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Don’t blame yourself.

People tend to blame themselves when their cookies don’t turn out as planned. Undercooked. Overcooked. Burnt to a crisp. It must be the your fault or the recipe’s fault, right? Well, sometimes that may be true but very often it is the cookie sheet. Different types of cookie sheets produce different end results. It is important to understand the differences. Here is a quick breakdown:

Cookie Sheets 101:

  • Nonstick– Nonstick cookie sheets are the most common cookie sheet that you will find in the bakeware aisle. Within nonstick you will find darker and lighter finishes. The dark or light finish has a great impact on how your cookie will turn out. Darker finishes tend to brown your cookies faster and lighter finishes will typically produce a lighter cookie. I recommend reducing your oven temperature by 25 degrees when using a darker finish. I know that I sound like an irritating broken record but do not spray your nonstick cookie sheets with cooking spray or baking spray (the spray with the flour). Use parchment paper or butter.
  • Aluminum– Aluminum cookie sheets are an excellent heat conductor and typically heat the cookies evenly with the only real downside being that it can be difficult to get your cookie golden brown.
  • Insulated– Insulated cookie sheets are basically two layers of metal with a thin layer of air in between (see image above). The air in between the layers of metal heats to the oven temperature and bakes evenly across the entire pan ensuring your cookies all bake at the same rate. Cookies tend to bake slower on this type of cookie sheet and don’t brown as quickly. I don’t recommend insulated cookie sheets for cookies with a ton of a butter The butter tends to melt and leak out before the dough sets. When this happens, the cookies end up having thin edges.

My ultimate recommendation is to buy aluminum. Shiny, aluminum cookie sheets. Use parchment paper and call it a day. There are many options and I do realize that personal preference plays a part but in terms of being the most versatile, I vote aluminum. For those of you who dig nonstick or insulated, you may just need to play with your oven temperatures to get those pans to work for you.

**A few baking tips**

  • Coating the pan- My mom used to keep the foil wrapper from the stick butter, fold it up and keep it in a zip loc bag to use for her baking. She would put the butter side face down and rub it on her cookie sheets and then toss the foil.
  • Baking evenly- Turn your cookie sheet once when cooking. I usually set the timer for 1/2 the total cooking time, flip it around and then continue baking.
  • Leave the cookies on the sheet for at least two minutes after removing from the oven. It is easier to remove them and place them on the cooling rack.
  • Completely cool the cookie sheet before placing more dough on them.

Please add any other tips or tricks that you have. Happy cookie making everyone!

2 responses »

  1. Use a oven thermometer too if you are having troubles with cookies! With the quick cook time of a cookie, the 10-25 degree difference can make the difference.

  2. Great review! I never knew the difference between cookie sheets. I second your advice of using parchment paper. Not only does this keep your cookies from sticking, it makes clean up a snap. The only downside is the cost. Oh, this may be a myth, but I always bring my eggs to room temperature before using them…it helps my cookies turn out great.


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