Keep a batch of portioned and frozen cookie dough balls around at all times. As they bake, the centers stay frozen while the outsides melt and start to set, yielding crinkly edges and chewy middles.
©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved
When making cookies make sure not to overcream the butter and sugar. Unlike cake batter baked in a pan, cookie dough is baked free-form. When the dough is heated and the chemical leaveners expand the air bubbles, the bubbles burst without a pan to force the dough upward, producing flat cookies. For cookies, cream the butter and sugar for only 1 to 2 minutes, just until the mixture is smooth but has not lightened in color.
Another insurance policy against flat cookies, chill butter-based cookie dough before baking. Butter has a low melting point, and starts to soften as soon as it is exposed to oven heat. Refrigerate the chilled dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days before shaping and baking. This only works with dough that uses baking powder for leavening. Don’t do this with dough that includes baking soda as the leavener, which loses its rising power soon after it is mixed with wet ingredients.
Professionals use spring-loaded ice cream scoops to portion cookie dough, making cookies the same size that will bake at the same rate. A tablespoon-size scoop is the right capacity for most recipes.
For even baking and easy cleanup, bake your cookies on heavy-duty, rimmed aluminum baking sheets (half sheet pans) lined with parchment paper. To help the paper adhere, butter the baking sheet first. You can also line baking sheets with silicone baking mats instead of parchment paper.
If you’re using silicone mats, you may want to do a test run. Some cookie bottoms won’t crisp as well on the mat as they do on parchment lined baking sheets. Of course, this can be an advantage if you prefer soft, cakelike cookies.
There is no need to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. In fact, more harm can be done by transferring warm, delicate, pliable cookies to a rack than by letting them stand on the baking sheet. If you need to remove the cookies to use the baking sheet again, just let them cool on the sheet until they are firm enough to move.
To discourage overbrowned cookie bottoms (which can happen when an oven heats unevenly), insulate the baking sheet by placing it inside a second baking sheet of the same size. The think layer of air between the baking sheets will protect the top sheet from getting too hot.
Don’t store different types of cookies together or they will exchange flavors and textures. Tin or stainless steel covered containers work best for storage, but plastic containers can also be used as long as they are airtight and fragrance free.
To revive crisp cookies that have softened, bake them for 5 to 10 minutes in a 300 degree oven. Let them cool completely before storing.
To help soft cookies keep their texture, store them in an airtight container with a ceramic brown sugar softener, or with a piece of apple on a piece of aluminum foil, or soft bread. Make sure to remove the apple after 24 hours.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2017 All Rights Reserved
December is here and is cookie-baking heaven. Here are some basic tips to make a better cookie.
Split the dough. Work with half of the cookie dough at a time when rolling and cutting cookies. Too much handling of the dough makes cookies tough.
Keep the other half refrigerated since chilled dough is easier to handle.
Bake cookies on flat, shiny, heavy aluminum, baking sheets. These baking sheets with no sides are designed for easily sliding cookies onto a cooling rack. Dark sheets may absorb heat, causing cookies to brown too much on the bottom.
Grease baking sheets with cooking spray or solid shortening instead of butter or margarine.
Don’t overload the oven. Bake one sheet of cookies at a time on the middle oven rack.
Make sure to cool baking sheets between batches before reusing. Wipe the surface of each with a paper towel before reusing.
Cool cookies completely, on wire racks, before storing them in airtight containers.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 All Rights Reserved
Less Stress Holidays
Holiday time is a wonderful time of year, but let’s face it, there is plenty of stress that comes with it. During the holidays, it’s better to keep things as simple as possible.
Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres: Keep it simple. Serve a simple, but beautiful cheese platter. Add bowls of dried fruit and nuts, as they’re always very festive. I like to set up a small snack table set with bowls of olives, savory popcorn, and Marcona almonds. I also like to serve a crudité platter for guests who may not want to eat rich foods or are perhaps trying to eat a bit healthier around the holidays.
Plan Your Menu: If you’re having a sit-down dinner, try to make a menu that can be prepared somewhat in advance. Some great options might be a beef Bourguignon, braised short ribs, coq au vin or any other main dish that can be made the day before. I am a big proponent of choosing things to cook that can be prepped ahead of time. I like to start off a dinner party with a nice salad that incorporates some seasonal ingredients like pomegranates, pears, citrus or candied nuts. A winter squash soup is also a nice way to begin a meal. Dessert can be a simple winter fruit crisp or a spice cake served with ice cream.
Get A Head Count: When it comes to a holiday meal, any time of year, depending on the number of guests, a simple yet broad menu works best. For buffet holiday parties with over a dozen people, you might want to offer a couple of different entrees. Add a vegetable and perhaps roasted potatoes or roasted root vegetables. Offering a nice crisp green salad always rounds out the menu as well. Add some delicious small rolls or a sliced baguette and you’re good to go.
Serving A Nice Beverage: Then there are the beverages. Having a festive specialty drink is always welcomed by your guests. If you’re mixing the drinks yourself, keep it simple. Please don’t spend all of your time being a bartender at your own party. That’s no fun! You could mix a nice holiday punch bowl with an adult kick ahead of time. A splash of pomegranate liqueur or elderflower liqueur is a nice addition to prosecco or champagne. A white Christmas cosmo (made with white cranberry juice) is a holiday favorite. Make it in advance and when you’re ready to serve just shake with ice and serve.
Make In Advance: Many things can be done days before the party. Shopping for non-perishable foods like spices, flour, sugar can all be purchased many days before your party. You can also make your holiday cookie dough or pie crusts in advance. All you need to do is to make sure you freeze them until you’re ready to use them.
Keep Calm & Have Fun: The most important thing is to keep calm and have fun. A holiday party of any kind should be a time of joy for everyone, even the host. If you find yourself working way too hard to throw and plan a party then ask friends or family members for help. Perhaps a few good friends could bring a dish or two to help ease the stress on your kitchen. The goal is to have a good time with family and friends.
Happy Holidays From Tiny New York Kitchen!
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2015 All Rights Reserved
Tips For Baking A Better Cookie
After making thousands and thousands of cookies over the years one learns a few important tricks on how to make a better cookie. Here are some tips from the Tiny New York Kitchen’s kitchen.
Bring butter to room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before you start (unless otherwise directed). If you’re short on time, cut the butter into pieces and microwave in 5-second intervals, just until butter is soft, but not melted.
To measure flour, spoon it into your measuring cup, then level it with a knife. If you pack flour into the cup, your cookies could turn out dry and heavy.
Check the expiration dates on your baking powder and baking soda, or test the freshness by dropping a pinch into vinegar: If the baking soda or powder foams and bubbles, it’s still good.
Use pure extracts. The imitation stuff just isn’t the same.
Buy an inexpensive oven thermometer and adjust your oven setting accordingly.
If you’re baking more than one tray of cookies at a time, switch the positions of the pans from top to bottom halfway through baking and give each pan a 180-degree turn.
Cool and quickly wash your baking sheets between batches. If you drop dough onto a hot baking sheet, the butter will start melting instantly and the cookies could lose their structure.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
Let cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets (just until they’re firm enough to move), and then remove them to a rack to cool completely (unless otherwise directed). If you leave the cookies on the pan, they could end up too crisp.
"Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen