Top 3 Cookie Baking Mistakes

The Top 3 Cookie Baking Mistakes You’re Making that you NEED to know before you ever bake another batch again! These are the tips are usually reserved for the pros but I’m sharing them with YOU today. FREEBIE INCLUDED!

Bad cookiesThere’s nothing more frustrating than thinking you followed a recipe only to have it look NOTHING like the picture. What a waste of time, money, and ingredients and you still have a kitchen to clean. Ugh. If you’ve ever made cookies that turned out burnt, undercooked, crumbly, dry, hard, or turned into flat puddles, then you’re going to love this post.

Those are exactly the reasons why you need to learn these Top 3 Cookie Baking Mistakes. How do I know you’re making these baking mistakes? Because I get so many comments, emails, and questions from you guys asking me what could have gone wrong. There’s so many times I WISH I could just teleport into your kitchen and show you what’s going haywire!

That’s why I’m on a mission to turn everything I’ve learned from writing a cookbook, graduating from culinary school, and publishing my Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies into easy actionable tips for you to forever improve your baking. You know, this one:

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from HandletheHeat.com

So please, don’t bake another batch of cookies until you’ve read this entire post! Believe me, you’ll be happy you did. Also, there’s a really fun freebie I’ve created at the bottom to help you bake perfect cookies, whatever your definition of ‘perfect’ means! Don’t miss it.

MISTAKE #1: Your oven is a liar.

Yep, that’s right. When your oven tells you it’s preheated, or when it tells you it’s heated to the exact correct temperature, it’s probably lying.

In fact, many home ovens are off by 20°F or more! That means when you set the oven for the perfect 350°F just like the recipe tells you, it could actually be heating much colder or hotter. And see what a difference that can make:

Top 3 cookie baking mistakes you NEED to know before you ever bake another batch.

Crazy, right? Every oven works differently. Some are a little hot, some a little cold, some take longer to preheat, some have hot spots or cook unevenly, and some bake really fast. Getting to know your oven is KEY to improving your baking.

The fastest and easiest way to make your oven tell the truth is by using an oven thermometer. It’s the best kitchen investment you can make for less than $10.

(CLICK HERE for my Oven 101 video article explaining exactly how to master your oven, including tips on oven rack placement and convection ovens.)

MISTAKE #2: You’re probably measuring your flour wrong.

I would say that at least 50% of the baking fails that you guys tell me about can be traced back to mis-measuring the flour.

Basically, flour is very difficult to measure by volume (in measuring cups). A lot of us accidentally add way too much flour into the recipe. Then we get cookies that look like these:

Top 3 cookie baking mistakes you NEED to know before you ever bake another batch

Scooping your measuring cup directly into the flour container can pack the flour in, causing your measurement to be me almost 2 ounces more than it should be! That’s almost 1/2 cup of extra flour. Eek!

Use the “spoon and level” method:

Instead of dipping your measuring cup straight into the flour, fluff up the container of flour first. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then scrape off the excess with a straight edge.

Flour in Cookie Baking

A flour scoop is the best tool for this. This will get you about 4.5 ounces or 127 grams of all-purpose flour per cup (this amount will vary slightly depending on the brand of flour or publication of the recipe).

Even better, weigh the flour!

The best method to measure ingredients for baking is by weight. In fact, it’s quicker and cleaner! Every ingredient has a different density, so it’s important to understand that 1 cup of flour will not weigh the same as 1 cup of chocolate chips or 1 cup of peanut butter.

Second to the oven thermometer, the other BEST investment you can make to improve your baking is with a KITCHEN SCALE. Trust me on this!

Be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide to Measuring to learn more.

MISTAKE #3: The temperature of your butter is EVERYTHING!

A lot of baking recipes call for butter to be “at room temperature” or “softened.” But what does that actually mean?

Well, if your cookies have ever ended up looking like this:

Top 3 cookie baking mistakes you NEED to know before you ever bake another batch

Then it was probably because your butter was actually too WARM. Butter begins to melt at body temperature, which is why it has that delightful melt-in-your-mouth texture. However, that also means it begins to melt and spread the second it hits the hot oven.

Perfect room-temperature butter for cookie baking should:
  • Give slightly when pressed with your finger but still
    hold its shape
  • Be flexible without breaking or cracking
  • Is at a cool room temperature of about 67°F
  • It’s better for the butter to be too cool than too warm.

Overwhelmed?

I hope you enjoyed learning about these Top 3 Cookie Baking Mistakes, but I can understand if you feel a little overwhelmed. The best way to improve your cookie baking, or anything you bake, is to understand that baking is a science. Every little tweak and chance has an impact. Precision, accuracy, and consistency is so important! But that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment and play around to customize a recipe or to get your desired result.

I’d highly recommend you download my FREE Cookie Customization Guide to learn how to make your DREAM cookies today!

*This post contains affiliate links.

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