The #1 Trick to Make Your Cookies Look Perfect Every Time
Baking warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies is a pastime for many people. It's likely that you have the perfect recipe down pat, but maybe the texture or even just the appearance of the final product is never as aesthetically pleasing as you hope it would be. Those cookies might taste next-level, but do they look Instagram-worthy, too? If this sounds like you, then you may be in need of this simple hack of how to make cookies look perfect every time you bake.
You don't have to be an experienced baker to master this trick, either. We asked recipe developer and wellness writer Beth Lipton to share an easy—yet essential—trick that you can employ to achieve baking an absolutely perfect round cookie at home.
What is the #1 trick you can do to make cookies look perfect every single time you bake?
The answer is simpler than you think, and we cannot emphasize this enough: it all comes down to simply chilling the dough.
"It's really hard, but when you're making what's called 'drop' cookies, like chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or snickerdoodles, try to chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before baking the cookies. An hour is even better—you don't need to wait longer than that," says Lipton.
What's so hard about this process? Practicing patience, of course! After you've already mixed all of the ingredients together to make a delicious chocolate chip cookie, it takes a hefty amount of willpower to refrain from scooping spoonfuls of the cookie dough either onto a baking sheet or, let's be real here, into your mouth right away (and yes, raw cookie dough is still unsafe to eat, sorry to say). Lipton assures that it is worth the wait, so if you're able to dig deep and resist all temptations, the reward will be sweet.
Lipton says if you chill the dough, "you get that perfect amount of spread, so the cookies have the best texture. When you refrigerate the dough, the butter—or other fat—that you softened before and during mixing solidifies."
Therefore, the chilled cookie dough takes longer to melt, which prevents the cookies from spreading as much. How many times have you made a chocolate chip cookie that looked as flat as a frisbee with little lumps in it? This trick will allow for a more plump, round cookie that looks perfect.
"I think they get more golden this way, too," Lipton adds.
Are there any other additional tools you need to make the perfect cookie?
"Try to make all the cookies uniform—they bake more evenly and they look much better," says Lipton. "The easiest way to do this is to use a cookie scoop, essentially a small ice cream scoop." She recommends using OXO's Medium Cookie Scoop for the best results.
Consistency is also key when it comes to making the perfect batch of cookies. Lipton encourages the idea of being consciously aware of the amount of dough you pack into each scoop. Again, being patient here is key. She suggests packing, "the same amount into each scoop and level each one off before releasing it onto the baking sheet."
What you choose to bake cookies on also matters if you're trying to achieve a truly perfect cookie.
"I like to bake on parchment or Silpat, on stainless-steel pans. Some recipes call for a greased baking sheet, but that adds a layer of uncertainty," says Lipton. "With the parchment or Silpat, there's no additional fat or liquid being introduced, but you still get the non-stick factor." We've raved about Silpat before, and it's nice to know the pros love it, too!
She also mentions that you should take note of how some recipes will require you to switch the pan from either front to back or from the bottom rack to the top rack as the baking is going on.
"Don't skip this step if you want evenly baked, perfect-looking cookies," says Lipton.
Now, who's ready to whip up a batch of cookies ready to rival your favorite food writer?