Amrita Rawat shares her top ten tips for succeeding with cookie baking.
By Amrita Rawat
“C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me”
-The Cookie Monster.
When I was a child in India, my parents gave me videotapes of a couple of episodes of Sesame Street. I watched the same episodes over and over and had every line almost memorized. My favorite character? The Cookie Monster! He just loved cookies so much, and I did too. But in India, they were called biscuits–not quite the same thing. The closest to it were my favorite, Bourbon biscuits (no relation to the alcohol), which were chocolate-y, crunchy, and rectangular, sandwiched together with a glorious chocolate cream filling. I still pick up a packet of them when I go to the Indian store.
In India, and I’m sure Britain, biscuits are commonly crunchy and not too sweet, and I don’t remember ever eating an actual chocolate chip cookie. Perhaps that was why I was so fascinated by the Cookie Monster’s love for them. Or perhaps this was just a start of my foodie obsession…
Either way, when I moved to the United States and tasted my first cookie, I was in love. I started off with an unhealthy obsession over oreos, and then moved on to chocolate chip. I loved the chewy middle and the burst of chocolate chips in every bite. Over the years I’ve tried many variations, but the classic chocolate chip cookie will always have my heart.
Cookies are so versatile! There are so many more options than just the chocolate chip… In recent years, I have discovered and fallen in love with oreos, snickerdoodles, thumbprint jam cookies, thin mints, ginger snaps, white chocolate and macademia nut, and many more.
They’re also incredibly easy to make at home in a large batch. The best part about cookies at home is that you can refrigerate or freeze the dough for months on end and just slice and bake when you feel like eating one.
So here are my top 10 tips for baking cookies!
1. Butter should be soft and at room temperature. If it’s not quite at room temp, I’d rather use it slightly melted than cold. Many recipes say to cream the butter and sugar together but this has not made a difference in the final cookie result for me (but a huge difference when making cake!)
2. Use light colored cookie sheets instead of darker ones, that can brown and overcook them.
3. You can make brown sugar by mixing 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 tbs unsulfured molasses (add another tablespoon for dark brown sugar)
4. For more cake-like cookies, add more eggs, and for thin cookies, add more sugar.
5. It is important to chill the dough before baking to prevent extra spreading.
6. Smell and taste any nuts you are planning to put into your cookies as they can go bad quickly at room temperature. They are best stored in the fridge or freezer.
7. Never leave out the salt in the recipe as it adds balance to the final result.
8. Silicone baking mats are one of the best purchases you can make and are extremely useful for cookies. They are reusable, last forever, and don’t need any greasing.
9. For a chewy cookie, remove them from the oven when the edges look golden brown, and let it cool before eating.
10. Always bake by the minimum time listed on recipes and keep checking it afterwards so as not to overcook.
Now, there are many recipes out there that boast of the best chocolate chip cookie, and I haven’t tried them all (yet), but I can assure you that my recipe has been tried and tested by many friends and that it is quite delicious; a slightly crunchy cookie on the outside, with a chewy soft middle. My recipe can be found here!
Good luck and happy baking!
Amrita Rawat is the author of the blog Chai and Dumplings. Born in India and a lifelong resident of Atlanta, she recently moved to Saint Louis. Her love for food stems in part from its ability to bring cultures together and in part from how darn good it feels to eat a delicious meal. She loves traveling and has eaten her way through cities like Hong Kong, Paris, Budapest, Mumbai, and Shangri-la. Amrita is also a contributor to Sauce Magazine in St Louis.