10 Chocolate Chip Cookie Baking Tips that Work Every Time
10 Chocolate Chip Cookie Tips That Work Every Time
The Quest For The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
Let’s play a game.
Picture the perfect chocolate chip cookie in your mind. Take a deep breath and lean in close. What does it smell like?
Now go ahead and take a bite. I’ll give you a second to compose yourself and let you savor the freshly baked cookie in your mouth. Was it crunchy and perfectly crisped? Or was it warm and gooey inside? How did it taste?
Naturally, people have different preferences and the picture in their mind for “the perfect chocolate chip cookie” varies considerably from person to person. Some like chewy centers. Some like crunchy exteriors. Some like adding nuts and a pinch of salt at the end for good measure.
The truth is, there may not be a universally perfect cookie, but the bigger problem I’ve experienced in my life is finding a recipe and method of cooking I liked and could replicate time after time. If you were anything like me, you could make the best cookie you’ve ever had one day and then be capable of a flat, misshapen disaster the next.
Luckily, your friends at USA Pan have been at this baking thing for a long time and what we care about is high quality and reliable results.
So rather than trying to plug a round cookie into a square mouth let’s just agree that we can all benefit from some good old-fashioned tips that will help give us delicious chocolate chip cookies every time. Here are 10 chocolate chip baking tips and a Family Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe that has stood the test of time.
Tip 1: Butter Is Your Best Friend
There are usually 3 main fat sources that are involved with baking cookies: oil, shortening, and butter. In terms of flavor, butter is the unquestioned champion. In terms of texture, butter will help keep cookies softer as it helps inhibit the formation of gluten, which can end up toughening the texture of a cookie. It is inadvisable to use margarine or other high-water containing fats as it will have a detrimental effect on the spread of your cookie.
Tip 2: Use Room Temperature Butter
For even consistency cookie batter, room temperature butter is preferable. A cold stick of butter will give you the cold shoulder and won’t bond together with the other ingredients the way a room temperature stick of butter will. Melted butter will lead to cookies that spread too flat and won’t result in a nice puffy baked cookie.
Tip 3: Sugar Can Be The Real Hero
When it comes to cookies, flour and water are like a couple that in excess are bad together, but they can’t seem to quit each other. Some gluten formation is necessary for helping to form structure in a cookie, but too much gluten can lead to tough cookies. Dissolved sugar in water, however, helps in limiting the formation of gluten. Therefore, limiting the amount of sugar you put into a cookie as a health provision may lead to tougher cookies.
Sugar also plays an important role in highlighting the flavor profile of your cookies. As sugar heats, it becomes caramelized, adding to the flavor profile of the baked cookie.
Sugar also plays a role in texture, as evaporated water after baking leaves behind sugar on the cookie surface, leading to a crispy finish.
Adding salt to a finished cookie adds a little balance to the intense flavors from the butter and sugar.
Tip 4: Choosing White Sugar Vs. Brown Sugar
In equal volumes, brown sugar has the tendency to absorb more water than white sugar. Because of their different properties for absorbing water, white sugar typically leads to crispy cookies that spread wider, whereas brown sugar leads to cookies that rise more, spreads less, and ends up with a moist, cakier consistency. Really, you just have to decide which type of consistency of cookie you prefer when choosing your type of sugar. There is also an argument to be made for mixing sugars together to try to find a balance you prefer.
Tip 5: Pick Your Flour Wisely
The amount and type of flour you choose influences the main structural component of your cookie:
- Cake Flour: Low protein. Results in less gluten formation and softer cookies.
- Bread Flour: High in protein. Results in more gluten formation and chewier cookies.
- All-Purpose Flour: Medium in protein. Results in medium gluten formation. Most recipes commonly call for all-purpose flour, and all-purpose flour is a good balance of protein and starch for many cookie recipes.
Adding too much flour will result in hard, clumpy cookie dough. Not enough flour results in wet, sticky dough. You’ll know when you have the right amount when your cookie dough is soft and fluffy.
Tip 6: The Effects Of Egg Whites Vs. Egg Yolks
- Egg Whites: More egg whites lead to more water, more gluten, and taller cookies. Captures air inside a cookie, leading to cookies with more air.
- Egg Yolks: Helps add flavor and color to a cookie. Can help cookies stay tender.
The ratio of egg whites to egg yolk can be played around with to achieve the texture, flavor, and consistency you like best.
Tip 7: Treat Air Like An Ingredient
Egg whites, evaporated steam, and the leavening agent involved usually dictate the amount of air a cookie has.
- Baking Powder: Baking soda plus acids that add air into your cookie when added to a liquid. Generally adds more air and fluffiness than baking soda. Adds more acid to a cookie than baking soda, which can alter the flavor.
- Baking Soda: Adds air when reacted with liquid. Generally leads to denser cookies.
Tip 8: I Know It’s Hard, But Let That Chocolate Chip Cookie Rest
Similar to the bread-making process, letting cookie dough rest for a period of time allows for the natural chemical processes and enzymes to do their work. As tempting as it may seem, the patience of letting cookie dough rest in an air-tight container before baking will lead to more flavorful cookies overall.
Tip 9: Measuring Is A Science, Not An Art
For the longest time, I pictured professional bakers as imprecise artisans who add a pinch of salt or dash of sugar and voila, bakery magic. But the truth is, baking is an exact chemistry and adding too little or too much of an ingredient can really throw off an entire recipe. So please, stop throwing sugar over the shoulder and through the legs. Get some good measuring cups. Save a good cookie’s life.
- Sugar: Too little sugar leads to pale cookies. Too much sugar leads to very dark, crusty cookies.
- Eggs: Too little eggs can make a cookie that has poor spread and is dense and crumbly. Too many eggs can lead cookies that are too gummy.
- Flour: Too little flour leads to flat, thin, and crispy cookies with little volume and shape. Too much flour wil lead to cookies that are very thick and come out looking closer to biscuits.
- Oven Temperature Buy an oven thermometer. A common problem is faulty oven temperature accuracy which can lead to overbaking or underbaking. Certain chemical processes in making a cookie require certain temperatures to be in place.
Tip 10: Bake With The Right Bakeware
Eating cookies is fun. Cleaning up cookies that stick to the pan is not. USA Pan has Sheet Pans, classic cookie sheets, and cookie scoop pans that are very easy to clean and don't stick to cookies. They are sturdy, reliable, and are commercial-grade bakeware that deliver professional grade results.
With over 50 years of experience making bakeware for commercial bakeries, USA Pan has a world of experience in creating the world's absolutely best bakeware. Here are two bakeware pans that will make a very big difference in improving the quality of your cookie:
- Sheet Pans: Our versatile sheet pans are perfect for a variety of baking needs, including making cookies that bake evenly and taste great. Our sheet pans are nonstick are aluminized steel for warp resistance and stability.
- Cookie Sheet Pan: One of our most popular pans, the silicione-based Americoat Plus coating leads to nonstick that is easy to clean and doesn’t stick to your cookies. Cookies slide right off, so make sure you have a place to collect the cookies easily. Has a fluted surface for even baking for perfectly browned cookies.
- Cookie Scoop Pan Specialty pan that lets users collect cookies very easily in the scoop to place on a cooling rack or plate to cool. Has a fluted surface for even baking for perfectly browned cookies.
Bakeware is an important part of the formula, as the uniquely corrugated surfaces allows for even heat distribution, which is crucial for an evenly baked cookie. Also, being able to bake without parchment paper or a greased pan helps prevent unintended flavors and allows the caramelization process to go as it was meant to.
The End Of My Chocolate Chip Cookie Journey
I found that these tips greatly improved my understanding of how to experiment with different ingredients. Hopefully, they serve you well in your quest!