Cooking Light Contributor
December 18, 2012

Today is National Bake Cookies Day. Appropriate, we think, considering how quickly the holidays are approaching. So to honor this most special day, we sat down with our Dessert Goddess and Test Kitchen Extraordinaire Deb Wise. She's our go-to expert with all things baking and sweet.

Parchment paper or Silpat? Which do you prefer and why?Parchment. You really can reuse it until it falls apart or gets really sticky or dirty. Then just throw it away. A bonus reason: the pan stays clean!

Help! My cookies always spread really far. Why?There are several reasons your cookies may run. Here are a few:- Butter was too soft. For most cookies, you need butter to come to room temperature, but if you leave your butter resting beside a hot stove, it’s going to get too warm.- Butter and sugar were mixed for too long. Don’t let your mixer go and go. Stop it once the butter and sugar are combined.- Too much baking soda. Baking soda makes baked goods spread.- Not enough flour. Flour is a binder, holding everything together.- Too much liquid (if any was included in the ingredients).

I only like fresh-baked cookies. Is it safe to make a batch of cookie dough, refrigerate it, and only use a little at a time? How long is the dough safe this way?Here is a safe and easy idea for freshly baked cookies every day.- Make your favorite cookie dough recipe.- Portion the dough into the usual baking size.- Freeze the cookie dough slices on a baking sheet.- Once frozen, store them in a zip-top bag in the freezer.- Take out of the freezer only the number of cookies you want to bake. Bake them frozen by adding 1 to 2 minutes to the regular baking time, and voila! Fresh baked cookies every day.

Refrigerated dough should be baked within 1 to 2 days.

What's your favorite cookie?My Grandmother’s Jumbo Raisin. They are full of raisins soaked in brandy (the brandy is actually my spin on the recipe), walnuts, warm spices (cinnamon and clove) and are absolutely delicious. Or maybe her Molasses cookies: deeply flavored with ginger, clove, and dark molasses. No wait, it’s the Mudslide cookie I discovered when I was in school at the Culinary Institute of America. No, that’s not it. It is definitely my Aunt’s peanut butter cookie with the chocolate kiss implanted in the center as soon as they come out of the oven. No, not that one either . . . . I’m so confused.

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