Cookie Decorating Simplified

Dough Prep: Baking

Finally it is time to fill your home with the magical smell of baking cookies! Here are a few important tips:

1. Bake on shiny, heavy baking sheets. Dark or thin pans will burn your cookies faster than anything. You've worked so hard on your beautiful dough! Don't let dark, thin sheets ruin it!

2. Always place cut dough on cool baking sheets. Placing the dough on a warm or hot pan will cause excessive spreading. A really easy way to accomplish this is to use 3 baking sheets. By the time you've used the 3rd sheet, the first one will be cool enough. If you don't have 3 sheets, an easy way to cool one down is to remove cookies, pick up the empty pan with a pot holder and wave it back and forth like you're fanning Cleopatra! You'll look a little funny, but your pan will cool off fast! (Please don't forget to take the cookies off first!!)

3. I strongly recommend using either parchment paper or silicone liner to bake on. Both products promote even baking and help prevent spreading. Parchment paper is less expensive and can be reused a few times. Silicone is more of an investment up front, but will last a very long time and you won't have to bother with parchment. I bought my silicone sheet pan liners in 2001 and they are still going strong!

4. While your cookies are in the oven, keep an eye on them. They are done when they are a very light golden brown on the edges and look dry on top. If you use a conventional oven like I do, chances are you have uneven heat. It helps to rotate your pan half-way through baking for even heating.