Baking Tips for Cookies
When preparing for baking, grease cookie sheet or baking pan only if recipe directs. To grease, use a paper towel to apply a thin layer of shortening or lightly spray with no-stick cooking spray.
- For cookies with a uniform size and shape, use a measuring teaspoon to scoop the dough.
- Push dough off the spoon onto cookie sheets - evenly spaced - using a second spoon or metal spatula.
- For larger cookies, measure by rounded tablespoonfuls or use a small ice cream scoop. Scooping with larger utensils will require increased baking time.
- For easier handling, divide dough into two or three portions before chilling.
- Work with one portion of dough at a time, keeping remainder covered and chilled.
- With lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough on lightly floured surface to an even thickness; start from center and roll toward edges.
- Using cookie cutters (or a sharp knife), cut out shapes as close together as possible. Simple cutters with thin, sharp edges give the best results.
- Use pancake turner or wide spatula to transfer cookies to cookie sheets. Chill scraps before re-rolling.
- Chill dough thoroughly before slicing.
- Using a sharp knife, cut slices to thickness specified in recipe. Use a back and forth sawing motion to help cookies retain their shape.
- Every time you've cut 1-1/2 inches of the cookie dough "log," turn the log 1/4 turn to help retain its round, cylindrical shape.
- Shape dough by hand into balls or crescents.
- Or, use a cookie press or pastry bag fitted with a fluted or star tip to pipe dough onto cookie sheet.
- Note: The dough should be at room temperature unless recipe directs otherwise.
Baking and Testing for Doneness
- For more even baking, position oven rack at the center of the oven and bake one sheet of cookies at a time. If you prefer to bake two sheets, space racks so oven is divided into thirds and switch cookie sheets top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking.
- Preheat oven 10 to 15 minutes before baking the first sheet or pan of cookies. Check oven temperature with an oven thermometer.
- When testing for doneness, your best guides for cookies are time and appearance. Always use a timer. Most recipes include a range in baking time; always check after the minimum time stated in the recipe.
- Drop, rolled and refrigerator cookies can range from barely browned to medium golden brown in color, depending upon the cookie. For softer, chewier cookies, bake for the shorter amount of time indicated in the recipe.
- When placing dough on cookie sheet, allow sufficient space between cookies, usually 1-1/2 to 2 inches unless recipe directs otherwise.