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Tips and Tricks

How to bake the perfect homemade cookies

By Arpita Dasgupta
how-to-bake-the-perfect-homemade-cookies

Who doesn’t love homemade cookies? But what happens when cookie baking goes wrong? Truth is, we have all been there, and we know how frustrating it can be. Cookie baking just like any kind of baking is at its very basic level, science. If you understand that, it is unlikely that you will struggle to fix the goof-ups. Some cookies are thin and crisp, while others are thick and chewy. Trouble is when you get them mixed up! This is the only guide you will need to bake homemade cookies that are just right.

Problem No. 1: Oh no! My cookies are flat!

Flat cookies usually have one of three culprits: soft butter, inadequate flour, or a baking sheet that’s too hot. Avoid using melted butter; instead use firm butter that is cool to the touch – unless your recipes says otherwise. An easy way to solve this problem is to refrigerate your cookie dough before baking.

A messed-up flour to butter ratio can also lead to a flat cookie. When there is too little flour in your cookie dough, you stand the risk of spreading it out too thin. As a beginner, the trick is to weigh flour instead of using standard cup measures. Factors like humidity can affect how much flour you pack into a measuring cup. Finally if your cookie sheet is too hot, it will melt the fat in your cookie dough, causing it to spread before it can take shape.

Problem No. 2: Oh no! My cookies have fused together!

CWhether you are baking drop style cookies like these Silk Apricot Cornflake Cookies or rolled cookies, know that it will spread a little (or lot) at the time of cooking. If you end up with one large fused cookie, you probably did not leave adequate space between the cookies.

Your cookies will probably taste just as well even if they are stuck together. If you are concerned about how ugly they look, just break them apart into chunks and serve them as crackers on top of ice cream or ‘cookie chips’ that can be dunked into a warm chocolate dip – trust us, no one will know!
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Problem No. 3: Oh No! My cookies have stuck to my baking sheet

This is a simple one to fix. Cookies tend to stick to a sheet pan if they have been left to cool on them for too long. As the fat cools, it tends to contract and the result – a cookie that refuses to let go its baking tray! To fix this, just put the tray back into the over for a minute or two. To avoid this problem, let the cookies cool down for a couple of minutes and then shift them to a wired rack to set completely.

Problem No. 4: Oh no! My cookies have baked unevenly

There are a couple of reasons why this may have happened. The first thing you might want to check out is if your oven has low or high heating at certain spots. An easy way to find out is by toasting bread slices on a cookie sheet. Lay your slices next to each other and bake for 15 minutes. If there is a problem in your oven, the bread slices will have uneven browning. To remedy this problem, just turn around your cookie sheet while baking so that all your cookies get the same amount of heat.

Another reason for unevenly baked cookies is if your cookie dough is not portioned equally. We recommend using a cookie scoop for drop cookies, and cookie cutters for the rolled out cookies. This ensures that your cookie dough is of the same size, thickness, and shape.

Problem No. 5: Oh no! My cookies are burnt

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Burnt cookies are probably the worst cookie fail of all time. If your cookies are irrevocably burnt, you probably have no choice but to tip the tray into your trash can. But if it’s only the edges that have darkened, you can use a grater or knife to scrape off the burnt bits. The cookies might not be the prettiest, but they’ll be edible nevertheless.

There are a couple of reasons why you might have ended with a batch of burnt cookies. The most obvious culprit is your over temperature or baking time. All ovens are different calibrated, so you might need a few minutes more or less depending on what oven you use. It is a good idea to carefully watch your cookies at the end of their baking time. Remember that the residual heat from the oven will keep the baking process underway even after you turn it off.

Another reason for a burnt cookie is excess sugar in the dough. Too much sugar can caramelize the base of the cookie and cause it to burn. For sugary cookies like Cadbury Silk Cookies, consider using a light-colored cookie sheet or line your tin with parchment paper. If in doubt, bake a ‘test’ cookie before you put in the entire batch.

Problem No. 6: Oh no! My cookies are too hard… too chewy… not chewy enough!

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So you got a tough cookie to fix – no pun intended! Let’s solve this puzzle.

There are two main reasons for this. One, adding too much sugar to the cookie dough can make it hard. Sugar tends to caramelize and harden with heat, resulting in a hard cookie. Another reason can be overdeveloped gluten. Gluten is a protein that is naturally present in many grains, like wheat. Gluten is developed during the process of kneading, and too much of it yields a less than perfect cookie. Our advice is to mix the cookie until the dry flour is incorporated. If in doubt, bake a test cookie before using the entire dough.

If you are baking chocolate chip cookies you should mix just until a few streaks of the flour are still visible. The final mixing with the chocolate chips will ensure that the cookie dough has been kneaded just enough!

And That’s a Wrap.

If these hacks helped you redeem those homemade cookies from ending in the trash can, then we are delighted for you. Now all you have to do is to store them properly. Cookies are best stored in airtight jars so they don’t get soggy. But we don’t expect them to last long! Because who doesn't want an extra cookie, right?

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