Whether You're a Soft or Crispy Cookie Fan, Here's How to Bake the Perfect Batch
When it comes to baking cookies, there are a million and one tips and techniques that bakers use to achieve the perfect batch. We've seen it all, from pan-banging to refrigerating dough balls for days before baking. If you grew up in the kitchen, you're probably attuned to the countless cookie hacks that home bakers and pastry chefs alike swear by.
But the problem with deeming one hack to make the "perfect" batch of cookies is that everyone likes their cookies a different way. While some prefer soft, chewy cookies, others look for a cookie with snap and crispy, lacy edges. This also varies greatly based on the type of cookie you're baking; we may look for a soft, gooey center in our chocolate chip cookies, but want a crunchy, crispy gingersnap.
We may not be able to tell you one secret to make the perfect batch of cookies, but we can guide you in achieving the perfect cookies for your taste. We're spilling all our secrets on how to make soft cookies and how to make crispy cookies—all that's left is for you to decide which type will win your heart.
How to Make Soft Cookies
1. Cream your butter and sugar well
When baking soft cookies, start with softened butter. Creaming your butter and sugar until it's light in color and fluffy will result in a lighter, more tender cookie. The ratio of different sugars (for example, brown and white sugar) will impact the final texture of the cookies. Using a higher ratio of brown to white sugar will help to keep the cookies soft—while the white sugar encourages spreading, brown sugar helps the cookies retain moisture.
2. Choose a low-protein flour
Different types of flour contain different amounts of protein—while bread flour typically packs a higher percentage of protein, which encourages gluten development, cake flour contains a lower percentage of protein, which keeps cakes delicate and tender. AP flour is a great standard choice for most baking projects, including cookies, but if you're looking for a really soft, tender cookie, consider using a lower-protein flour like cake flour. Have you ever seen cookies made from boxed cake mix? This is the secret behind those wonderfully chewy cookies.
3. Don't overmix your dough
Overmixing your cookie dough will dry it out. When you add the dry ingredients, mix until it is just combined.
4. Chill your dough
While we understand the temptation of wanting to bake your cookies right away, chilling your dough will help the dry ingredients hydrate and will prevent the cookies from spreading as much in the oven. We recommend chilling your cookies for at least 8 hours, or up to overnight. Want to have chocolate chip cookies on demand? Freeze a few dough balls—just pop them in the oven when you're craving a sweet treat.
Our Favorite Soft Cookie Recipes
How to Make Crispy Cookies
1. Use a higher ratio of white to brown sugar
While brown sugar keeps your cookies moist and soft, white sugar and corn syrup will help your cookies spread and crisp in the oven. Using more white sugar in your cookies will result in a crispier end product.
2. Don't chill your dough
To achieve a crispy cookie, skip the rest in the fridge. Baking your cookies right after making the dough will encourage them to spread in the oven, resulting in an extra-crispy cookie.
3. Smash your dough and bang the pan
When looking for soft cookies, we bake our dough in balls, which will spread as they bake but remain gooey in the middle. If we're looking for crispy cookies, we smash down our dough balls before baking, which will encourage them to flatten in the oven. Cookies that are rolled out and cut into shapes, such as slice-n-bakes or sugar cookies, rather that scooped into balls also tend to be crispier.
Another tried-and-true trick to achieve crispy cookies? Bang the pan. Once your cookies have fully baked, remove the sheet tray from the oven and bang it on the countertop. This encourages the cookies to spread and flatten even more than they did in the oven.