Cookie Baking 101

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Just in time for the holidays, I’m sharing my favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes along with some cooking baking tips to help ensure your cookies look and taste their best!

Cookie baking tips and troubleshooting to help you make the best holiday cookies

10 Cooking Baking Tips to Ensure Great Tasting (and looking) Cookies

  1. Always read the recipe through (at least) once before you start baking. This will ensure you have all of the ingredients you need and enough time allotted to make the cookies.
  2. Use the best ingredients you can, such as pure vanilla extract, rather than imitation vanilla.  Your cookies will only taste as good as the ingredients you use to make them. Here’s my favorite brand.
  3. Use butter, not margarine.  The higher fat content helps cookies maintain the proper texture and consistency.
  4. Be careful not to mix your batter too hard for too long.  Blend it just until it’s smooth and creamy.
  5. Measure your ingredients with care. If you use the wrong type of measuring cup for your ingredients, your measurements will be inaccurate.  Check out my YouTube channel for a quick video on which measuring cups to use.
  6. Chill the cookie dough before you bake it. This will give your batter more texture and help the cookies rise nicely. An hour in the fridge or 20 minutes in the freezer is fine.
  7. Use the right equipment.  Light-colored and thick metal cookie sheets without sides (like these) work best.   It also helps to line cookie sheets with parchment paper or use silicone baking mats to prevent any sticking.  Also, make sure your cookie sheets cool completely between batches.  A hot, or even warm, cookie sheet can cause cookies to spread too much.
  8. Use a cookie scoop to ensure that you have uniform size cookies.  Always leave at least two inches of space between cookies so they don’t spread into each other.
  9. Always preheat the oven the proper temperature before baking.  And, you should rotate the cookie sheet halfway through baking to ensure even heating.
  10. You can adjust the baking time to get the texture you’re looking for – a little less time produces chewier cookies; a little more time makes them crispy.

Cookie baking tips and troubleshooting to help you make the best holiday cookies

Cookie Trouble Shooting:  Help! My Cookie….

  • …is flat and crispy: Cookies that are thin, shapeless, and dark are usually due to too much butter, too much time in the oven, or were not chilled enough before baking.
  • …is didn’t spread like I expected: Cookies that turn out as mounds rather than nice flat, even cookies are usually due to adding too much flour and/or not enough fat.  This will keep the cookie from spreading and/or softening.
  • …is black on the bottom: Cookies that look perfect on top, but the bottom is burnt and black are usually due to placing the cookie sheet too close to the bottom of the oven.  Cookies should be baked on the middle oven rack.  If you’re baking two sheets of cookies at a time, rotate the cookie sheets half way through the baking time.

Christmas Cookie Recipes

Below is a list of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes – just click the link for the recipe. They are all pretty easy to make and don’t require a lot of hands on time.  Make sure you check out my recipe for Oreo Truffles — it’s one of the most popular recipes on IAK!

Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
Cranberry Orange White Chocolate Biscotti
Norwegian Christmas Cookies
Mint Candy Cookies
Oreo Truffles
Potato Chip Cookies
No Bake Peanut Butter Crunchies
Forgotten Meringue Cookies

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Looking for more?  Check out all of my easy Christmas recipes and my Ultimate Gift Guide filled with unique gift ideas for everyone on your list.

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3 thoughts on “Cookie Baking 101”

  1. Hi Christina,
    I have a question for you. Sometimes on a fudge recipe it calls for ex: 2 tablespoons of shortening. Can I use butter instead of shortening and can butter replace shortening in other recipes?

  2. Excellent tips. I think my issue is that my oven bakes weird. I think the temp is off somehow, so when something is supposed to bake for say 20 minutes, I need to take it out at about 14 minutes or it will burn. I wish it was easier, but I have to babysit what I bake.


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