What You Should Know About Baking Cookies

If you want to bake better cookies, read this new advice!

We bake cookies in our test kitchen every week.  So, it’s natural that folks in our store ask questions.

But we’ve had to change our advice.  Things have changed. 

  1. The right pan. 

“Why don’t my cookies look like yours? Mine are too flat.”   

We’ve always told people that it’s the pan–it’s silver instead of dark. A silver pan reflects heat rather than absorbing it. The cookies take longer to bake and spread until they bake long enough to set.  Instead of the cookies having a nice profile, they look like pancakes.  

That still holds true if your pan has a slick surface.  But today, some of the lighter colored pans have a nonstick surface that is not as slick and seems to hold the heat.  They work marvelously well.

Try these new nonstick pans.  

  1. The right pan prep

It’s always been a balance of how much shortening to put on your baking sheet.  Too much shortening, and your cookies spread too much.  We’ve always told people to wipe the pan between batches.  
Now you can avoid pan prep altogether.  That means no burnt-on grease that is so hard to get off and so ugly. Parchment paper is a great answer.  But so are the new baking mats.  

If I were buying a new pan today, I would buy a baking mat to go with it–just so I can keep my pan bright and new looking.

Try parchment paper.

Get a new baking mat to protect your valuable bakeware.

  1. The right oven temperature 

Oven temperature is still an issue.  Cookies spread more at a lower temperature. They spread until the heat sets the cookies.  Use an oven thermometer to see if the oven is really 350 degrees. Likely it won’t be.  Our advice is to always keep an oven thermometer in your oven.  
Never bake without an oven thermometer.

  1. Cold dough

Cold dough acts differently than warm dough.  Don’t let your butter melt.  Refrigerate your dough between batches.

To learn more, see this “Cookie Troubleshooting Guide”