With the launch of Sally’s Cookie Addiction, the holiday baking season upon us, and our general obsession with all things cookies— I figured it’s the best time to chat about what we’re using to MAKE cookies. The tools that help guarantee cookie success and put the best tasting cookies in our cookie jars– and hungry bellies.
Cookies are my favorite dessert to bake, so I’ve gone through my fair share of cookie baking tools to know exactly what works best– and, more importantly, why. Over the years, I’ve come to understand which cookie baking tools a baker truly needs and I’m super excited to chat with you about it today.
Before we get there, let’s review my top 5 cookie baking tips:
- Chill the cookie dough. If the cookie dough is particularly sticky, wet, or greasy– chilling is in its best interest. And yours! Chilling cookie dough helps prevent spreading. The colder the dough, the less the cookies are likely to over-spread into greasy puddles.
- Prevent excess spreading. See #2 in this post. As well as page 11 in Sally’s Cookie Addiction for 7 additional tips to prevent excess cookie spreading.
- Temperature is king. Unless you have a regularly calibrated oven, your oven’s temperature is probably inaccurate. Get an oven thermometer. They’re cheap and will save you a million headaches. Likewise, make sure your ingredients are the same temperature. Here’s why. Want to bring your butter to room temperature quickly? Here’s my trick.
- Ditch the specified baking time. I never look at recipe times when I bake cookies. I look at the cookies themselves. The cookies are done when the edges are set and lightly browned.
- One batch at a time. You get the best possible results when the oven only concentrates on that 1 batch. If you need to bake more than one batch at a time, rotate the baking sheets from the top rack to bottom rack a couple times through the baking process to encourage even browning.
Want more cookie tips?
- Here’s an entire blog post on the best practices for freezing cookie dough.
- And the BEST WAY to ship cookies!! (Seriously, it works!)
Ok let’s do this!
10 Favorite Cookie Baking Tools
1) Quality Cookie Sheets
First and foremost, a set of good quality cookie sheets are a MUST. Did you know the color and material of your cookie sheets greatly impacts the way your cookies turn out? Dark metal sheets typically over-bake cookies and thin flimsy cookie sheets = burnt bottoms. In the past few years, I’ve tested many brands and my favorite is easily USA Pan half sheet baking pan. They’re a wonderful size for baking a dozen cookies, have an edge so they can be used for other recipes like pouring out toffee, caramel corn, and sheet cakes. I suggest owning a few of them. I have 6!
*Remember, hot sheets are a no-no. Never place cookie dough on a hot baking sheet. It’s best to own a few extra cookie sheets so you always have a room temperature sheet on hand.
2) Silicone Baking Mats
Baking mats are my favorite cookie-baking tool. Coating your baking sheet with nonstick spray or butter creates an overly greasy foundation, causing the cookies to spread. I always recommend a silicone baking mat (11×16 inch size to fit your USA Pan cookie sheets) because they grip onto the bottom of your cookies, preventing the cookies from spreading too much. These mats also promote even browning. They’re reusable, dishwasher friendly, and perfect for roasting veggies, meats, fish, potatoes, etc. I have 6– one for each of my cookie sheets.
3) Cookie Scoops
These are not just for perfectly shaped cookies. I have one in each size. I use the large size for cupcake/muffin and pancake batter, ice cream, meatballs, and the prettiest mashed potato scoops. I use the medium size for cookies– particularly textured oatmeal cookies and sticky coconut macaroons. And I use the small size for truffles, tiny cookies, and as a melon baller. Cookie scoops are extremely handy. And you can’t beat OXO in my opinion.
4) Cooling Racks
I always allow my baked cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets once I remove them from the oven. However, I immediately transfer them to a cooling rack after that. Why? The bottoms of the cookies need some air in order to cool so that we avoid soggy bottoms. (–> there’s 2 words I never thought I’d put together on my blog.) I own a few of these cooling racks. They’re super inexpensive, get the job done, and have lasted me years.
5) Stand Mixer
An obvious must if you bake cookies on the regular. You can certainly get away with a hand mixer instead (here’s the hand mixer I own and love), but a stand mixer is obviously super convenient– and versatile too! When I’m working with an enormous amount of dough/batter or making something that requires several minutes of mixing (old-fashioned fudge, marshmallows, bread dough etc) a stand mixer is key – I have two of these stand mixers. They’re the perfect size for a baker’s kitchen.
6) Quality Measuring Cups
It’s slightly embarrassing how many sets of measuring cups I own!! But I have two favorites. I love this set because of the soft easy-grip handles and stainless steel (great quality). I also love this set for the same reasons and the fact that there’s a 1/8 cup measuring cup. Which is rare in sets. 1/8 cup = 2 Tablespoons, a measurement used quite often. Very convenient! For more accurate measuring, definitely pick up a food scale. This OXO brand is my favorite. A gram is always a gram. An ounce is always an ounce. A cup is NOT always a cup and therefore weighing is the most accurate way to measure.
7) Rolling Pin
A must-have for shaped cookies. Rolling pins vary in price, but mine is inexpensive and has lasted years through my constant use. I highly recommend it.
8) Sturdy Cookie Cutters
You may love all the whimsically adorable shapes and sizes, but make sure you’re buying quality cookie cutters. By that I mean cookie cutters that are strong, sturdy, and have sharp edges to give you a clean cut. My must-haves include a set of round cutters (used most recently here, here, and here) as well as mostly anything from Ann Clark’s collection. Wilton brand is fantastic as well. Love these Mickey Mouse shapes and I also love this set of cookie cutters for not only cookie baking, but for pie crust shapes/designs as well.
Making cookies with a cookie press? Here is my preferred cookie press. The shapes are all so pretty, it’s super simple to use, and a breeze to clean.
9) Rubber Spatulas
Nothing beats spatulas, especially if they are well-made and heavy duty. I own plenty, but my favorite and most-used are these spatulas. From stirring and mixing, to scraping the sides of bowls, spreading frosting, cooking, etc. I use them for everything, everyday. And you obviously need some with cute sayings, too.
10) Cookie Carrier
Traveling with your cookies? I’m sure you are! Whether your batch is for a party, bake sale, friends, family, or toting along to work– you need a case that will safely transport your cookies. I love this cupcake carrier. I use it for cookies (and cupcakes, of course). When I use it for cookies, I remove the tray and simply pile the cookies inside. I like this cupcake and cookie carrier a little better though– the cookies don’t fall out when you remove the lid because there are sides to the carrier.
Now let’s bake some cookies!
Q: What are your favorite cookie baking tools?
Further reading for cookie baking: