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A Cookie Success: Learning how to make the best cookie possible

I have never, ever, been able to make an edible cookie. Burnt on the bottom and mushy in the center, way too dry, or simply gross—these are the cookies I make. I can make a delectable pie, and good cake, but when it comes to cookies, no dice. So, you can imagine my surprise when I banked on cookies for our Bake A Second Batch campaign, and out of the oven came deliciously smelling, perfectly moist, incredibly edible cookies.

I'd like to think it's because I'm a superhero cookie maker, who blossomed over night. But the truth is I owe it to our expert baker Deb Wise and a feature in our December issue. So, for those of you in my boat, who have been told over and over by friends, "Don't worry, you can't be good at both cookies and pie," You can. I promise, you can.

Here's what I did that made all the difference this time:

  • I measured my ingredients with the OCD of Monk: Our recipes often come with an ounce measurement in addition to a volume measurement. Instead of scooping my measuring cup into the flour bag and leveling it off with a butter knife, I ditched the measuring cup altogether and weighed it. Ann Taylor Pittman explains:
"With light baking...we don't have a lot of butter to throw at our cakes and cookies, so everything is very precise. If you get a tablespoon, or two, or three, or an ounce more of flour more than you, or we intend, you're going to end up with a cake that's maybe a little bit dry, or not so tender."

Weight is the most accurate way, but if you want to spoon it in, that works too. Ann Pittman shows you how to best weigh your flour in this video.

  • Light-colored baking sheets: Perusing this great article in our November issue about how to be a better cook, I saw this little box and it completely changed how I saw baking sheets:
  • I ditched the fork, and used a stand mixer. I usually try to mix everything by hand. I don't know why; it just seems right. But, obviously, it wasn't right because my cookies were looking like something straight out of Oscar the Grouch's dumpster--not even Cookie Monster would touch that. (See picture above, bottom right corner). Maybe hand mixing is better for experienced chefs, or, maybe I just don't have the proper patience yet, but it seemed to make a difference.
I did all these things, and ta-da, out popped beautiful, edible cookies. If you've had cookie troubles in the past, give it another try, maybe one of these tips will make your cookies perfect.