Why Your Cookie Edges May Be Burning

There's nothing quite as inviting as the smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through the house. Sure, you can grab a bag of store-bought ones from the supermarket, or, even better, get an Insomnia Cookies cookie delivery, but you're missing the full-house fragrance that comes when sugar is heated in cookie dough. Its breakdown forms new organic compounds that give off a heavenly scent (via TED-Ed).

Which is why it's a buzzkill to pull a cookie sheet out of the oven and see the cookie edges burned to a crisp.

According to Cook's Illustrated, if you've used butter in the batter, the heat in your kitchen could be the problem. A warm kitchen causes the butter to melt, which, in turn, softens the dough. That makes it spread at the edges. This thin area cooks faster than the middle, which is why it burns. Dropping the dough on a hot cookie sheet has the same effect.

Another culprit — one that leads to burned bottoms — is using a dark cookie sheet. Like wearing all black at the beach, dark bakeware absorbs heat, says cookware company Circulon. This means that the bottoms of the cookies will bake faster, burning them before the middle can cook through.

Ways to avoid burnt cookie edges

To keep your cookies from burning around the edges and going out with the trash, a few simple baking tweaks may be needed. To keep the edges from crisping, try chilling the dough in the fridge (Cook's Illustrated recommends 10–15 minutes) before scooping it onto a baking sheet. This will keep the butter from melting and making the dough too soft before going into the oven.

Use a room temperature cookie sheet. If you have to reuse the same one over and over, make sure it's cooled before dropping the raw dough. You can expedite this by running a warm cookie sheet under cold water. The key word is warm, not hot. Sudden changes in temperature, like from hot to cool, can warp a metal pan

Instead of running out and buying new bakeware, Cook's Illustrated's solution is to use parchment paper to keep a dark pan from soaking up the heat and burning your cookies edges and bottoms in the process. Taste of Home suggests a silicone baking mat. Both have the added bonus of keeping the cookies from sticking.

If your cookies do burn, you might not have to bin them. Pure Wow uses a kitchen grater to shave off burned bottoms, and Spoon University says a serrated knife also does the trick. They also suggest two delicious fixes: hiding the burned bits in melted chocolate or making a sandwich with ice cream to mask the charred taste.