The F&W Test Kitchen’s Kay Chun offers tips to keep in mind before going on a holiday cookie baking tear this month.
1. Invest in a Silpat. Reusable nonstick baking mats do not require greasing and will last forever. Using one prevents sticking and burning and promotes even baking.
2. Check dates on baking powder and baking soda. You also can test what’s in those old cans to make sure it’s still effective: Baking powder should bubble in hot water, baking soda should bubble in vinegar.
3. Always whisk baking powder and/or baking soda with the flour mixture. This makes sure it’s evenly distributed; otherwise you could get holes in the baked cookies.
4. Cut butter, don’t nuke it. To bring butter to room temperature fast, cut it into small pieces or grate it. Microwaving the butter risks fully melting it.
5. Bring eggs to temperature. For quick room temperature eggs, cover cold eggs in hot water and let them stand for 10 seconds.
6. Cool baking sheets faster between batches. Run hot baking sheets under cold water to cool them quickly. Just make sure to dry them well.