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What is the Secret to Bakery Cookies?

So, what is the secret to bakery cookies. If you’ve tried to recreate bakery-style cookies at home, chances are that your results have left something to be desired. But with a few simple tips and tricks, you’ll be able to craft the perfect cookie every time.

You marvel at the amazing texture and rich taste, yet you can never seem to replicate this type of cookie in your own home kitchen. So, what could it be? Are there certain ingredients or techniques that make all the difference between ordinary homemade cookies and those that come out of a professional baker’s oven?

Well, we’re here to tell you that you can make delicious, professional-tasting cookies at home! This blog post is all about uncovering the secrets behind bakery cookies so that even an average home cook like yourself can consistently make amazing, sweet treats.

What is the Secret to Bakery Cookies

How to Make Bakery Style Cookies at Home  

If you’re wondering how to achieve this gourmet-level mastery when it comes to baked goods, then look no further. There are 16 essential tips and tricks to bakery style cookies; it all has to do with butter, measuring, preparing your baking pans, mixing the cookie dough, placing dough on baking sheets, refrigeration, baking, and cooling. Let’s explore each Pro Tip in detail to help you bake the perfect cookie at home.   

Measuring Dry and Wet Ingredients

Back when I was in 6th grade, I had a home economics course in school for 1 semester. The very first thing that the teacher taught us was to properly measure ingredients. In baking, it is important to measure accurately as it can greatly affect the outcome of your baked goods.

Dry ingredients such as flour should be lightly spooned into a dry measuring cup then leveled off with a knife. Resist the urge to dip the measuring cup into the flour container and leaving a heaping pile on top of the cup. Don’t tap the knife on top either as this will cause the flour to pack too tightly into the cup. Too much flour will leave you with dry and tough cookies, whereas too little flour can leave you with flat cookies that expand too much during baking.

When measuring wet ingredients, make sure to have your container on a flat surface. If you hold the measuring cup, you could inadvertently tip it, which will cause the measurement to be off. Further, your eyes should be even with the level of you are measuring. If you are looking from above or below, you could misread the amount. If measuring using teaspoons and tablespoons, make sure to hold level.

For both wet and dry ingredients, make sure that all the contents come out of the measuring container.

Secret to Bakery Cookies Pro Tip.

For instance, if measuring honey, spray it with non-stick cooking spray first and it will slide right out. This food hack is a home baker measuring secret.

Foolproof Baking Tips

Using Butter in Cookies 

Soften Butter

Butter should be softened yet slightly cool to the touch; room temperature butter will make your cookies lift and lighten. Butter that is cool room temperature will result in a picture perfect cookie. It will bake evenly and hold its shape, flattening slightly without overspreading. Using butter that is too soft will result in a cookie that is a bit doughier and slightly greasier. Lastly, a cookie made with melted butter will result in a cookie that crisps on the edges before the center is done, it will have the greasy tasting texture, and it will spread out when baking and become misshapen.

Room temperature butter can hold onto air during the creaming process. Warm butter or butter that has warm spots in it from heating does not hold onto air and therefore the texture will not be as nice as room temperature butter.

How to Soften Butter

When butter is softened, when a finger or spoon is pressed into it, it will leave an indentation, yet not lose its shape.

To soften butter that was refrigerated, set it out at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes. If the butter is frozen, set it out at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.

Need to soften butter in a hurry?

Warm up a glass, cup or bowl that will fit over the butter. Pour hot water into the container, let sit a few minutes and pour the water out. Dry with a clean cloth and put the container over the butter. The heat will soften the butter in a few minutes.

Creaming Butter

Most cookie recipes call for creaming the butter and sugar. This calls for softened butter. The butter should be starting to soften but still be slightly cool to the touch.

To cream butter and sugar, start with butter that’s softened and sugar. Use an electric mixer to beat in the mixture until it has turned an off-white color and is light and fluffy. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes. The sugar should be completely dissolved. If you rub a little between your fingers, you should not be able to feel any grains of sugar.

Stacked bakery cookies

Why Do you Cream Butter and Sugar?

During the creaming process, tiny air bubbles are forced into the mixture. This creates structure for the dough, which helps cookies rise during the baking process.

Prepare Baking Pans

Line baking Pans with Parchment Paper or silicone mats. This will help protect the cookie dough from the direct heat of the baking sheet. This insulation keeps the cookies from spreading too much, sticking, and overbaking on the bottom.

Mixing the Cookie Dough

Adding eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar that have been creamed. Mix well before adding the next egg. This allows the mixture to emulsify properly with the fats in the butter.

Add dry ingredients in batches to evenly mix into the butter mixture. If all the dry ingredients are added at one time, it will become difficult to mix and too much gluten could form causing a compressed, dense cookie.

