As you might have figured out, I have quite the sweet tooth and one of my favorite spots for picking up a tasty treat is tsp. baking company here in Las Vegas. They sell a variety of mini cupcakes, cookies, fairy rolls, cakes and Lappert’s ice cream. Everything is amazing, but the classic chocolate chip cookie is my absolute favorite—it has the perfect flavor and consistency. For today’s post I’ve enlisted Kari Garcia, who owns and operates this local bakery, to share some cookie baking tips! She has been baking for more than 25 years (10 professionally) but says, “This doesn’t mean I’m a chef AT ALL. I call myself a home baker gone pro…but I still feel like a rookie most days.” Hey, anyone who can make that good of a cookie is a pro in my book! Below are her top 10 cookie baking tips for the home baker who wants to start fooling friends that they have gone pro. I will definitely be giving these tricks a try, especially number 5!
1. GET A KITCHENAID MIXER!!
I have spent THOUSANDS on mixers over the years, but in my professional opinion, the KitchenAid Professional 8-quart mixer is my all-time favorite. I NEVER scrape down the bowl. It ALWAYS gets all the ingredients incorporated from the bottom, and everything is always evenly mixed. Plus with the 8-quart capacity you can always double recipes without worrying about overflow. The best part? It comes in sexy colors and can be shipped directly to your door. It’s WORTH the investment. You’ll never buy another mixer. In fact, my first KitchenAid still works after 20 years (P.S. I was in NO WAY compensated for that tip. I just HEART KitchenAid).
2. Use half-sheet baking trays and parchment paper.
I use full sheet trays at tsp. because I have giant ovens, but for those of you at home a half-sheet tray (18″x13″) is perfect. You can easily find “professional” trays on Amazon or WebstrauntStore or even ANY restaurant supply store. I always line my baking sheets in parchment paper. The cookies never stick and bake evenly every time with NO ROTATION.
Speaking of rotation…that leads to…
3. Know your oven.
The more you bake the more you get to know your oven, so don’t expect perfection the first time. If you notice your cookies are darker on the right side than the left then maybe you have a hot spot. Take care of that by rotating your cookies mid-way through baking. Don’t notice any unevenness? DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DURING BAKING. Let your cookies bake!
4. Use BUTTER.
I NEVER EVER NEVER EVER NEVER EVER use shortening or margarine. I don’t know if it’s because my dad used to work at a creamery in Oregon or what, but I ONLY use butter when baking. I’ve heard some people only use unsalted…but THIS baker uses good, old salted butter…ALWAYS at ROOM TEMP. That way all the wet ingredients incorporate with each other …every time. There are no big HUNKS of butter hiding out in your mixer bowl.
5. Use mini chocolate chips.
When it comes to my chocolate chip cookies at tsp. baking company I ONLY use Ghirardelli mini chocolate chips…and I OVER scoop them so each cup is LITERALLY overflowing when I put them in the mixer. THE MORE CHOCOLATE THE BETTER!
6. Mound your dough.
This tip is ONLY for my chocolate chip recipes. I ALWAYS mound my dough in perfect, little 3 oz (or as close as I can get because I refuse to measure because I’m not a robot) round mounds. This makes for a perfectly circular cookie that is slightly crispy on the outside, but chewy on the inside. AND THICK!
7. Let them cool.
All of my cookies at the bakery STAY on their baking sheets while they cool. There is no moving to a cooling rack. DON’T TOUCH YOUR COOKIES. They will be fine. The less they are moved the BETTER.
8. Use REAL vanilla extract.
I understand it’s expensive. TRUST ME. I spend $200 a week on vanilla, so I know it’s a LOT. BUT, the taste is absolutely worth it. It makes your cookies REAL tasting…not FAUX sweet.
9. Don’t think expensive ingredients are BEST.
Yes. I tend to buy NAME BRAND ingredients (see Tip #5), but my white chocolate chip of choice is actually the GENERIC brand at your local grocery store. It just happens to be $.02 cheaper per ounce than the name brand, AND it tastes 10 times better. Don’t be afraid to TASTE EVERYTHING that goes into your cookies…because TASTE is what counts in the end.
Which leads me to my FINAL TIP:
10. Use a recipe as your GUIDE not GOSPEL
I use almost the same basic recipe for most of my cookies, but then I BREAK from it and add mix-ins like pretzels with PB chips or substitute JELL-O packets for SUGAR. The important part is that you’re making what YOU think is delicious…not what some RECIPE is telling you. They are YOUR cookies. So make them how YOU want them…and chances are if YOU love them then OTHERS will, too.
Hope you liked these cookie baking tips! Do you have a go-to trick when it comes to making cookies?