You Don't Need Any Tools To Tell When Cookies Are Done Baking

There's nothing quite like the smell of fresh-baked cookies to unlock a sense of nostalgia and awaken your taste buds to the expectation of a sweet treat. But the smell of burnt cookies, or the taste of raw dough, will put a damper on the whole experience.

As most home bakers are probably well aware, there's an art to making cookies, and, like any art, it often requires using some special tools. From stand mixers to rolling pins, and cookie cutters to dough scoops, there are plenty of kitchen accouterments we can use to make the process of preparing and placing our cookie dough as easy as possible. 

Luckily, however, when it comes to ensuring a quality result with your cookies, tools aren't necessary. Rather than pulling some sort of utensil from your kitchen drawer, simply use your fingers and your eyes to gauge whether or not your cookies have finished cooking.

The best method doesn't require sacrificing a cookie

In order to tell when your batch of cookies is ready to come out of the oven, you'll first want to look at the coloring. Whether you're making sugar cookies, gingerbread, or chocolate chip, you'll want your cookies to appear lightly browned along the edges with an overall golden look. You should also consider whether they have a matte, dry finish; dough that isn't sufficiently cooked through still has a shiny appearance, so you want to make sure your cookies have lost that sheen.

If your cookies appear to be up to par so far, the next step is to lightly poke into one. Using your finger (which you've cleaned, of course), gently press down on a cookie in the pan. If your finger doesn't leave behind an imprint in the dough, it means your creations are firmly set and ready to go. While some folks recommend poking into a cookie with a fork or other sharp utensil to check if the center is baked through, that usually means sacrificing the integrity or appearance of one of your precious treats. Simply using your sense of sight and touch, however, won't damage your test cookie, and it'll help ensure your batch isn't under- or over-baked. 

Once you've taken your cookies out of the oven, you'll want to immediately remove them from the hot baking sheet, since the lingering heat can continue to cook the dough. Allow them to rest on your serving plate or cooling rack, and enjoy.