If you’re starting out in baking, one of the easiest things to bake is good old fashioned cookies. They’re popular amongst children, easy to sell at bake sales and definitely a good dish to bring to parties or potlucks with friends. During Malaysian festivals such as Hari Raya and Chinese New Year, cookies are also the go-to snacks to have in your house when you expect plenty of visitors since cookies are easy to make in large batches.
Despite them being easy to make, there are some fundamental tips and tricks you can follow to prepare, bake and store cookies the proper way. Here are some of the tips.
Tips and Tricks to Baking Cookies
- Use the freshest ingredients when baking cookies to get the best taste possible. A great website where you can get fresh ingredients at a reasonable rate is Essential Ingredients Malaysia, a reliable online baking supplies shop that strives to serve only the best products possible to its customers.
- When following a specific recipe, try not to substitute the required ingredients as it may negatively impact the taste of your baking product. For example, do not substitute baking powder with baking soda as it may make the product have a bitter aftertaste.
- Invest in a kitchen scale to make the process of measuring your ingredients faster and more efficient
- Always use parchment paper to avoid having your cookie sheets become greasy when baking a few batches
- When baking large batches of cookies, ensure that your cookie dough is chilled between each batch
- Although many people do this, do not consume raw cookie dough as it may cause food poisoning due to the fact that it contains uncooked flour and eggs.
Cookie Dough Fundamentals
In general, most cookies consist of the same fundamental ingredients. The base usually consists of ingredients such as baking powder, all-purpose flour, salt, vanilla extract and eggs. To add sweetness, some of the common ingredients usually used are brown sugar or granulated sugar. However, if you want to get creative with the flavor of your cookies, you can always reduce the sugar and experiment with different types of ingredients such as Lotus Biscoff Spread, chocolate chips, raisins, marshmallows, Nutella and others. The fat usually used when baking cookies is either margarine (a good brand is Planta Margarine), softened butter or shortening.
The method of making cookie dough is quite consistent for all cookies. Usually, the steps taken would be as follow:
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat your eggs and vanilla together.
- In a large bowl, cream your sugar and butter.
- Add beaten eggs and vanilla to the large bowl that has your sugar and butter in it.
- While mixing the eggs, vanilla sugar and butter together, slowly add the mixed dry ingredients into the large bowl.
- Whatever unique or extra flavorings you have at hand should be added to the mixture in the large bowl. At this point, the method to prepare the cookie dough should follow the type of cookie you’re planning to bake.
Tips & Tricks When Storing Cookies
- For crunchy cookies, ensure that they are stored in a container with a loose lid. Add a piece of bread to the container to absorb any moisture.
- For soft cookies, store them in a tight lidded container. To prevent them from drying out, you can add a slice of apple into the container.
Types of Cookies
These are the 7 basic types of cookies that every baker should know.
- Molded cookies – Cookies that are made from a stiffer dough that is molded into balls or cookie shapes by hand before baking.
- Bar cookies – Made from a dough that is denser than a cake, and cut into many rectangular or diamond shaped pieces.
- Refrigerator cookies – Also known as icebox cookies. The dough is molded into a log and chilled. It is then sliced before being baked.
- Sandwich cookies – Basically two thin cookies with a filling between them.
- Rolled cookies – Before being baked, the cookie dough is rolled out on a surface and cut out according to the intended shapes and placed on a cookie sheet.
- Drop cookies – Made by dropping spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet before being baked.
- Pressed cookies – Usually made via a cookie gun or a similar device that presses cookie dough through a nozzle and onto the baking sheet.