Cookie Baking Tips August 31 2012


Today I visited Morning Living on Martha Stewart Radio. So fun to see Brian Kelsey and meet Betsy Karetnick! They asked me to bring a recipe and some cookie baking tips. I went overboard and brought nearly 2 pages of my personal tips. Yup. I get excited about baking. 

Turns out I was a wee bit nervous and all I remember from the "interview" is saying that I love the way my flour looks and smells. Oh geez. In other words, I was babbling. But, it is true. And I also love the smell of butter and sugar, vanilla and spices. 

Here's to new experiences, on the radio and off,  and here's to happy baking! Love, M

Cookie Baking Tips from Sweet & Simple


Weighing ingredients improved the consistency of my baked goods. Invest in a good quality home scale and weigh all your ingredients. I cannot emphasize this enough! Be sure to use a liquid measure for liquids.

If you insist on using measuring cups for dry ingredients, or until you buy a scale, spoon flour into a measuring cup then level off with a table knife or small offset spatula. Do not pack your flour or shake to settle it.

When using measuring spoons, measure the ingredient(s) over a separate bowl or plate so any extra does not fall in your work bowl.

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Plan to take butter out 45 minutes before you begin baking. If it is a very warm day, sometimes half an hour is enough. If the butter is too soft (glossy looking) put it back in the fridge to chill.

If you use a stand mixer for cookies like I do, you can begin with a cool room temperature butter. The paddle attachment takes care of softening the butter. This goes against conventional wisdom, but works well for me. And better too cool than too soft!
This does not apply to other ingredients.

If you forget to bring your eggs to room temperature, you can bring eggs to room temperature quickly by placing them (uncracked) in a dish of hot tap water. Usually no more than 5 minutes.

Use best quality ingredients whenever possible. When my favorite brand of butter goes on sale, I buy in bulk for the freezer. Use real extracts in your baking.

Use the same ingredients, such as same brand of butter and flour, for consistent results.

Always read a recipe thoroughly before prepping ingredients.

Prep your ingredients before you begin mixing. For example, if a recipe calls for toasted nuts, do that ahead of time and make sure they are cooled to room temp before beginning.

Neatly organize and measure all your ingredients, prep your baking sheets, preheat your oven (if baking immediately) and then begin mixing.

Always follow a recipe exactly the first time you prepare it. It’s not fair to say a recipe is a dud if, for example, you only used 1 egg and the recipe called for 3. After you have made the recipe once, feel free and experiment with it!

Same size cookies bake evenly and are appealing to the eye. For uniform cookies, use ice cream dishers which are available in a variety of sizes, from teensy to whopper, at your local baking or restaurant supply store. 

I always use parchment paper, but it can be expensive. Consider going halfsies with a baking buddy and buying an entire 1,000 count box at your local restaurant supply

Use good quality, thick sheets pans. Why? Your cookies will bake evenly and the pans will hold up. Flimsy pans tend to warp. I purchase sheet pans from my local restaurant supply and they are virtually indestructible. Bonus? They are excellent for holding kids’ craft projects and Lego creations (sheet pans can be carried from room-to-room and make clean-up a snap).

For me, baking at home sometimes comes down to being organized and making time. Often I pre-measure all my dry goods the day/night before. When I’m ready to bake, I put out the butter, eggs and any liquid ingredients to bring to room temp and off I go!