i.e. How to Bake a Cookie which comes out soft and delicious

I've spent a small amount of time developing my own cookie recipes, and I have discovered a few things about how to avoid rock hard cookies. Nearly every time someone bites into one of my tender morsels I hear, "Wow! That's really soft! How did you do that?" as though no one has ever had a decent homemade cookie. Well... I'm gonna tell you how it's done:

Step One - Ingredient Modification

Have you ever bought cookie dough from a store? You notice that it's quite gooey and sticky. If you make your own dough from a traditional recipe, your dough will be similar in texture and consistency. These cookies are doomed before they ever hit the oven. You'll put 'em on a sheet, stick 'em in the heat, and they'll melt pancake flat and crispy. To counter this effect, add more flour. Don't be a pansy about it either - add flour til you can't stir the dough anymore. Don't even try this with a cheap mixer - you'll blow out the motor instantly. I always mix my dough by hand, but a good mixer should also do the job. I usually add about 50% more flour than a recipe calls for. That means that in a recipe calling for 2 cups of flour, I'll put in 3 cups.

Step Two - Presentation Modification

When you put regular ole gooey cookie dough onto a sheet, you don't care what shape you put it in because you know that dough will melt into a semi-round cookie. This is not the case with your modified dough. The good dough is thick, and it doesn't melt out. Just throwing chunks of dough on a cookie sheet will still produce nice looking cookies, but if you're anal and require perfectly round flat cookie disks, you'll have to shape them yourself. Make dough balls and then flatten them into cookie shapes. Keep in mind that since they won't melt much, the shape you lay down will be fairly close to the shape you pull out of the oven.

Step Three - Baking Modification

Most cookie recipes call for a 350o oven for about 10 minutes. I prefer to bake cookies at 425o for approximately 5 minutes. The difference you'll see is that the cookies won't appear fully cooked and will just be turning a very slight brown around the edges when you pull them from the oven. When you wait for them to cool, you'll see that the texture will come out perfect this way. If you prefer a big cookie (as I do) you'll have to watch to see how long you need to leave them in the oven before they start to turn brown.


Now that you know how to bake delicious cookies, try my award winning oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe!
more suggestions from your fellow noders:
How to salvage an already rock-hard cookie or prevent soft cookies from hardening:

Put a slice or two of bread into the container with the cookies. The cookies closest to the bread will become the softest. Replace the bread if it becomes stale. This is a great use for heels of bread if you don't like to eat them. You can make cement-like cookies fall-apart soft with a couple bread heels and a few hours time.

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