Photo by Molly Little | SXC.
Here’s our first baking tip of the 2011 “baking season”: cookies.
With a lot of holiday baking to do, it’s tempting to put two cookie sheets into the oven at once. But unless you have a convection oven, you need to place just one sheet dead center for even baking.
Rotate. If you’ve got to bake two at a time, you’ll need to rotate the sheets halfway through. Not only switch racks, but also turn the baking sheets front-to-back.
Cool. The sheets need to be cool before you add more dough. Otherwise, the dough will start to melt when it hits the hot metal. We have two large cookie sheets and rotate them.
Underbake. Don’t bake the cookies until they’re golden brown, as most recipes indicate, unless you like hard cookies. Once removed from the oven, the hot cookies will continue to set. Try taking them out of the oven when they’re a bit underdone and the tops are still moist. The texture will be just fine when they harden. (The same is true with brownies, by the way. If you wait until the toothpick comes out clean, the edges will be overdone.)
Finally, if you need to buy cookie sheets, spend for the best, commercial-weight ones. You’ll have them for a lifetime. Even if they’re double the cost, they’ll pay you back by not warping over time.
The best cookie sheets tend to be stainless steel rather than nonstick, but use parchment paper and cleaning is easy.
And buy the largest size that will fit into your oven. It’s better to have extra space on the sheet than not enough.
For great baking tips, check out The Baking Answer Book, a wonderful compilation of tips by Lauren Chattman.
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