Common Cookie Mistakes: Kitchen Wisdoms to Help You Bake with Confidence
There’s no denying the solid appeal of a cookie. Whether you’re into the trendy and colorful macaron or the tried and true chocolate chip, there’s a cookie out there for every palate. Yet, while certain cookie recipes are most definitely more user-friendly than others, there are some pitfalls best avoided in the realm of baking. Here’s a few nuggets of wisdom you can bake confidently into your next batch:
Creaming Too Much, or Too Little
In just about every cookie recipe, including this delightful recipe for Italian peach cookies, creaming wet ingredients is a key element in the process. But, baking novices and seasoned cookie makers alike may find that cookies are emerging from the oven in a different form than anticipated.
Additionally, under mixing leads to pockets of flour or a certain area that has completed been left out of getting any baking powder.
Too Many Cookies on the Sheet
Overcrowded cookie sheets are a real problem, and can dramatically affect the way your batch turns out. First of all, not giving your cookies ample room is not good for their ability to spread out as the recipe intended. Cookies may run into each other and appear to be more cake than cookie.
Failing to Mix Chocolate Chips Enough
Add-ins like chocolate chips, and yes, even raisins are left to the end, and often don’t get blended as thoroughly as they should. Take a little extra care, so the last batch of cookies to head in the oven doesn’t emerge from the oven sans-chips.
Not Forming Uniform Cookie Size
Okay, this step seems nitpicky, but you do need to follow the part of the baking instruction that gives you a measurement for how large each cookie needs to be. Why? Well, different sized cookies bake at different speeds, meaning some will be more done than others, creating an issue if they’re all on the same sheet.
Using Old Ingredients
Things like yeast, baking powder, and baking soda come with an expiration date, as they won’t do their job as effectively after a certain point. Old ingredients may prevent cookies from rising or in the case of baking powder, create an unpleasant bitter taste.
Forgetting to Chill the Dough
Many cookie recipes call for chilling the dough for a period of time. The reason for this is, the cool temperature both makes the dough easier to handle, as well as prevents the butter from melting too quickly while in the oven. If the butter melts too fast, the cookies will spread too much.
Skipping the Salt
While a novice baker might think salt doesn’t belong anywhere near sugar, butter and vanilla extract, salt is actually a key component in making sure your cookies turn out just right. Salt works to absorbs water and slows down the myriad chemical reactions happening as your cookies bake inside the oven. Additionally, it makes the other flavors stand out more. Just use it.