Cookies are a delightful part of the holiday season, whether you’re leaving an array of treats out for Santa or dunking a crispy morsel in milk. If you’re baking a batch — or several — this month, keep these tricks in mind:
Before you begin baking, check your pantry to see if you have all of the ingredients you need and that what you do have is not expired.
Planning on baking sugar or cutout cookies? Make the dough the night before and refrigerate it. The butter in your dough will be thoroughly chilled, which will help the cookies hold their shape better as they are baking.
If your recipe calls for softened butter, bring the butter out of the refrigerator 1–2 hours before you need it and cut it into small cubes to help speed up the warming process.
It’s best to use room-temperature eggs when baking since they incorporate better into the batter.
Before measuring sticky liquids such as molasses, honey or corn syrup, lightly spritz the inside of your measuring cup with cooking spray.
If you like your cookies softer, use a higher ratio of brown sugar to white. While white sugar helps the dough spread out as it bakes, the higher acidity in brown sugar allows the dough to better maintain its moisture content.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper — it helps release cookies smoothly. Just tear off the length of parchment paper you need to cover the cookie sheet and place it on the pan, curled side down.
For the most even baking, place your cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven and only bake one sheet’s worth at a time.
Let your cookie sheet cool down between batches; dough placed on a warm pan will spread.