More Tips on How To Make Perfect Cookies

Use top-quality ingredient and assemble the ingredients before starting:

You can’t expect a first-rate product using second-rate ingredients. Be sure your ingredients are fresh and of the finest quality. If your recipe says the ingredient must be room temperature, be sure it is room temperature before proceeding.

Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Check expiration dates of Baking Powder and baking soda, replacing if necessary. For testing purposes, baking soda should bubble when added to vinegar and baking powder should bubble when added to hot water. Be sure to mix baking powder and/or baking soda into the flour before adding to the wet ingredients; this distributes everything evenly so your cookies won’t end up with large holes.

Eggs: Check your “use-by” date on your egg carton. Check out Sell Date of Eggs (Sell Date of Eggs – Date Codes on Egg Cartons).

Flour: Don’t substitute flour types. If your recipe calls for all-purpose flour, that’s what you need to use. Cake flour and bread flour will not behave the same. Learn about the different types of flour. When a recipe calls for all-purpose flour, it means the bleached variety.

Spoon the flour into your measuring cup and sweep a spatula across the top to level it off. Don’t use the measuring cup as a scoop or it’ll pack the flour and you’ll end up with more flour in the cup than intended.

Nuts: Smell and taste nuts before using. Oils in nuts can turn rancid quickly. Store any leftover nuts in the freezer for longest shelf life.

Butter: Make sure your butter is at room temperature, otherwise it won’t cream properly with the sugar. Set it out at least one hour in advance. It should be pliable enough that your finger can leave a mark in it, without being soft and greasy.

Don’t try to microwave your butter as it will just end up too soft. If you don’t have an hour’s lead time, increase the surface area by cutting the butter into small pieces or shredding it on the large holes of a grater. It will then come up to temperature in approximately 10 minutes.

Shortening: Check vegetable shortening before using. Shortening, especially new trans fat-free brands) can go bad, introducing off-flavors to your cookies that you worked hard making.

Sugar: The type of sugar your use in your cookies can promote spread in baked cookies. To understand this, you need to know that sugar is a tenderizer which interferes with the formation of structure. Sugars with a finer granulation promote more spread (probably because they dissolve sooner and only dissolved sugars tenderize). Powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar), when it contains cornstarch, prevents spread in cookies despite its finer grind.

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