Girl School for Grownups

Like having a big sister, but better because I can't boss you around!

Cookie baking hacks plus a recipe

on November 22, 2014

I grew up baking. I can remember making Toll-house cookies when I was young enough that my arm would get tired mixing the dry ingredients into the sugar-shortening-egg mixture and I had to ask for help or take a break. Here are a few baking hacks that may make your baking a little better.

  • Before you start, put a bowl in the sink and fill it with hot water and some dish soap. This makes clean-up ever so much easier.
  • When cracking eggs, crack them on a flat surface. Cracking them on the edge of a bowl means you’ll almost always have little bits of eggshell in the mix.
  • If you get bits of eggshell in the mix, use eggshell to get them out. Seriously. Use one of the bigger eggshell pieces to fish out any small pieces.
  • Get all of your ingredients out before you start, and then set them aside or put them away as you use them. That way if you’re interrupted there won’t be any questions like “did I put the salt in yet?”
  • In general, shortening makes cookies chewier and better. You can get non trans-fat shortening at natural food stores.
  • Because baking is chemistry (as opposed to cooking, with is more artistry) precise measurements are important. Measure flour with the dip and sweep method. Measure brown sugar packed into the measuring cup.
  • Eating cookie dough is a vital part of ensuring the cookies are good. I’ve baked for more than 45 years and never had an issue with eating raw eggs. My kids are (mostly) fine too. 🙂

Snickerdoodles-Recipe-2

One of my favorite recipes is this one for Snickerdoodles. Enjoy!

For the cookies:

1 cup shortening

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

2-3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the cinnamon sugar:

1/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon

To make the cookies, place shortening and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix until smooth. (Now you’re done with the mixer unless you want flour all over your countertops.) By hand, mix in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or longer.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To form cookies, break off small pieces and roll into 1-inch balls. A cookie scoop helps to make the cookies the same size. Roll balls in the cinnamon sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake until just barely golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on cookie sheet for about 2 minutes, then transfer to a rack.

Here’s a video and more information on making snickerdoodles. This recipe calls for a little vanilla which I’m going to try the next time I make them.

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