regulate its settings accordingly.
Specialists advocate protecting a pair half-sheet pans in your kitchen always as a result of they’re so versatile. You should use them to bake and cook dinner candy and savory meals, plus they final for years if cared for correctly.
For cookies particularly, it’s greatest to make use of rimmed sheet pans, consultants informed us. “I by no means use a sheet pan with no rim as a result of there’s all the time an opportunity one thing may slide off the sting,” says Barbone. That is particularly the case with cookies. Recipes usually inform you to rotate the sheet pan midway by way of baking to make sure all the cookies bake evenly, and in case your sheet pan doesn’t have a rim, the cookies could slide off throughout this course of.
Moreover, remember to take note of the colour of your sheet pan. Darker sheet pans are likely to conduct extra warmth, which suggests the bottoms of your cookies will bake sooner than the tops, says Stankiewicz. That is usually why folks find yourself with cookies which are burnt on the underside however nonetheless uncooked on prime. Use a lighter coloured sheet pan to keep away from this difficulty, says Stankiewicz.
Parchment paper or silicone baking mats
Parchment paper and silicone baking mats serve the identical function and are primarily interchangeable in terms of baking cookies. They line your sheet pan, present a nonstick floor to bake on and make cleanup a breeze. You may as well line your pan with tin foil, however because the materials conducts warmth, it may well make the bottoms of your cookies darker and velocity up baking time, so it’s not most well-liked, says Sarah Home, the meals innovation chef and recipe and improvement lead at Bob’s Red Mill.
Past one being disposable and the opposite being reusable, the primary distinction between parchment paper and silicone baking mats is how a lot cookies can grip them. Silicone baking mats are so nonstick that cookies don’t have a lot to know onto, which could trigger them to unfold somewhat bit an excessive amount of whereas baking, says Barbone. Parchment paper remains to be nonstick, however cookies can grip to it extra, decreasing unfold. Thus, Barbone often opts for parchment paper as an alternative of silicone baking mats for cookies, however it’s in the end a private choice.
Silicone baking mats are available in quite a lot of sizes, so purchase one that matches your sheet pan. As for parchment paper, Stankiewicz recommends shopping for it in sheets reasonably than rolls. Rolled parchment paper may be difficult to work with because it tends to curve in on itself, making it difficult to chop to your required dimension. Parchment paper that is available in sheets is flat and received’t curl, so reducing it’s straightforward.
It’s vital to maintain monitor of how lengthy cookies have been within the oven relative to the estimated bake time detailed by your recipe. You should use a mechanical or digital timer or units like your telephone or watch.
Keep in mind that a recipe’s estimated bake time is only a guideline, says Stankiewicz. Components like the kind of oven you’re utilizing, whether or not you preheated it and what number of trays of cookies are baking without delay can impression baking time, consultants informed us. Due to this, the most effective methods to find out cookie doneness is by utilizing your nostril. “When you begin smelling the cookies, begin checking on them,” says Stankiewicz. From there, take note of the cookies’ coloration and texture. Totally baked cookies are often golden brown and have a matte reasonably than shiny look, so when you see these indicators and odor them, pull them out of the oven.
Step 5: Let the cookies cool
Upon taking your cookies out of the oven, allow them to cool on the sheet pan for 5 to 10 minutes earlier than gently transferring them to a cooling rack with a spatula, says Home. In the event you depart cookies on a scorching pan, they’ll proceed baking and may change into overdone. However putting cookies on a cooling rack permits air to flow into round them, cooling them shortly and stopping additional baking.
Step 6: Adorn the cookies
As soon as the cookies are cool, you may enhance them nonetheless you’d like, though it’s not a required step — they’re scrumptious straight out of the oven. Mud your cookies with powdered sugar, make a glaze or frosting, prime them with sprinkles and extra. Some useful adorning instruments embrace an offset spatula for spreading glaze and frosting, and if you wish to get fancy, a set of piping suggestions and piping luggage might help you create detailed designs, says Home. You may as well make a piping bag out of a plastic sandwich bag.
