Why It Pays To Bake Cookies One Batch At A Time

When it comes to baking cookies, it's tempting to want to fit as many as possible into the oven at once. After all, the more cookies you bake, the longer they'll last. But while it's a good idea to make a big dough portion so you end up with more cookies, you mustn't put too many in the oven at once. In other words, stick to just one tray of cookies at a time.

Cooking one batch at a time is important because the cookies will come out the best if the heat of the oven focuses on just one tray. Similarly, the tray should be placed on the middle rack (where the heat is most evenly circulated) so the cookies bake evenly. If absolutely necessary, there is a trick to baking two sheets at once: Switching the position of the trays halfway through the baking time. However, if you have the time, it's in your cookies' best interest to bake one tray at a time; the oven will already be ready to go for a second tray, so it won't take much extra effort.

Other tips to keep in mind to bake the best cookies

Just like you don't want to overcrowd your oven with too many batches of cookies, you also don't want to overcrowd the tray with too many cookie dough portions. Remember, cookies will expand as they bake, so if you put too many cookie portions on the tray, they will end up melding together. If you're following a recipe, don't skip over the part where it says how far apart the cookie dough portions should be on the tray. For example, Tasting Table's recipe for brown butter chocolate chip cookies calls for the cookie dough balls to be placed 2 inches apart on the tray. Similarly, do not skip the step of letting the dough chill in the fridge before baking — this prevents the cookies from spreading too thin.

Something else to be mindful of is the color of your baking sheet. Dark-colored baking sheets pick up more heat in the oven, which can lead to the undersides of the cookie baking faster than the rest of it, undermining your efforts to get evenly baked cookies. If you only have dark-colored pans, there are two solutions: Either lower the temperature by about 25 degrees Fahrenheit or line the sheet with parchment paper.