Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cookie Baking Tips

Here are 10 important tips to making your holiday cookies the best in the PTA or your family dinner. These tips work for cookies anytime of the year. You may as well try them out during the Christmas holiday when most of your family will gather around to show off their culinary skills. Don't forget Santa. I'm sure he can appreciate a high class cookie every now and then.

Measure properly

Adding too much flour will make your cookies dry. Don't overwork the dough, mix just until the flour disappears. If you do, the cookies will be dry, hard, and will crumble.

Reduce Flour by 1/4 Cup

With most cookie recipes, like those that don't come from a franchise, will cook up softer this way. Flour dries out the dough the more you use. Cookie dough is like frybread in this respect. To much flour is a bad thing.

Refrigerate The Dough Before Baking

Refrigerating the dough helps it maintain shape and makes it easier to work with. Refrigerate it for at least 12 hours for a good basic cookie, 24 hours for a rich cookie, 36 for a rich, tender, supreme cookie.

Use a silicone rolling pin

Silicone and marble rolling pins reduce the amount of flour needed to roll out your dough. Less flour means a moist cookie. Refrigerate the marble pins to keep your dough cold. Use a combination of powdered sugar and flour to dust the work surface to keep the cookies moist.

Use an Oven Thermometer

When a recipe calls for a 350 degrees F oven, set the temperature to 345 degrees F. This prevents over baking and over browning on the top and bottom. When baking more than one batch of cookies, reduce the cooking time a little with each batch.

Soften Butter

Butter will not soften properly in a microwave. The butter melts, which will change the structure of the cookies. Butter and sugar form the basic structure of the cookies; the sugar cuts small air pockets into the butter, which are stabilized by the flour and filled with C02 from the baking powder. Soften butter by letting it stand at room temperature for a couple of hours. You can also grate the butter into a bowl, then it will soften in a few minutes.

Freeze Dough

Freezing the dough is a time saver that improves the quality of the cookies. Shape the dough into a log, wrap, and freeze until it's time to bake. Slice the dough and bake frozen a few minutes to the baking time.

Use Fresh Ingredients

If your ingredients are more than a year old it's time to replace them. Buy new baking powder and baking soda, vanilla and spices, flour and sugar. Baking is chemistry. You need everything to react properly.

Baking Times

Take the cookies out of the oven 2-3 minutes before they're done because the residual heat from the cookie sheet will continue to bake the cookies. The cookies will be more moist.

Replace Your Cookie Sheet

Worn out cookie sheets will not allow for even baking. Replace them with new ones. If you can find them in your area, buy insulated or silicone sheets.

Enjoy your cookies!

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