Step 7: Retailer the cookies
So long as you bake cookies during, most batches have a week-long shelf life, consultants informed us. Retailer them in a container with a tightly sealed lid to maintain air out, and stack them with parchment paper between every layer in order that they don’t stick collectively.
If you could retailer absolutely baked cookies past per week, Barbone recommends freezing them. The easiest way to take action is by laying the cookies out on a sheet pan or plate and placing them within the freezer. As soon as they’re frozen, switch them to an hermetic container or tightly sealed bag, like a Ziploc or reusable silicone storage bag. They maintain effectively for no less than three to 5 months, says Osborne.
Cookie baking suggestions to remember
All through their years of baking cookies, our consultants have seen and skilled their fair proportion of errors. Beneath, they’re sharing suggestions for the right way to keep away from widespread points within the kitchen.
- Whereas rolling out cookie dough for reduce out cookies, it may well keep on with your rolling pin and countertop. To forestall this, folks usually sprinkle flour on the dough and floor its resting on. However doing so provides flour to the dough and an excessive amount of can dry it out. As an alternative, Stankiewicz recommends rolling out the dough between two items of parchment paper to forestall sticking.
- In the event you’re measuring dry components by quantity, spoon them into measuring cups till they dome excessive. Then scrape a knife alongside the highest of the measuring cups to degree them off, says Osborne. This helps you keep away from including extra components to your dough.
- The bottoms of cookies can burn for a lot of causes, however in the event you discover it taking place each time you utilize a selected sheet pan, odds are the pan is just too skinny. Skinny sheet pans switch an excessive amount of warmth to cookies’ bases, inflicting them to bake sooner than the remainder of the deal with and get darker on the backside. As an alternative of shopping for a brand new set of pans, take into account stacking two on prime of one another, says Osborne. Doing so provides an additional layer of safety for the cookies’ bases because the two pans take up double the quantity of warmth.
- To maintain cookies gentle, consultants advocate including a bit of white bread to the container you’re storing them in. The bread releases its moisture contained in the container, which the cookies slowly take up in order that they don’t dry out. You possibly can exchange the bread with a brand new piece about each two days.
- In the event you’re making drop cookies they usually lose their spherical form within the oven, don’t be discouraged. Cookies are gentle and moldable once they’re scorching, so you may regulate them barely in order that they flip again into an ideal circle. To take action, take a round cookie cutter or cup that matches over your cookies and gently swirl it around every one instantly after eradicating the pan from the oven, says Stankiewicz.
Meet our consultants
At NBC Choose, we work with consultants who’ve specialised data and authority primarily based on related coaching and/or expertise. We additionally take steps to make sure that all professional recommendation and suggestions are made independently and with no undisclosed monetary conflicts of curiosity.
- Elizabeth Barbone is a recipe developer and cookbook creator who runs the websites Cook Fast, Eat Well and Gluten-Free Baking. She has over 20 years of culinary expertise and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.
- Penny Stankiewicz is a chef-instructor of pastry and baking arts on the Institute of Culinary Education.
- Sarah Home is the meals innovation chef and recipe and improvement lead at Bob’s Red Mill. She is a analysis and improvement chef with over 10 years of product improvement expertise specializing in bakery and ready-to-eat. Home educated on the Culinary Institute of America and she or he leads the check kitchen at Bob’s Pink Mill’s headquarters.
- Arlyn Osborne is a recipe developer, meals author and the creator of “Sugarcane,” her forthcoming cookbook. You could find her on Instagram @arlynosborne.
Why belief NBC Choose?
Zoe Malin is an affiliate updates editor at NBC Choose who writes about kitchen instruments, together with pie making instruments, dinnerware units, cookware units, meal prep containers, ice cream makers and extra. For this text, she interviewed 4 consultants about the right way to make cookies and the instruments they discover useful whereas doing so.