Try Using Your Muffin Tin For Perfectly Round Christmas Cookies

Dorie Greenspan swears by this clever trick.

Cookies have a way of doing their own thing in the oven. But this holiday season, we're saying goodbye to wayward edges and uneven browning thanks to a brilliant trick from baking extraordinaire Dorie Greenspan.

Greenspan, the author of countless cookbooks, including Dorie's Cookies, told Epicurious that she learned through trial and error that baking cookies in small metal ring molds are the best way to give them a clean, tailored look.

"Left to their own devices, cookies will spread, but here they had to grow in their tiny little homes and became crisper around the edges, which I loved," she explained.

One of Greenspan's friends discovered that muffin tins produce the same effect—this hooked the cookie guru to this technique.

"And once I started baking them in muffin tins, I couldn't stop," Greenspan told Epicurious. "Like ginger molasses cookies. They're delicious baked in balls, but they were crying out for the muffin-tin treatment. It's a really interesting way to change the texture."

Round Christmas Cookie
Kritchanut / Getty Images

How To Make Cookies in a Muffin Tin

Here's how to turn that old muffin tin into a cookie-making factory.

  1. Scoop cookie dough with a standard two-tablespoon cookie scoop or spoon. Greenspan explained that most cookies already contain enough butter, so don't worry about buttering the muffin pan.
  2. Last but not least, use a little jar with plastic wrap to press down the surface of the dough.
  3. And then bake, letting the oven do the rest.
  4. Just be sure to check on them a little earlier than you're used to, as the edges could brown more quickly.

Flawless cookies, here we come!

Additional Methods for Making Perfectly Round Cookies

Chilling the Dough

Before baking, place the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the butter to chill. This method is best for cookies that require a "drop" cookie technique (placing evenly sized blobs of dough on a cooking tray) so the butter or other fats do not soften too much before baking. The butter softens during mixing, increasing the likelihood of spreading while baking.

Shape the Dough After Baking

You can use a few things to shape the dough after baking, resulting in perfectly round cookies. Find a cookie cutter, glass, or round container slightly larger than the final cookie's shape. After removing the cookies from the oven, making sure they are still somewhat warm, use your round object to cover the entire cookie and gently twist it back and forth, helping to shape a round cookie. Try not to cut any part of the cookie away, but instead, use the swirling motion to mold the shape rather than cutting the cookie.

Shape the Dough Before Baking

To make perfectly round cookies, it helps to shape the dough before baking. One way to shape cookie dough is to roll it into one long, evenly thick log (similar to the pre-packaged cookie doughs you buy at grocery stores, which will help shape cookies. For "drop" cookie recipes, use a utensil (such as an ice cream scooper) to keep the dough the same size every time. After scooping the same amount of dough, take the extra step of rolling the cookie dough into smooth balls. This method works better for smooth doughs (sugar or snickerdoodle) but can also work for thicker doughs (chocolate chip) if you apply extra pressure when forming the balls.

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