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5 Secrets to Baking Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Perfect chocolate chip cookies ARE possible!
Chocolate chip cookies -- they're America's favorite! But they're not always the easiest to bake. So often they can come out greasy or flat -- such a disappointment! But with a few simple tweaks, your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe can come out perfectly every time!
I have been baking cookies for my family for over 25 years -- and have quite a repertoire of these delicate delights! Among my most requested cookies are almond biscotti, sweet and crunchy palmiers, chewy oatmeal, and festive Christmas holly cookies. But by far, the most popular treat in my holiday cookie tray is the classic chocolate chip! Over the years, after baking THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of cookies, I've figured out the best way to end up with fluffy, chewy chocolate chip cookies every time! Here are some common problems with homemade chocolate chip cookies and easy ways to correct them:
#1 Greasy or flat cookies.
Mistake: Butter that is too soft. Even though many recipes call for "softened" butter, friends have told me they've mistaken that to mean "melted" butter. No! If you've melted the butter, you've already ruined the batch before they make it into the oven!
Solution: Believe it or not, I get best results using cold butter right from the refrigerator, but I use a KitchenAid that does the mixing for me. If you're using a hand mixer, I suggest you use butter that is no softer than room temperature.
What's your favorite homemade cookie?
#2: Salty cookies
You've followed the instructions to a "T", but somehow they're too salty!
Mistake: Again - the butter is the culprit! More often than not, cookie recipes that call for butter mean "unsalted" butter. No one ever tells you that! Well it's true. So if the recipe calls for butter and a pinch of salt, and you use "salted" butter, you've salted them twice!
Solution: Stock up on unsalted butter, or, if you only have salted butter in the refrigerator, leave out the pinch of salt.
#3 Cookies are too sweet
Mistake: You've probably used the wrong chocolate. Many people use milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet chips. Most of the time chocolate chip recipes call for semi-sweet chips to balance out all the sugar in the rest of the recipe. If you use milk chocolate, which is much sweeter than semi-sweet, you've added more sugar to the recipe.
Solution: Stick with the semi-sweet and use the best quality chocolate you can.
#4: Over- or under-done cookies
(not attributed to oven temperature disparities)
Mistake: You're probably using the wrong cookie sheet. Generally, darker-coated sheets will bake and "set" the cookie faster than a light-colored sheet. So, for instance, if you bake the cookies at the time and temperature suggested in the recipe, but your cookies are coming out too light or under-baked, chances are you're using a lighter-colored pan than was used when the recipe was developed.
Solution: I suggest trying a darker-coated pan. And the inverse is true too -- if your cookies are coming out too dark, change to a lighter colored sheet. I tend to use a darker baking sheet and test the cookies about 2 minutes earlier than the suggested baking time.
#5: Cookies stick to the pan
Mistake: Not removing them from the pan at the right time. Most recipes suggest you take the cookie sheet out of the oven and let them cool before you remove. If you let them cool all the way down on the cookie sheet, they stick to the pan and you need a jackhammer to get them off!
Solution: My suggestion: carefully remove the cookies from the baking sheet just a minute or two after you take them out of the oven, and place them on a cooling rack. The rack allows air to get under the cookies, which will cool them faster and prevent mushy or soggy bottoms.
Using these hints can make a big difference in how your chocolate chip cookies turn out. And you'll find that many of these ideas can improve the outcome of some of your other tasty treats too!