When you're baking it is easy to find a great recipe, but that doesn't always guarantee great results. Seasoned bakers tend to have tips and tricks on hand that can make all the difference to the finished product.
If you're giving cookies a go, whatever the recipe, here are some top tips to keep in mind.
- Baking is more like science: you need to weigh out everything perfectly. If you're even the smallest amount off, it could affect the recipe.
- When baking cookies, make sure your butter is soft - leave it out for 30 minutes before baking. Melted butter will leave you with a flat cookie, and hard butter can leave you with butter lumps through the batter.
- Different sugars bring out different flavours, so if you are using a solid recipe you can play around with the sugar a bit. Dark sugar gives them a caramel taste and darker colour, white gives sweetness, while muscovado sugar gives them a beautiful texture and colour.
- If you have one at home, use a silicone mat, this stops the cookie from sticking. Alternativity, you can use greaseproof paper, but do not add anything on to the paper as it can cause the cookies to spread too much.
- Always beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Make sure to scrape down the sides of your bowl; sometimes butter likes to stick to the bottom it only becomes apparent when you're spooning out the mixture - and you have to start again!
- Add eggs in one by one. We like to sift our flour in, to make sure all the bicarbonate of soda and baking powder are well dispersed.
- If you are looking for the perfect cookie, take them out halfway through cooking and give the tray a bang, before placing them back in for their final few minutes. This gives the cookie an even bake.
- As hard as it is, you are going to have to leave them to cool on the tray for a few minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
Keep cooled cookies in an airtight container. They will last up to three days there.
Alternatively, place them in a lunch box with some freezer proof paper, then pop in the freezer where they will last for six months.
You can also freeze raw cookie dough - chill in the fridge, then cut into sections. Chill again to keep them firm then pop in a ziplock bag. It should be good for about six months.
One to try: Gluten-free cookies from The Dubin Cookie Company