I’ve always loved to bake. When I was growing up, my parents hosted a cookie-baking contest for my seven siblings and me. We would all sneak in the kitchen and covertly bake our batch, lest someone discover our recipe. While my siblings pursued medical school and other post-graduate degrees, I continued to hone my cookie-baking skills. Thousands of cookies and baking hours later, I have them perfected, so much so that two years ago I started my own at-home cookie baking business. Here are my tips:
- I like a dense cookie that stands up tall, so I use a bit more flour than most recipes call for. I also use self-rising flour, which has leavening agents and salt in premeasured proportions. Plus it’s convenient.
- Use an insulated baking pan.
- Don’t “fluff “ the creamed mixture. This whips too much air into the dough.
- Remove your cookies from the oven just before they look done. A tan cookie will be more dense and pliable than a golden cookie.
- Don’t cram extra cookies on the baking sheet. Each sheet should hold one dozen.
- Use a small or medium scoop to measure your dough.
- A metal cake spatula is better for removing cookies from the pan—it’s less sticky than a rubber cookie spatula.
- Slow down. This is a labor of love.
—Story and recipes by Mary Carter, a food writer in Nashville, Tenn.