Robin's Cookie Baking Tips - Courtesy of
(Condensed, easy print version)
Robin Olson ©1997

1. Always use the freshest ingredients possible. Buy new baking soda and baking powders at least every year. Age tends to weaken those ingredients and render them ineffective.

2. Butter is better and adds incomparable flavor and texture to baked goods. When baking use unsalted 'sweet' butter, that way you can control the salt content.

3. Be prepared before you bake and have all the ingredients out on the counter, so that you don't spend time looking and then forget which step you were on.

4. Measure ingredients accurately. A level measurement means flat at the top of measuring spoon or cup. Heaping means as much as the spoon can hold. 

5. Use a small ice cream scoop for drop cookies, as it makes the process faster. Also gives professional results, and the cookies will be the same size and proportion.

6. Over mixing the dough, once the flour has been added can create too much gluten and the result could be tough textured cookies. When it's time to add the flour, mix or stir until just combined on a low speed or do the last part by hand with a wooden paddle.

7. Use parchment paper to line cookie sheets as the parchment prevents the cookies from sticking and over browning. (No more burnt cookies at the cookie exchange!)

8. Bake cookies 2-4 days before the cookie exchange. The cookies should sit out over night to release excess moisture. Cookie, if stored properly in airtight tins, can last up to a few weeks and remain fresh. Store in a cool, dry place.

9. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for one minute before transferring to cooling racks to keep them from breaking.

10. Don't overbake the cookies. Some cookies puff up and then settled down. Set the timer one minute early and check. It's easy to bake longer, impossible to undo over baking. . The color of the underside of a cookie should be the same color as the top.

11. Stack your cookies in groups of 6-8, cool on the racks overnight. Lay a sheet of wax paper loosely over them. Don't seal the cookies for at least 8 hours to let all the moisture out. Allowing excess moisture to be released allows cookies to remain fresh for about 3 weeks. Store in cookie tins, one type of cookie to a tin, layered with wax paper. Keep tins in a cool, dry place.

12. Most cookie dough such as drop or rolled can be made ahead of time. They'll keep well in the refrigerator for up a week, if stored properly. Cookie dough absorbs others flavors, so wrap tightly. Wrap logs or disks in wax paper and then tightly in plastic wrap. Cookie dough can last in the freezer up to 3 months.

(condensed version of: /baking_tips.html)

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