Baking is a science, but it’s not rocket science. Most of my baking disasters were due to shortcuts. Once I learned to take my time in the kitchen, enjoy and have fun, my baking game improved heaps!
Hi, I'm Katie. I own and operate Cookie Dough Collective, a baking business that specializes in edible, bakable cookie dough. I'm a self-taught baker and I haven't always been the best at it. Here are some lessons learned over my baking journey; that will help all you self-proclaimed "Non-Bakers" improve your baking creations, specifically, cookies!
Read the Recipe
Yes, it's obvious, but most will not read it through first, before starting. After you've read it, read it through again and...
👉check you have all ingredients
👉all equipment needed
👉and enough time to complete it.
Before starting, get all equipment and ingredients out on the countertop and get ready to nail this dessert!
Mixing Times make a Difference
If you're making cookies, you'll cream together the butter and sugar - whipping it up until it's light and full of air! Patience is key - give it time to slowly take on a whipped look, increase in size, and lighten in colour. Aim for light, fluffy peaks that hold form.
Remember, over-mixing is possible at some stages of the recipe. Directions like mix until combined, requires mixing only until combined! ✌
And, if you're like me: cream, beat, blend, fold in - it all just meant mix. Check out this list from the BBC of common baking terms and definitions.
Use Soft Butter 🧈
Cold butter will struggle to cream, fluff, and lighten in the same way warmer butter does. Reading your recipe through should allow you to plan for this; but if not, weigh the required amount, pop into a glass bowl, and slowly soften in the microwave (10-20 second bursts) until warm to the touch.
In case you take it too far, liquid butter will still work, but it's going to create heavier, denser cookies.
Unsalted Butter is Best
Different brands of salted butter contain different amounts of salt, so you risk over-salting your baking. The safe bet if you haven't made the recipe before, is to opt for unsalted butter.
We use NZ made Mainland Unsalted Butter in all our cookie dough 💯
Fun Fact: unsalted butter is generally fresher; salt is added to butter as a preservative.
Chill your Dough
Pop your dough cookie in the fridge (1-2 hours) or freezer (30 minutes), chuck on Netflix, and grab a glass of wine while you wait - ah yes please!
When you bake your cookies cold, they hold their shape and spread slower. Cold dough is also easier to handle and roll!
Use Baking Paper
It's not always available, but if you've got it, use it. Our Cookie Dough Log actually comes wrapped in compostable baking paper - easy peasy and good for the environment 🍂
Add Something on the Top 💥
Before popping your creation in the oven, cookies or otherwise, spend a few minutes making it beautiful. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty, roll your cookie into a nice well-formed golf ball size ball, and add a little bit of your main ingredient on top of each cookie - chocolate chips, walnuts, oreo cookie chunks. Honestly, this small effort will drastically improve the look and taste of your cookies - BAM.
Invest in a Digital Scale
If you're planning on baking regularly, having a digital scale ($12 from Kmart) makes it SO much easier! A digital scale will make your baking more accurate and therefore improve it.
I grew up measuring with cups and teaspoons, so the idea of baking with weight was intimidating at first, but I went there, and I'm never going back!
Just remember if you’re converting from volume (cups/spoons) into weight (kg/g), not all ingredients weigh the same (eg. butter is heavier than flour), so use a conversion chart like this one.
And lastly, actually follow the Directions
Duh, but directions like mixing wet and dry ingredients separately before mixing together can easily get skipped. The order and method set out is actually important! So unless you're Julie Child, don't get creative here guys.
Learning how to bake isn't easy, but anyone can do it! Like everything, it just takes practice, patience, and persistence.
Bake away babes, and keep sharing that cookie dough love ❤
Cookie Dough Collective