Don't fail at baking

December is easily cookie baking month. Plenty of people bake pastries to consume during the holiday season. If you want to bake perfect cookies for your friends and colleagues, keep reading to learn about the cookie fails to avoid.

This list documents the cookie fails that will cause the cookie monster to blush in embarrassment. In short, the cookies on this list are not to be given as gifts. I regret that I am unable to prevent you from receiving these fails as a gift, but if you do, at least you will know what went wrong.

I think if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. And worth thinking about it as well.

Vikram Seth

10 cookie fails to avoid

01. It’s too eggy

Cookies with an eggy aftertaste are simply not the thing. This happens if the ingredients are not evenly blended, or the cookie is not fully cooked. TIP: Mix your batter better, and consider using a spritz of fresh lemon which neutralizes the egg in baked goods.

02. It’s like, not even done

These cookies may look done on the outside, but are actually soggy and half cooked. Too much butter or warm dough will cause the cookies to bake quickly but remain raw on the inside. TIP: Measure out the correct amount of butter and chill the dough for at least 10 min before baking. Preheat the oven and check on the cookies close to the end of the baking time. If the problem persists, you should consider getting a new oven.

03. Ingredient overload

Ambitious and jittery bakers sometimes use wayyyyyy too much fillings and toppings to create cookies that they believe to be ‘unique and different’. Cookies with chocolate chunks, walnuts, cashews, raisins, craisins, then topped with almond is more of a Pepperidge farms snack mix than an actual cookie. TIP: KIS stands for Keep. It. Simple.

04. Ammunition

These hard as rock cookies are more suitable to hitting targets and playing catch. Hard cookies happen when the batter was over mixed, too much flour was used, and too little butter was added. TIP: Avoid hard cookies by measuring out the correct amount of flour and folding it gently into the batter.  Also, add an adequate quantity of butter, but don’t overdo it.

05. Burnt offerings

These cookies are okay on the top, but are burnt on the bottom. (Btw, even if you scrape off the ‘burnt part’, I can still tell:) Keep those burnt offerings to yourself, and never serve them to your guests! TIP: Avoid dark cookie sheets, and keep a close eye on the oven.

06. Sugar rush

Adding more sugar to cookies does not improve the flavor, but could actually trigger headaches and tummy aches. TIP: you don’t’ have to use all the sugar that the recipe recommends, and doubling up will not make it more delicious. If you have other sweet ingredients like fruits or sweetened chocolate chips, you can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe to offset it.

07. Crumble jungle

Have you ever bit into a cookie and it crumbled into pieces? The feeling is very deflating. I don’t want my cookie in crumbs before I am even able to enjoy it. Crumble jungle happens when bakers experiment with other types of flour and substitutes (like coconut flour, or their homemade bean flour). TIP: ensure that the flour you choose is suitable for the recipe.

08. Child experiments

“Taste these cookies, my children made them”..um how about NO? After working with children for over 16 years, I know that they easily forget basic hygiene, and can be messy. (To be fair, adults forget too) . Also, moms understandably exaggerate their child’s creations, even when the cookies don’t look or taste right. Baking cookies with children is a great family activity, but keep it in the family until its perfected. TIP: offer cookies to colleagues and guests that you, the experienced baker have baked.

09. Stale takes

Stale cookies have a dry, dusty texture and are just a sad waste of ingredients. For the record, home made cookies should be eaten before they get a chance to be stale. TIP: avoid stale cookies by storing them in an airtight container after they have thoroughly cooled.

10. Eager rabbit

Some bakers are so determined to reduce calories, that they shred a bunch of vegetables into the cookie batter. Carrots, zucchinis, and avocados are common go-to vegetables of the eager rabbit.  While it is commendable to bake healthier cookies, miss me with the ‘chocolate carrot and avocado cookies’. This is trying too hard. Besides, ‘vegetable’ variations are more suitable to a bread than to be weighed down in a cookie. TIP: There is no need to shred a garden into your pastries. It is a cookie, not a salad! It’s better to be subtle so that when people taste the cookies, they will not believe you used ground beets and cherries.

Do you have more cookie fails to add to this list? how did you overcome ?

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