PRO TIPS: How to bake perfect, consistent cookies every time
When people hear I externed at a 3-star Michelin restaurant, they immediately envision elaborate plated desserts I must have worked on. While I (very) occasionally saw action with producing or creating those desserts, I more often supported the rustic Italian sister restaurant. When I did work on Quince-related desserts, they fell into two camps: mignardises and cookies for special events. Spoiler alert: cookies are appropriate for all occasions and levels of “fanciness.”
Having made thousands of cookies with an aim of consistency and deliciousness in restaurant and home settings, I bestow upon you the tips and tricks most useful for achieving bakery-style cookies every time:
How to bake perfect, consistent cookies every time
Chill your dough for 8+ hours before baking, unless your recipe explicitly tells you not to.
Use a cookie scoop or scale to ensure consistent cookie size.
Load your baking sheets evenly, and give cookies equal amounts of baking space. With my cookie scoop, I generally don’t put more than 8 on a half sheet tray, but for smaller cookies and/or cookies that don’t spread (example: shortbread), you can fit more onto a single pan.
For those with finicky/uneven ovens: rotate your pans (top to bottom and front to back) halfway through your bake.
For cookies with mix-ins, like my salted chocolate chunk cookies: set some of your mix-ins aside and wait until just before you put them in the oven and top them with bits of chocolate (or whatever your mix in may be).
For saving cookies for later: freeze the unbaked (scooped) dough, not the already-baked cookies! Trust me, you’ll get a better end product, and most cookies can be baked straight from frozen; just adjust your bake time a bit longer.
Take your cookies out of the oven 1-2 minutes before you think you have the “perfect” bake on them. Residual heat will continue cooking your cookies even after they leave the oven.
For a solid (slightly under-) baked cookie: wait for the edges of the cookie to be set and take cookie out of oven regardless of whether the middle has cooked as fast as the edge.
For all recipes, cookies or not: start with high-quality ingredients. For most cookie recipes, I also recommend starting with all ingredients at room temperature -- it will help the components come together harmoniously.