Knowing Your Ingredients
Different ingredients react and combine with one another differently, determining how your cookies are going to turn out.
Butter vs Margarine:
Butter liquefies readily, and as a result, it makes cookies spread out more quickly, resulting in your cookies being thinner and crispier. Margarine or shortening on the other hand, is a lot more stable and will help your cookies in retaining their shape while baking, alternatively, one can use butter but without letting it reach room temperature; cold butter is also stable like margarine.
However, this does not mean that one should not use butter at all, some recipes require butter as a compulsion, in such cases, simply remember to keep your butter cold and your cookies will look a lot more promising and will be softer as well.
Just like butter, sugar liquefies once it is heated, this makes your cookies runnier in the oven, and once it cools down it hardens up again, adding a crisp to the cookies, white sugar contains lesser moisture than brown sugar and results in much crispier cookies. A majority of cookie recipes require both kinds of sugar, but you can experiment with the ratio if you want; adding more brown sugar will result in your cookies being softer. Sugar also makes cookies denser, if you want light cookies, then you can reduce the amount of sugar you are going to add.
Flour And Baking Soda/Baking Powder:
Flour is going to be the foundation on which the rest of your cookie dough will stand. Therefore you must not make any compromises here, be sure to use the exact type of flour required by the recipe and get the measurements right as well. Even the slightest difference in measurements can have a considerable impact on your results, and substituting flour or mixing it up with another kind of flour is an absolute no.
Using measuring cups and levelling them out every time is the best way to ensure accuracy, and remember to add flour and mix in baking powder/soda in the order listed by the recipe, getting the right measurements for these three ingredients and following instructions to the letter is guaranteed to help you improve the quality of your cookies.
You should also make sure to use the freshest ingredients that you can get your hands on, freshness is a key factor in determining your hard work’s outcome.
Using Your Measuring Utensils Properly:
Even though it is common knowledge, many people tend to forget the fact that measuring cups and spoons for dry ingredients and wet ingredients are different, this seemingly harmless error is what holds back many people from producing quality cookies. Measuring cups for dry ingredients often cannot hold an accurate amount of wet ingredients and vice versa, so be sure to become well acquainted with your measuring utensils.
Now that you have gotten a feel for all the essential ingredients, it is time to move over to the dough and the proper method of preparing your cookie dough for the oven.
Cookie dough is a scrumptious thing, one can even eat it raw and feel satisfied, but cookies always taste the best when they are properly baked. Your cookie dough should not be too crumbly or too hard, it should be easily pliable, pliability is a sign of good moisture content and even mixing, and it ensures that your cookies will have an easier time retaining their shape in the oven.
You should always take your time with mixing your dough, add everything together and give each ingredient time to come together, but also remember to not over mix your dough, this can result in your dough getting flakier and harder to control. An unconventional way of helping your dough stick well can be to take a bit of vanilla jello and add it to the mix, this will also assist in making your cookies chewier and softer.
The Importance of Choosing The Right Type of Cookie Sheets
The kind of sheets that you are going to place your cookies on for baking is a very important step, the right sheet will help you evenly bake your cookies and keep them in one place, while the wrong kind of sheet can result in burnt undersides, cookies that do not spread at all or unevenly baked cookies.
Non-Stick Cookie Sheets:
Non-stick sheets do not need any greasing, which is a good thing since your cookies will be less fatty, but they also allow your cookie dough to spread really minutely, resulting in your cookies turning more into cakes than cookies. You can avoid the cakey look and texture by gently patting your cookies down mid-baking, or simply leave them like that if you want your cookies to be ultra-fluffy and light.
Insulated Cookie Sheets:
If you have trouble with your cookie being too dense or unevenly heated, then an insulated sheet can help you out, these sheets are designed to be used in slow baking, resulting in light and fluffy cookies. The downside to insulated sheets is that they do not go well with butter-based cookies since the butter melts away and your cookies go flat.
Cookie sheets that are light in colour, do not have high sides and have a bit of density to retain heat are the best for producing moist and light cookies, you can add parchment paper to your sheets to provide them with a bit of extra volume.
Invest in Quality Baking Trays
Having a baking tray that is light in colour and is non-stick are superb for cookie making, a good baking tray should be lightweight, easy to handle while in the oven and should not be uneven. Some baking trays tend to become warped over time or become discoloured, both of these things can have adverse effects on your baking so be sure to have a reliable baking tray or two at hand.
Maximize Your Cookies’ Lifespan
Once you have perfected the art of producing superbly moist and soft cookies, you would naturally want to preserve their freshness in some way so that you can continue to enjoy them for a week or two. Different types of cookies should be stored in different manners, but the one thing that is common for any kind of cookie is to let your cookies cool off before storing them. Otherwise, they will become soggy.
Soft Cookie Storage:
For soft cookies, you should have an airtight container such as a jar or a ziplock bag to store them in. When exposed to air, soft cookies start losing moisture and become hard, so your top priority in storing them is to keep them away from excessive air. For people who do not have airtight containers, you can put a slice of bread in your cookie container to keep them soft and chewy.
Another handy storage method for long-term cookie storage is to use waxing paper to form layers between your cookies, effectively preventing them from sticking to one another.
Hard Cookie Storage:
For preserving hard cookies, you need to do the opposite; hard cookies need a little bit of air exposure to stay crisp, so keep them in jars or containers with loose lids.
You can even store cookies for up to six months by putting them inside of freezers, all you need to do is put them inside sealable containers, adding a layer of freezer paper or freezer plastic can safeguard them from freezer burn and keep any bad odours from seeping into them.
Now you should be able to make some of the best cookies of all time and keep them fresh for longer periods of time, ensuring that you will have a constant supply of home-baked goodness.