Beat for a Better Batter
Sugar isn’t simply an ingredient that adds sweetness, it’s a complex component adding to the texture and flavor of your cookies. Creaming the butter and sugar together on a high speed for five minutes in a stand mixer (seven for a hand mixer) is crucial in creating a wonderfully lofty and billowy cookie batter. During the creaming process, sugar aids in the efficiency of pushing air into the batter. Since you are forcing air into the batter, it will grow and stretch further, therefore you are rewarded with more scoops of cookies than you would if you creamed the butter for a minute or two! P.S. Don’t stress if your butter is not at room temperature. Simply cut the butter into cubes before creaming and all will be well. It’s much easier to whip air into the batter if the butter is cold than trying to fluff up butter that creeps above room temperature.
Give Your Cookie Dough a Rest
One of the best things you can do is letting your cookie dough work for you, meaning let time take care of it and allow it rest after making the dough. I find this imperative for cookie doughs. Most recipes instruct you to bake just moments after making the dough. This is perfectly fine, but if you make the dough ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge overnight, you will not only notice a difference in texture, but the flavor is that much better. This rule of thumb means you can double your favorite cookie recipe and stash balls of cookie dough away in the freezer.
Whenever your loved ones come over for a visit, you are armed with a tray of warm cookies at a moment’s notice.
This is also a perfect gift to give! We are preparing for the time of year when we are up to our ears in platters of cookies just staring at us, begging to be eaten. Instead of already baked cookies, try giving a loved one a bag of cookie dough with handwritten baking instructions for anytime THEY are craving a warm, still gooey in the center, melt in your mouth moment. They will thank you!
Simply scoop out the cookie dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and set in the fridge for 1 hour. Write out the baking temperature, cooking/cooling time, date and any other instructions you’d like on a freezer bag. Once the dough is chilled, you can place the dough in the bag without worrying that the balls of dough will stick together or become misshapen in the freezer. The dough will stay wonderfully frozen up to 3 months. Now you are prepared for whatever the season holds, at least when it comes to cookies!
On Cookie Cooling
Most cookie recipes benefit from allowing the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet as they carry on baking after they are taken out of the oven to fully set. Simply leave the cookies on the baking sheet to cool instead of grabbing for a spatula or cooling rack. (Bonus, this means less dishes to wash!) If you are making many batches, this will still benefit you. Starting with a cool cookie sheet will give you a consistently baked cookie rather than placing the cookie dough onto a hot baking sheet where the butter in the batter will immediately begin melting. Instead of investing in cooling racks, the better investment is in more cookie sheets!
Meet the Chef:
Amber Wilson is a self-taught home cook with an insatiable desire to honor the culinary culture of the South as well as create new dishes. Originally on a career path in science and offered a job at NASA, she decided to change course and write her first cookbook, For the Love of the South. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Michael, and daughter, Audrey Rose.