7 Cookie Baking Mistakes & How to Fix Them
The smell of freshly baked cookies makes your mouth water. It's all the more annoying when you take the baking sheet out of the oven and find that the chocolate chip cookies are as apartment as Frisbees or the oatmeal raisin cookies are burnt to a crisp. And why do your sugar cookies keep losing their shape in the oven? Never fear: we'll help you fix all your cookie baking mistakes.
Here are 7 cookie baking mistakes you might be making and how to avoid them.
1. Mistake: Using artificial vanilla.
Experts say that using artificial vanilla (or artificial almond or lemon) is one of the biggest mistakes when baking cookies at home. Regardless of the quality of the other ingredients, your cookies will end up tasting artificial.
How to fix it: Always use pure vanilla, either as an extract, paste or pod. The taste is incomparable.
2. Mistake: Don't refrigerate the dough.
The scenario: you want to bake a dozen cookies, but instead you only have one big cookie conglomerate because the dough spreads on the tray. Experts say this mistake happens when you don't refrigerate the dough. Chilled cookie dough doesn't melt as quickly, so it doesn't flatten too much on the cookie sheet or melt into the neighboring cookies.
How to fix it: If you're baking drop cookies like chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal raisin cookies, you'll want to chill the dough before putting it in the oven.
3. Mistake: Incorrect churning of butter.
When you add a stick of butter to the mixer, it's much harder to get a smooth consistency, and it can even put a strain on your machine.
Here's how to fix it: cut the butter into small cubes and add the sugar, using the mixer's whisk attachment on medium-high speed for about five minutes. The mixture will be smooth and airy, have a lighter color and a fluffier texture, similar to a cake frosting. The result is more tender cookies. This technique is great for making sugar cookies, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. Before you churn the butter, it should be between 65 and 68 degrees Celsius.
4. Mistake: Not measuring the ingredients correctly.
Did you know that some cute measuring cups and spoons are really just decorative and not very accurate? There is also a certain margin of error when measuring flour. When you spoon the flour into the cup or dip it into the flour container, the amount can be completely different. And if you push the flour into the measuring cup and pour it in, you're probably adding too much to the mix. The result? A dense, heavy cookie.
How to fix it: Carefully add flour by a spoonful to the measuring cup until it's overly full. Then tap the back of a knife lightly on the cup and drag the apartment side of the knife just over the edge of the cup to smooth out the surface. Alternatively, you can use a food scale. Use glass or clear plastic measuring cups for liquid ingredients. Make sure the measuring cup is on a partment surface and that you can read it at eye level. When measuring sticky ingredients, spray the cup lightly with cooking spray or rub some vegetable oil into it to keep it from sticking.
5. Mistake: Forgetting to scrape out the bowl.
If you've ever baked a batch of cookies where one part of the cookies baked perfectly and another part of the cookies turned into oily blobs, it's because the batter was mixed unevenly.
How to fix it: Always scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl before adding an ingredient. After adding and mixing all ingredients, remove the bowl from the stand mixer and mix by hand, making sure the dough is incorporated at the bottom of the bowl.
6. One mistake: grease the baking sheet.
If you bake your cookies on a greased baking sheet, the cookies won't only be too wide, but too thin and will likely burn.
How to fix it: Unless the recipe specifically tells you to grease the baking sheet, leave it ungreased. Even better, line the baking sheet with parchment paper. The parchment paper keeps the cookies from spreading, and cleanup is a breeze.
7. Mistake: wrong substitution of ingredients.
PSA: You can't just use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour or oil instead of butter and expect the cookies to turn out the way the recipe says. The wrong flour could make the cookies too dry, and oil makes the cookies much softer than butter.
How to solve the problem: The author of the recipe chose the type of flour, fat, sugar, and liquid to make the perfect version of the cookie. Read through the recipe and make sure you have all the right ingredients before mixing the dough.
Just wondering how the word apartment was inserted in two of the suggestions? What was the correct word supposed to be?