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