If baking were a martial art, Alessandra Altieri would be a black belt. As the pastry chef and director of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, she's baked a lot of cookies. While we can’t give you her number for emergency holiday cookie advice, we can share some of her best tips. Here, she troubleshoots the five most common cookie mistakes every baker makes.
Mistake #1: Working with cold ingredients. “You want to make sure your butter and your eggs are at room temperature,” Altieri says. “When your butter is really cold and you have cold eggs, nothing really emulsifies together, so you end up having to mix it longer, which leads you into the second most common mistake.”
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Mistake #2: Overmixing. “When you overmix, you over-aerate the dough,” she says. “That results in your cookies spreading way too much when they bake.” You should only mix the dough to the point at which everything is combined. “This is especially important with shaped cookies,” Altieri says. “There’s nothing worse than when you’ve bought yourself a really cute gingerbread cookie cutter and then your cookie ends up looking like a snowman.”