Fold in chocolate chips and other add-ins by hand. This helps incorporate the extra goodies while not overmixing the dough.

Why do recipes call for refrigerating dough?

Not every recipe calls for refrigeration of the dough. However, if it does, typically it is to help the flour incorporate into the batter and it allows the butter to harden again.

If rolling out the cookie dough, it is always best to refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or overnight if possible. This helps the dough roll easier and bake uniformly.

Even recipes that do not call for chilling the dough would have improved flavor and texture by refrigerating a few hours to overnight. Let the cookie dough come back to room temperature before baking.

Measure Out Cookie Dough

Baking uniform shapes ensures that all the cookies bake at the same rate. Use an ice cream scoop or a cookie scoop to ensure a uniform shape and size.

Space Cookies Evenly on Baking Sheet

It is good practice to leave a 2 inch space around the balls of cookie dough. This provides enough room for the cookie to spread and rise and it bakes, yet not spread into each other. That way the shape of the cookie remains rather than having an unsightly edge where the cookies were separated.

Baking Tips for the Secrets to Bakery Cookies

Place baking sheets in the center of the oven. Adjust the racks so there is two to three inches between them. And they are not at the highest or lowest rack placement. Keeping the baking sheets as close to the middle as possible reduced the chance that the bottom or top of the cookies will get too browned during the cooking process.

Rotate Pans During Baking. Unless you are lucky enough to have a convection oven where the air circulated the heat all around the food, like a bakery has, it is recommended to rotate the baking pans. If you are baking two sheets of cookies at once, it is a good idea to switch the baking pans from top to bottom and bottom to top halfway during the baking process. At this time, you may also want to rotate the pans from front to back.

Let Cookies Cool

Let the Cookies Cool

Moving the cookies off the baking sheet too quickly can cause them to stick or fall apart while you are transferring them to a cooling rack. Therefore, it is a good idea to let them rest on the baking pan for 2 minutes before moving.

Next place them on a wire rack to allow the air to circulate around the cookie as it continues to cool.

Cookies that are left of the baking pan too long will continue to bake, which will cause the bottom to become soggy as moisture will build up on the bottom side. Additionally, placing cookies on a plate will often end up with them sticking to the plate.

Therefore, it is important to use a wire rack to let the cookies cool to room temperature. If you have a delicate or soft cookie, use a cooking rack with the wires close together.

Bakery Ovens and Baking Pans

Bakery Cookies are often made on half sheet pans fitted with wire racks with small squares. This allows for air circulation and large size baking pans that fit in the ovens. The larger pans allows for more cookies to bake at the same time. Bakeries also bake many pans of cookies at the same time.

Enjoy your Homemade Bakery Style Cookies Right at Home. Once you learn the bakery secrets, you can apply them to other baked goods too.

How to Store Fresh Baked Cookies?

Fresh baked cookies properly stored will last up to 5 days in an airtight container. Here are tips to help get the most time possible.

  • Cool cookies to room temperature before storing.
  • Store in an airtight container.
  • Store at room temperature.
  • Add a piece of white bread to keep cookies soft and fresh.
  • Don’t mix different types of cookies in the same container. One cookie may have a strong flavor, which can overwhelm the flavors of others.
  • Soft cookies and crispy cookies should be stored separately as they will eventually effect the texture of the other cookie.

Freeze baked cookies for up to 4 months. Just store in an airtight container in small containers. That way, you can take out a container of a few cookies, thaw and enjoy anytime you have that craving for something sweet.

How do Bakeries Keep their Cookies Soft?

A great food hack to keep your cookies soft is to place a piece of white bread inside the airtight storage container with the baked cookies. The bread will absorb the moisture from the cookies, which will keep them soft and fresh tasting for a few days.

Can I soften butter in the microwave?

The long and short of it is yes, you can soften butter in the microwave. To soften butter in the microwave, use a defrost power setting at 30 percent power. Then heat for 11 seconds at a time until the butter is the consistency you are looking for. Repeat as needed.

However, it is not recommended to do so for baking cookies. There will be spots in the butter that have started to melt and this will cause cookies to spread out more and flatten more than if you would have used room temperature butter.

Why Do you Need to Soften Butter for Cookies?

Butter that is too cold will not mix with the sugar enough to dissolve the sugars and become light and fluffy. Additionally, there may be small chunks of butter left during the mixing process. This causes the cookies to spread and not hold their shape. Additionally, they could turn out dense as the air bubble that need to build up during the process of creaming the butter and sugar will not develop.

How Long Does Cookie Dough Last in the Fridge?

Homemade cookie dough stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator will last up to four days. However, frozen, it can last up to two months.

Freezing cookie dough balls in small quantities is a great way to make small batches of cookies as needed. Just thaw and bake.

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