5 Tips For Baking The Best Cookies

Hey Louisville! We're so excited to offer a Cookie Decorating class with Maddie Marcum of Maddie's Cookie  Co. next Thursday, August 10th (And in Lexington in September!). So, what better time than this weekend to perfect your cookie baking technique? We rounded up the Internet's five best cookie baking tips. And if you find yourself with some extra cookies on your hand, we're sure we can find some folks at Story Louisville who can help you out with those ;). 

Don't Put Your Butter In The Microwave

I'm super guilty of this one! When baking, it's best to soften your butter the old-fashioned way on the counter. According to the Spruce, softening your butter in the microwave means some of your butter will get melty and that'll affect the shape and texture of your cookie.

Pop That Dough In The Freezer

The Spruce also recommends to improve the texture of your cookies, pop that dough in the freezer. Not only does this mean you'll always have cookie dough eat the ready for when the kids have that last minute event at school that calls for your culinary expertise, but it'll also make your cookies more consistent. The one exception to this rule, are cookie doughs with a more liquidy texture like Florentines, according to The Kitchn.

Measure Liquid And Dry Ingredients Accurately

Your pal Martha Stewart says the secret to a stellar cookie is using metal measuring cups for dry ingredients like flour and liquid measuring cups for... Well, your liquids. This will make for more accurate measurements, which will produce better looking and tasting cookies.

Fresh Ingredients Only

Martha also cautions against using old ingredients. If you don't bake regularly, be sure to check how old your flour and other supplies are. If you can't remember, that's a good sign you should throw them out and start fresh (In the future, save yourself some money by buying smaller amounts or going to a grocery store like Fresh & Thyme that lets you measure out what you need).

Roll Out With Powdered Sugar

The Kitchn recommends sprinkling your counter in powdered sugar instead of flour when rolling out your cookies. This will help the cookies from picking up any additional flour.  Too much flour can make your cookies dry and crumbly – Nobody wants that!

Bonus: We asked Maddie what her all time favorite sugar cookie recipe and she gave us the recipe!!  (here is the original version of this recipe by Mel's Kitchen Cafe here)

yield: 2-3 dozen cookies (4 cups frosting)

MADDIE's SUGAR COOKIES

TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 33 MINS (INCLUDES CHILLING TIME)

PREP TIME: 25 MINS

COOK TIME: 7-8 MINS

INGREDIENTS:

SUGAR COOKIES:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks, 12 ounces) butter, softened to cool room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  • 5 cups (25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

WHIPPED FROSTING:

  • 1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, almond extract and lemon zest; mix. Add two cups flour, baking powder and salt. Mix. Add remaining flour and mix just until flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft.
  3. The dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or it can be rolled out right away (if it seems too sticky add another 1/4 cup flour or refrigerate for an hour or so). Dust a counter with powdered sugar or flour and roll the dough to desired thickness (I prefer my cookies on the thick side so I roll my dough out to about 1/4-inch, maybe even slightly thicker than that). Cut the dough into shapes. Place the cookies on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes. The cookies won’t appear browned on top (or on bottom) when they are done baking so don’t let them overbake! I find 7 1/2 minutes is about perfect but if they are even lightly browned on bottom, I decrease the time by 30 seconds. I like them super soft with not even a hint of browned edges or bottom. This way they literally melt in my mouth.
  4. Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack before frosting. The baked cookies (unfrosted) can be stored in a tupperware or ziploc bag in the freezer for up to a month. I also often freeze 1/2 of the sugar cookie dough when I don’t have time or don’t want to roll it out and cut shapes. I wrap the dough in plastic wrap and then stick it in a freezer-safe ziploc bag and freeze it for up to a month. I take it out the night before I want to roll it out and store it in the refrigerator to thaw (for about 12-15 hours). About 30 minutes before I want to use it, I let it sit on the counter to soften a bit and then I roll it out and cut out the cookies.
  5. For the frosting: In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla. Mix until very smooth and light and no lumps remain. In a separate bowl, beat the cream to stiff peaks. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture. Mix until well combined and smooth. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

NOTES:

The baking temperature for this recipe may seem high but I believe it is one of the keys to success. The cookies still remain soft and light because they bake for such a short time (and they keep their shape really well!).

Also, many of you have reported the dough is way too soft and sticky to roll out right away. So much depends on how the flour is measured – but if you don’t want to chill the dough, add an extra 1/4-1/2 cup of flour to the dough to roll out right away.

The key to frosting success is using really soft cream cheese and beating it with the powdered sugar until no lumps remain.

Don't have a taste for cookies? Check out our other upcoming Louisville and Lexington classes.