Baking Cookies


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Baking cookies is a wonderful pastime that results in even more wonderful treats. In this article,
we'll show you how to bake all types of cookies, as well as test them for doneness
and store them properly.


Some cookies are more delicate than others.
For example, shaped cookies are a little more fancy than other cookies and use a pastry bag
or cookie press. Learn more about shaped cookies on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Decorating Cookies: While tasting cookies is surely the most fun, decorating cookies might be a close second. Find tips to help you decorate in this article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Baking Shaped Cookies

Also known as pressed cookies, shaped cookies are created by pressing dough through a pastry bag or cookie press to form fancy shapes. Shaped cookies can also be formed by hand-shaping the cookie dough into simple designs.

To make shaped cookies with a pastry bag:

  1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Spoon dough into pastry tube fitted with desired tip. Pipe onto prepared cookie sheets. Pipe all cookies at once; dough will get stiff upon standing.

    You should pipe all of the dough at one time.
    You should pipe all of the
    dough at one time.


  3. Bake until set. Carefully remove parchment paper to countertop; cool completely.

  4. Peel cookies off parchment paper.

    Remove the cookies from the parchment.
    Remove the cookies
    from the parchment.


To make shaped cookies with a cookie press:

  1. Fit cookie press with desired plate. (To make different shapes from the same dough, change plates after each batch). Tip: If the recipe calls for a cookie press, do not try shaping the cookies by hand unless the recipe states that you may do so. The consistency of the dough was formulated to work with a cookie press.

  2. Fill press with dough; press dough onto cookie sheets. If your first efforts with a cookie press are unsuccessful, transfer the dough back to the cookie press and try again.

    Press the dough on to a cookie sheet.
    Press the dough onto a cookie sheet.


  3. Bake until just set. Cool, as directed.
Find basic tips for baking all sorts of cookies on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Decorating Cookies: While tasting cookies is surely the most fun, decorating cookies might be a close second. Find tips to help you decorate in this article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Cookie Baking Tips

Take the guesswork out of cookie baking by practicing good techniques. Follow these tips whenever you decide to heat up the oven and whip up a batch of delicious cookies.

  • Read the entire recipe before you begin.

  • Remove butter, margarine, and cream cheese from the refrigerator to soften, if necessary.

  • Toast and chop nuts, peel and slice fruit, and melt chocolate before preparing the dough.

  • Measure all the ingredients accurately. Assemble them as directed in the recipe.

  • When making bar cookies or brownies, use the pan size specified in the recipe. Prepare the pans according to the recipe directions. Adjust oven racks and preheat the oven. Check oven temperature for accuracy with an oven thermometer.

  • Follow recipe directions and baking times. Check doneness with the test given in the recipe.

  • The best cookie sheets to use are those with no sides or up to two short sides. They allow the heat to circulate easily during baking and promote even browning.

  • For even baking and browning, place only one cookie sheet at a time in the center of the oven. If the cookies brown unevenly, rotate the cookie sheet from front to back halfway through the baking time.

  • When baking more than one sheet of cookies at a time, rotate them from top to bottom halfway through the baking time.

  • Use shortening or a non-stick cooking oil -- not butter -- to grease cookie sheets. Instead of greasing, you can line the cookie sheets with parchment paper or a baking mat made from silicone and fiberglass. Lining the cookie sheets eliminates cleanup and bakes the cookies more evenly. With parchment paper, cookies can cool right on the paper instead of on wire racks.

  • Allow cookie sheets to cool between batches. The dough will spread if placed on a hot cookie sheet.

  • Unbaked cookie dough can usually be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to six weeks. Rolls of dough should be sealed tightly in plastic wrap; other dough should be stored in airtight containers. Label dough with baking information for convenience.

How do you know when your cookies are done? Find tips to check doneness on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Decorating Cookies: While tasting cookies is surely the most fun, decorating cookies might be a close second. Find tips to help you decorate in this article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Baked Cookie Doneness

To avoid overbaking cookies, check them at the minimum baking time. If more time is needed, watch carefully to make sure they don't burn. It is usually better to slightly underbake than to overbake cookies. The following are some general guidelines that describe doneness tests for many types of cookies. Based on the type of cookies you're baking, apply one of these tests:

Fudgy
Bar Cookies
: The surface appears dull and a slight imprint remains after touching the surface with a fingertip.

Cake-like Bar Cookies
: A wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and dry.

Drop Cookies
: The surface is lightly browned and a slight imprint remains after touching the surface with a fingertip.

Refrigerator Cookies
: The edges are firm and the bottoms are lightly browned.

Rolled Cookies
: The edges are firm and the bottoms are lightly browned.

Shaped Cookies
: The edges are lightly browned.

Many cookies should be removed from cookie sheets immediately after baking and placed in a single layer on wire racks to cool. Fragile cookies may need to cool slightly on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Bar cookies and brownies may be cooled and stored in the baking pan.

Now that your cookies are baked, find out the proper way to store them in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Decorating Cookies: While tasting cookies is surely the most fun, decorating cookies might be a close second. Find tips to help you decorate in this article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Storing Baked Cookies

To keep baked cookies at their best, it is important to store them properly. Cookies should keep if you follow good storing practices.

  • Store soft and crisp cookies separately at room temperature to prevent changes in texture and flavor.

  • Keep soft cookies in airtight containers. If they begin to dry out, add a piece of apple or bread to the container to help them retain moisture.

  • If crisp cookies become soggy, heat undecorated cookies in oven set at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 to 5 minutes.

  • Store cookies with sticky glazes, fragile decorations, and icings in single layers between sheets of waxed paper.

  • Bar cookies and brownies may be stored in their own baking pan. Cover with foil or plastic wrap when cool.

  • As a rule, crisp cookies freeze better than soft, moist cookies. Rich, buttery bar cookies and brownies are an exception to this rule since they freeze extremely well. Baked cookies can be frozen in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to three months. Meringue-based cookies do not freeze well and chocolate-dipped cookies may discolor if frozen. Thaw cookies and brownies unwrapped at room temperature.

Baking cookies can be such a treat. Use the tips in this article to ensure you bake the perfect cookie every time.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Decorating Cookies: While tasting cookies is surely the most fun, decorating cookies might be a close second. Find tips to help you decorate in this article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.