Despairing over burnt bottoms? Are you putting in the hard yards only to discover that your Christmas cookies come out too soft, too flat or too dry?
Here's what you're doing wrong - and how to fix it, so you get perfect cookies, every single time.
1. You’re using margarine
According to food experts, butter is preferable because the flavour it better. Also, many margarines have a high amount of water in them, resulting in flat cookies.
2. You’re using chilled butter
It’s important to allow your butter to reach room temperature before cooking. Put it out on the bench for 30 to 60 minutes. Be careful that it doesn't melt in high humidity. If it does, through it out, don't re-chill it.
3. You’re using melted butter
Resist the temptation to speed up the baking process by melting the butter. As explained above, it needs to be allowed to naturally reduce to room temperature. Melted butter results in flat cookies.
4. You’re packing in too much flour
Avoid tapping your flour to get a flat level in the measuring cup, as you'll end up with too much flour and dry cookies. Instead, gently stir your flour in the packet to loosen it up, before spooning it carefully into your measuring cup. Level it off with a knife instead of packing it in.
5. You're using old flour
For the best flavour, use a fresh bag of flour.
6. You’re using dark non-stick baking pans
Opt for light coloured, shiny baking sheets made from heavy-gauge aluminium. Dark non-stick baking pans can result in brown bottoms and thicker, softer cookies.
7. You’re not following the rules
If the recipe calls for the dough to be chilled before rolling out, follow the instructions. Chilling makes the dough easier to roll out.
8. You’re not using royal icing
This is the best option for a perfectly smooth consistency.
9. You’re storing your cookies warm
Make sure your cookies are perfectly cooled before storing them.
10. You’re not using an air-tight container
Choose a container with a tight-fitting lid to keep your cookies fresh and crispy.
11. You’re trying to squeeze too many cookies on the baking tray
Cookies need room to spread naturally.
12. You’re overbaking your cookies
The Smithsonian recommends you take your cookies out a minute or two earlier than the recipe says.