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How to Bake a Successful Batch of Cookies or Biscuits
Baking good cookies or biscuits isn't just about the recipe. It's also about understanding some basic principles behind good cookie or biscuit baking to ensure that the batches are consistent and are able to respond well to baking conditions. To ensure that you get a good batch of cookies or biscuits every time, here are some suggestions.
Note: The term "biscuits" in this article is referring to the British/Australian term, not to the North American term for soft biscuits that are more akin to scones.
Read the recipe through before baking.This will omit any surprises about ingredients or methodology. Don't assume that because it seems like another recipe you've used that it will be! You should also be aware of any items that need to thaw or reach room temperature before use and plan accordingly.
Preheat as requested by the recipe.The oven must be at the correct temperature before placing the cookies or biscuits into it. Know how long your oven takes to reach the temperature advised and plan accordingly.
Don't over mix the cookie or biscuit dough.Doing so can cause the mixture to turn too greasy and this makes it very hard to work with.
Keep the flour used for rolling down to a minimum.Too much additional flour added to the biscuit or cookie dough will unbalance the recipe, possibly making the cookies or biscuits tougher. Better yet, use a rolling pin that doesn't stick.
Roll or shape the cookie or biscuit dough to the same consistency.This means that both size and thickness should be the same for the entire batch to ensure even cooking.
Use a suitable cookie sheet or baking tray.The best for cookies are the trays which have air pockets between them or flat, heavy ones. Visit a good kitchenware store for advice and choice.
If you need to grease the sheet or tray, consider using parchment paper (baking paper) to avoid adding more grease to the cookies or biscuits.Otherwise, use sunflower oil as this won't burn while they bake.
- Many cookies or biscuits will be oily enough to not need greasing of the sheet or tray.
Place cookies or biscuits on the sheet/tray with consideration for expansion during baking.The ideal space between each cookie or biscuit is 2 inches/5cm.
Place the cookie sheet/baking tray in the middle of the oven.This isn't essential for all ovens (again, know your oven) but it helps the air to circulate more freely for the cookies or biscuits as they're baking. If you're using more than one sheet or tray at a time, divide the oven into thirds.
- Move the cookies and biscuits to the top shelf if they're not browning within the time required. They can be left there for up to 5 minutes of the remaining baking time but keep a good eye on them to ensure they don't over-brown.
- Make notations on your favorite recipes to remind yourself of any quirks, discoveries, or needs for that particular recipe the next time you bake it.
- Always use good quality, fresh ingredients to ensure the best cookie or biscuit results.
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