Packaged cookies taste great but often contain preservatives or are too costly for the grocery budget. The solution, of course, is to bake your own cookies. To prevent your cookies from going flat, make sure to follow the recipe carefully, measure your ingredients accurately, and use the correct oven temperature and baking time. Additionally, try chilling your dough before baking, and use a cool baking sheet.
If your cookies fall flat when you remove them from the oven, or if they burn on the bottom, or if they are too crunchy and crumble when you bite into them, you may think those store-bought cookies are your only snacking solution. A few simple techniques may aid you in your baking endeavors, and you’ll enjoy the fresh taste of homemade cookies.
During the mixing process, the air is forced into the cookie batter. During the baking process, the warmth of the oven causes the air cells to expand, and the cookies rise. When you remove the cookies, the cooler air causes the air cells to contract, and the cookies collapse.
You can expect some deflation when removing cookies, but the more air in the dough, the more extreme the collapse. This may result in the cookies losing moisture and therefore tasting a little bit dry.
Numerous cookie recipes instruct you to cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. This puts a lot of air into the dough. Instead, lightly beat the butter and sugar just until they are well mixed.
Less air in the dough means less air expansion while baking. With less air trapped inside, the cookies don’t collapse when removed from the oven, but they rise just the amount they should.
Baking sheets and their place in the oven influence how evenly your cookies bake. If the bottoms of the cookies are dark brown and crispy while the tops are still slightly underdone, it may be your baking sheet is too thin, in the wrong position in the oven, or both.
Use heavy aluminum baking sheets. These disperse heat more evenly, conducting the heat through the cookie rather than just to the bottom of the cookie, as lightweight sheets tend to do.
Place the rack for the sheet just above the middle of the oven so the baking sheet resides in the upper third portion of the oven. This positioning allows for more even heating and so results in brown, not burned, cookie bottoms.
Too Crunchy and Dry
If the first batch of cookies tastes great, but the second batch is too dry or crunchy, it may be due to dropping the dough on an already hot baking sheet.
A baking sheet hot from the oven remains warm enough for several minutes that the dough, when dropped onto the sheet, starts to bake. Essentially, when using a hot baking sheet, you’re overbaking the cookies.
Overbaking robs the cookies of the moisture trapped inside the dough. If the first batch is coming out dry and crumbly, take two minutes off the baking time for the second batch.