...and then gently press down with the palm of my hand.
Whenever I post photos of cookies I've just baked, I am asked how I get my cookies to look just like a professional bakery. Here are some "tricks of the trade" I've picked up over the years that have improved the results of my cookies:
- Baking sheets - I got rid of my ratty and worn out cookie sheets and invested in four of these.
- Baking/Cooling Rack - I invested in four quality cooling racks a few years ago, and they are still serving me well. Cooling cookies on a rack helps to keep crispy cookies just the way they are supposed to be and is an essential kitchen tool. There's another reason I prefer this type of baking sheet. I like the rimmed edge to make Texas Sheetcake.
- As an added bonus, one baking sheet pan plus one cooling rack on top is great for making things like my famous Meatloaf or Chicken Fried Steak! See? It's a multi-purpose set of kitchen tools!
- Parchment Paper - My baking sheets look nearly new because I buy pre-cut parchment paper. The pre-cut is so much easier to work with that buying one long roll of parchment paper. I've paid more money buying parchment paper from King Arthur Flour, and it's very durable. I own a few silpat mats, but I prefer parchment paper for cookie baking. I really do! There is an added bonus to parchment paper. I use it, instead of foil, when roasting veggies or potatoes. Nothing sticks to parchment paper!
- Cookie Scoops - Back in the day, I did the two teaspoon way of measuring out cookie dough. Ever since I bought this set of cookie scoops, cookie baking become a whole lot easier! This is truly the baker's secret to uniform cookie baking perfection. By the way, these are great for forming meatballs as well. Trust me!
- Sparkling Sugar - I order this from one of my favorite recipe and ingredient sources "King Arthur Flour". I always keep at least one jar in my pantry, because it adds beautiful sparkle to cookies, scones and pie crusts. It's so much prettier than regular table sugar.
- Baking Times - The first time I bake a new cookie recipe, I set the timer for 2 minutes less than the recommended time. I always set a second timer for half of the baking time, so I can rotate my pans 90 degrees. This step might seem unnecessary, but ever since I got into the habit of doing this, my cookies bake more evenly. It's so worth it!
- Underbake, rather than overbake! The first time I bake a new cookie recipe, I check them sooner than later. I look at the edge of the cookie, and sometimes I lift the edges. If they are firm, then I know the cookie is done. My favorite cook is crispy on the edges and a little chewy in the middle--it's all personal preference.
So, here is the sparkling sugar that I'm going to top the cookie dough with.
They look like little diamonds!
Plus, I love the added "crunch" this sugar gives my cookies.
At 14 minutes, the cookies are light golden brown on the edges. I let them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet...
...then move them to a cooling rack.
These do look like I bought them from a bakery, don't they! Well, now, you know my baking secrets to pretty cookies.
TASTING NOTES: Aunt Esther, wherever you are, thank you! These are perfect sugar cookies with a delicious balance of butter, a crispy edge texture that I adore. The sparkling sugar gives that lovely crunch-- as soon as I post this recipe to y'all, I'm whipping up another batch. These are perfect to pack in lunches, and my husband has been hinting that he'd like some more.
As always, a printable recipe card is at the end of this post.