While baking cookies isn't rocket science, a few blunders could be keeping your sweet treats from tasting the way they should. Now there are more than 5 blunders that can happen in the kitchen (trust me, I have had more than my share of those moments!), but these are my top 5 and some of them are not common knowledge.
1. Do not substituting ingredients
When you are baking, consistency is key. You can't go crazy making substitutions. For example switching out whole wheat flour for white flour or using white sugar for brown sugar. Even though it is still a type of flour or type of sugar, there are difference in the consistency, texture, and taste with each type. Changing them up can not only alter the look and feel of the cookie, but the taste as well. There are so many recipes out there so if you want to use only whole wheat flour, look for recipes with that built into it.
2. Do not use old ingredients (even dry ingredients)
Typically most people know when the eggs or milk go bad, but what about pantry items? Most baking necessities will last in your pantry for a long while, but they're not indestructible and can go bad. Spices will lose their potency after about a year, baking powder and baking soda will lose it fizz after a year or 2. If you have had ingredients in your cupboards for years, it is time to change them out. Look for an expiration date. If you can not find one, google how long a certain item is good for. If you can not remember when you bought it, it is a good chance it needs to go in the trash. You will notice a huge difference in the results!
3. Do not skip the chilling the dough step
Now, not all dough needs to be chilled, but any time you are using cookie cutters or trying to shape dough it should be done, not matter what dough you are using. Chilling a buttery cookie dough is the best defense against it becoming difficult to work with, sticky, and spreading into a blob while the cookies are baking. If your dough ever becomes too difficult to shape or roll, pop it in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes before you try again. The step most people skip is after the cookies are cut, you need to chill the dough again on the cookie sheet until they are very firm before baking. This will help the details to be more distinct and also help prevent breaking.
4. Do not Over use the rolling pin
When you are making pastries you have to be careful to not overwork the dough. This can change the texture of the cookie after baking. Every time you roll out the dough, you're working it. After you cut out your cookie, gather up the left over dough, make sure to chill it again, and re-roll scraps just once. Then it is time to ditch whatever scraps remain from that batch.
5. Not letting pans cool in between each use
Even with as much baking as I do, I still only have 2 cookie sheets that I bake with. If you are in the same boat as me or only have 1 cookie sheet, you know you will use the same cookie sheet over and over during the same baking session. Most people do not realize it is important to cool the baking sheet down before the next batch goes in. This is important otherwise you will get a burnt cookie bottom and the inside may still not be fully cooked. In between batches make sure you, not only let the cookies cool, but the sheets cool off until they are cool to the touch. After that either run them under cold water or stick them in the fridge until thoroughly cool. Make sure you wipe them dry before reusing.
I would love to hear your tips and tricks in your kitchen!
As always, Happy Baking!
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