Updated: Mar 20, 2022
Hello again! Today I'm going to go over the top cookie mistakes that I've made (or seen) in my 5 years of selling cookies so YOU don't have to make them!
Are you ready to skip the trips to the trashcan with your pan of cookies in tow? I thought so!
Top Cookie Mistakes:
I have tried every variation of adding butter to a cookie recipe you can think of. I've used cubed butter, frozen butter, melted butter, grated butter, and softened butter. I've used Shortening and Butter-flavored Crisco, butter flavoring and even browned butter, oil, and peanut butter.
Now, here's the thing. My top two priorities when it comes to cookies are: getting the best taste and being efficient with my time. If a step isn't worth the time spent on it, I'm not going to do it. Browned butter is a good example of this. It tastes really good (this is where you melt butter in a pan and cook it until it browns.) But this step isn't worth it to me when I'm making thirty batches of cookies. Here's the lowdown on butter for cookies:
Cold & Frozen Butter: The theory behind adding cold butter to your cookie dough is that the butter will hold up better in the oven and keep your cookies from going flat. . . But have you ever tried to stir frozen butter? Do you see the problem here?
Cubed Butter: Mixing cold butter is hard (no pun intended haha.) So, some recipes tell you to freeze the butter, cut it up into cubes, AND THEN try to mix it. Man, those chefs are problem solvers aren't they. . . Well, congrats. Now you have spotted cookie dough from all the medium sized chunks of butter that won't mix with the sugar.
Grated Butter: Yes, this is a thing. Yes, with a cheese grater. Okay, so those problem solving chefs went a step further. Forget cubed butter. You must shred your butter. . . Some recipes recommend freezing your butter and then taking a literal cheese grater to it. Um, I don't know about you, but I buy shredded cheese for a reason: so I don't have to shred it myself. I feel the same way about my butter.
If you are insistent on using cold butter (which isn't necessary, I promise) shredding your butter is the best way to go, but you are still going to have little shavings of butter that don't fully mix into your dough (unless you mix it long enough to bring the butter back to room temperature. Talk about pointless.)
Melted Butter: On the other end of the butter spectrum, we have the chefs who prefer butter puddles. If I had to pick a side between rock hard butter or butter puddles, I would have to say puddles are a little better because it will mix into your sugars very well, which is what we want. But, here's the thing: Adding melted butter can potentially scramble the eggs in your dough. If you heat your butter too hot, which is easy to do in a microwave, and it comes in contact with your eggs in the mixing bowl, it's not pretty. If I'm being honest, the main reason I don't melt my butter is because I have to wash the bowl I used to melt it. Remember when I talked about skipping steps that aren't worth it?
Softened Butter (Room Temp): This is my favorite way to add butter into my cookie dough! It mixes really well and there is no extra effort other than pulling your butter out of the fridge ahead of time. If I forget to take it out of the fridge before hand, I just pop the sticks (in their wrapping paper) into the microwave for 10-second bursts until they are soft. (make sure to flip your butter over to different sides as you heat it otherwise the sticks will turn to a puddle on one side.)
Browned Butter: If you have the time and energy, I recommend trying this one. Browning the butter in a pan before you add it to your dough adds a big depth of flavor, but as I mentioned above, it's a little tedious and can potentially scramble your eggs if you're not careful.
All Crisco: Shortening is great. It takes the oven heat better than butter does, but it doesn