The Five Most Common Baking Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

PHOTO: A girl is shown here baking cookies for the Brown Butter Cookie Company.
Brown Butter Cookie Company

We've all had a baking meltdown or two: maybe one time you forgot to add the baking soda or another time you thought the temperature said 425 degrees instead of 325 degrees. (While not aesthetically pleasing, these disastrous results are usually still delicious.)

Christa Hozie, co-owner of Brown Butter Cookie Company, shares her secret tips on how to avoid some of the most common baking mistakes. Follow these tips, and you'll soon be on your way to baking perfection. For more information on the Brown Butter Cookie Company, visit their site here.

Get Organized

It is helpful to organize and measure your ingredients before starting the dough-making process. It only takes one distraction to find yourself asking, "Did I add the vanilla or was I just thinking about it?"

Push for Flavor

Make sure you use quality ingredients and enough of the key ingredients to give your cookies the particular flavor you're looking to achieve. We often taste an Espresso cookie that has only a hint of espresso flavor. It's a balancing act of trying to get enough flavor without overpowering the cookie. The best advice is to try various combinations until you get it right. Also, make sure to check expiration dates on all ingredients. Taste your ingredients to make sure they are fresh, especially when incorporating nuts. Do this before adding them to your dough.

Cream Your Wet Ingredients

We often see cookies that are extremely flat and lack body. When making your dough it is important to cream your butter and sugars together for an extended amount of time. Cream your wet ingredients in stages: first your butter, then your butter and sugars together and finally once more after adding the eggs.

Be Aware of Time and Temperature

Bakers can have a tendency to slow bake their cookies, attempting to get them looking perfectly browned. This leads to pretty cookies that are dry on the inside. You need to have your heat high enough to allow the cookies to brown quickly, giving you a crispy edge and a chewy center. It's also important to know the hot spots in your oven and rotate your trays mid-way through the cooking time.

Use Your Intuition

Baking is part precision and part intuition. If you feel your cookies need extra time or higher heat you need to be in tune enough to feel comfortable acting on what the little voice inside is telling you. The more you are aware of how specific ingredients perform and how your equipment works, the more confidence you will have to make necessary adjustments to your dough and baking process.

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