For all you cookie bakers out there, here are some great cookie tips for getting great results from all your labor of Christmas love:
1. Melt chocolate chips or chocolate squares SLOWLY. If you use the microwave, heat at least 1 cup of chips for 1 minute and then stir. If morsels are not all melted, heat for 10 second intervals, stirring each time, until morsels are melted.
2. For baking, it’s best to use butter or regular stick margarine. However, if you prefer using lower-fat margarine, choose one with no less than 60% vegetable oil. Products labeled as spread and diet container less fat and more water and tend to produce a cookie that is more cake-like and less crisp around the edges.
3. Grease baking sheets only when the recipe recommends it. Some cookies spread too much if the sheet is greased.
4. Cool pans between batches of cookies. If you put dough on warm sheets, the dough will begin to spread and cook immediately.
5. To prevent cookies from spreading too much on warm or humid days, spoon cookie dough onto baking sheets, then refrigerate sheets for a few minutes before baking.
6. Bake cookies or brownies on the middle rack of the oven, one pan at a time, to prevent over-darkened bottoms and uncooked tops.
7. Let most cookies sit on the baking sheet for 1 or 2 minutes to continue cooking and become firm enough to remove from the baking sheets. Then transfer to wire racks.
8. Here’s a way to prepare cutout cookies that makes it simple for children to help. Very lightly grease a cookie sheet and roll the dough out on it. Cut out as many cookies as possible with a bit of space between them, then peel away the scraps from around your cutouts. This method also works less flour into the dough.
9. If you only have thin, lightweight baking sheets, place one directly on top of the other to prevent cookies from over browning.
10. If your drop cookies are spreading too much, chill the dough before baking and be sure to use a cool baking sheet. The next time, replace part of the butter in the recipe with shortening. If using margarine, check the label and make sure it contains 80% vegetable oil.
We hope these help your cookie baking endeavors! Enjoy, go forth and bake!
Patty Gardner, who blogs at Homemakers Daily, is a woman of many talents — from cooking to organization. If you aren’t already a huge fan of Homemakers Daily, you will be! Be sure and stop by her place for a wealth of practical, doable home organization tips.