A Microplane Is The Key To Save Burnt Cookies From Being Wasted

There's a small window of time that marks the fine line between perfectly baked cookies and cookies that are burnt to a crisp. Unfortunately, many of us have experienced the infuriating and saddening results of crossing that line. However, not all hope is lost. If you find yourself with a burnt batch, a microplane can rescue your burnt cookies from a trip to the trash.

A microplane or the finest grate of a box grater are the ideal instruments to rid your cookies of their burnt bits. Once the burnt cookies come out of the oven and are cool enough to handle, rub their bottoms or tops across the microplane to gradually scrape off the black parts. The small grate gives you better control over how much of the cookie you remove and thus more precision for leaving the undamaged part intact.

This hack will work on partially burnt, hard, thick cookies or cookie bars like blondies or oat squares. Soft or thin cookies will break apart against a microplane or box grater. While the microplane will easily strip cookies of their burnt bits, an overstay in the oven could mean that the rest of the cookie is dried out. Consequently, you may need to further modify them to add moisture. Clever ideas include serving cookies with milk or coffee for dunking, frosting your cookies with creamy icing, or using the cookies to sandwich a scoop of ice cream.

Tricks to avoid burnt cookies and how to repurpose them altogether

Even though you can salvage burnt cookies with a microplane, avoiding burnt cookies altogether is the goal. An important step to prevent cookies from burning is refrigerating the dough. After forming the dough into cookie-sized balls and placing them on baking sheets, refrigerating them will solidify the butterfat, which will prevent them from flattening while they bake. Flat, thin cookies are at a higher risk of burning.

Another way to prevent cookies from burning is to use parchment paper and place the cookies in the middle rack of the oven. Since cookies can go from perfectly cooked to burnt in a minute or two, it's helpful to be overly vigilant. Set a timer for five to ten-minute increments during the baking time, using your oven light to check your cookies' progress.

If your cookies can't be salvaged by frosting or a good milk dunking, you can repurpose them altogether. Throw them in a plastic ziplock bag and beat them with a rolling pin to create cookie crumbs. You can use the cookie crumbs to create a no-bake crust for cheesecakes and pies, sprinkle them over ice cream or yogurt, layer them into a custard trifle, or mix them with nuts and butter to create a topping for a fruit crumble.