While making cookies is not difficult, there are a few pesky problems that can arise. Here are some of the most common ones we’ve encountered (and some easy solutions). Reward your renewed baking confidence with one of our favorite recipes, Brown Butter Cookies.
Problem: No softened butter on hand
Solution: Take a butter-softening shortcut
It can take about 30 minutes for a cold stick of butter to soften at room temperature. And in order for butter to cream properly, it needs to be soft. What if you don’t want to wait? Here’s how to soften butter in a hurry:
Problem: Dough is too soft
Solution: Refrigerate the dough
Cookies are rich with butter and when the air is hot or humid, butter will start to melt and soften your dough. Just place the dough in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough has firmed up. If your kitchen is especially warm, remove just enough to portion onto one or two trays, while the rest stays chilled and firm in the refrigerator.
Problem: Some cookies are short on chips
Solution: Stud the balls with extra chips
Sometimes chocolate chips, nuts, and other goodies don’t get evenly mixed into the dough. The result? The last few balls of dough are skimpy on the “good stuff.” Rather than mixing extra chips into the dough (and possibly overworking the dough), simply reserve a spoonful of chips from the total amount called for and stud the last few formed balls with the chips. Alternatively, you can also use this tip to ensure an even distribution of dough mix-ins.
Problem: Out of parchment paper
Solution: Use aluminum foil
You might be tempted to grease the baking sheet or spray it with vegetable spray—don’t. The extra fat will cause the cookies to spread and bake unevenly. We prefer parchment for lining our baking sheets. Its slick surface prevents sticking, so we don’t need to wrestle cookies from baking sheets. But what if you’re out of parchment? There is a solution—aluminum foil. While the cookies stick a little, you’ll be able to gently lift them off the foil.
Problem: Cookies are overbaked
Solution: Immediately remove cookies to a wire rack
It happens. You become distracted in the flurry of a busy kitchen and your cookies are in the oven a minute or two too long. Remove the sheet immediately from the oven and then, rather than allowing the cookies to set on the baking sheet (as our recipes instruct), immediately use a thin, wide spatula to gently remove them to a wire rack, where they will cool off more quickly. Even if they’re a little burnt, it still might not be too late to rescue them.