Let's Fill the Cookie Jar
There is nothing better than the smell of cookies baking in the oven, and if ever there was a time of year when cookie baking takes center stage, this would be the time. Whether you add them to a holiday cookie tray or give them as a gift, cookies are a treat that we can’t get enough of. Here are a few general baking and storing tips to help you get a jump on your holiday baking and be assured that your cookies will bake perfectly and stay as fresh as the day you took them out of the oven.
- If baking one cookie sheet at a time, bake in the center of the oven. If baking two sheets, place the racks so the oven is divided into thirds.
- Try to make all cookies the same size to ensure uniform baking. For drop cookies, a cookie scoop is a handy tool.
- Bake one "test cookie" to see if the consistency of the dough is correct. If the baked cookie spreads more than desired, add one to two additional tablespoons of flour. If the dough is too dry, add one to two tablespoons of milk to the dough.
- Set the timer for the minimum baking time; you can always add additional time. Remove baked cookies from the baking sheet immediately unless otherwise stated, since cookies will continue to bake on the hot sheet.
- Allow cookie sheet to completely cool before starting another batch.
- Store baked cookies only after they've cooled completely; place a piece of parchment paper in between each layer so they don’t stick together.
- Don't combine different cookie types in the same container; soft cookies will cause crisp cookies to become limp.
- Store soft cookies with an apple wedge or soft piece of bread to help retain moisture.
- Store crisp cookies in an airtight container to maintain their crisp texture.
- If crisp cookies soften, re-crisp them by baking at 300° for five minutes; cool completely on a wire rack.
- You can refrigerate most cookie dough for up to three days for baking at a later time.
- To freeze drop cookies, freeze tablespoon-sized portions of dough in a single layer on a baking sheet. It isn't necessary to thaw the frozen balls of dough; just bake an additional minute or two.
- Most cookie dough can be frozen for up to three months.
- Store bar cookies in the pan in which they were baked; cover with foil.