Cookie Baking Hints

That time of year- many of us are baking away. Here are some pointers to get the most out of the experience. Happy Baking!!!


Cookie Baking Know How

Types of Cookies

Bar- Spread or pressed into pans, baked and cut into squares

Drop– Soft dough dropped or spooned onto baking sheet, very quick and easy

Rolled- Dough is normally chilled then rolled out on wax paper or floured surface, cut into shapes

Refrigerator– Dough is rolled into logs, usually chilled and then sliced and baked

Pressed- Pressed through a machine into shapes or strips, usually very rich

Molded- Sturdy dough shaped by hand and often decorated later



Butter is usually best and never use diet margarine unless the recipe was specifically designed to use it.

Use only pure granulated sugar when recipes call for “sugar”. Some less expensive brands are a sucrose and dextrose blend and may cause crisp cookies to be soft. This type of sugar also cannot be used in jelly recipes.

All-purpose flour is best although you can use some whole wheat pastry flour. You’ll need to experiment a little, substituting about ¼ of the regular flour for the whole wheat pastry flour. Some recipes may react better than others to the higher fiber flour. Avoid regular whole wheat flour and don’t use flour labeled as bread flour.

Eggs means large eggs unless otherwise stated and should be used at room temperature if possible.


Check cookies at minimum time listed in recipe. If cookies are browning on the bottom too quickly but not fully baked try doubling the cookie sheets. It will give you a little more insulation on the bottom and costs far less than buying air-bake cookies sheets.

Don’t open the oven any more than needed and close promptly. Every peek causes the temperature to drop 25 degrees and will add to the bottom heat the cookies endure as the oven re-heats itself.

Don’t place cookies too close to the edge of pans with sides. They radiate heat and can burn cookie edges. Leave about 1 ½ -2 inches or turn the pan over and bake on the bottom. There will be no sides and you can bake closer to the edge of the pan.

Shiny pans are better for cookies and dark pans are better for breads.

Grease pans with solid shortening or butter (when baking temperatures are less than 375-degrees) or use non-stick spray. Unless called for don’t use oil it will sometime stick.

Note: Don’t grease pans unless the recipe calls for you to do so. Cookies baked on greased sheets will spread out more so allow more space between dough.



Storing and Freezing


To store crisp cookies place in a container with a loose-fitting lid or cover lightly with foil. Sealing crisp cookies up can sometimes make them get soggy. In humid weather, however you might want to keep them in sealed containers in the freezer and just remove a few to defrost as needed.

Soft cookies should always be stored in containers with tight fitting lids to prevent hardening. In humid weather place them between layers of wax paper to prevent sticking.

If you want to mail cookies avoid crisp and frosted types. Soft cookies travel best.

Both raw cookie dough and baked cookies can be frozen. If you have the freezer space it can be a great help to get some of your holiday baking out of the way ahead of time.

Dough can be frozen 6-9 months.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer bags. Always label and date the package. Defrost in refrigerator and bake as directed.

Cookies can be frozen up to a year, but will begin to lose some of their flavor after 6 months. Use sturdy container and place layers of plastic wrap between cookies to prevent drying out. You should defrost cookies in their container, with the lid on to keep the cookies from getting soggy. When thawing there will be condensation on the package. If you take the cookies out of their container while frozen condensation will form on the cookies. Not so much of a problem with crisp cookies, but soft cookies are very moist and tend to get wet if defrosted unwrapped. If you only want to remove some of the cookies you can just place them in a bag and leave seal it up. Leave them to thaw on the counter and any condensation will form on the bag.


Remember: Your cookies are only as good as the ingredients you use. Dried fruits should be moist and fresh. Nuts should be stored in a freezer or refrigerator until ready to use. Make sure they have not gotten stale or rancid. Taste one to be sure. If nuts don’t taste fresh, pitch them and buy fresh. Nuts should stay fresh in the fridge for 3-6 months and frozen for up to a year (some will stay fresh a bit longer, so taste to be safe).

Before starting always make sure you have all the ingredients out and ready to use.


To save time around the holidays I like to do all my mixing in one evening (or afternoon) and then refrigerate or freeze the dough for baking on another day. I can make a dozen batches or dough at one time then put away all the mixing bowls and ingredients. If I am doing cookies that require decorating after baking I will often do that on yet another day to keep any one job as simple as possible. Remember, with the exception of bar cookies, most cookies bake for very short times and over bake before you know it. When baking them I like to have as few distractions as possible and always use a timer.

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