Cookies, Informational Articles

Your Cookie Baking Questions Answered! (Ask Gemma)

In this comprehensive Cookie Baking Q&A post, I have your questions answered. Ask me anything that's missing in the comments and I'll answer!
Underneath the "COOKIE QUESTIONS ANSWERED", are giant, flavor-packed chocolate chip and walnut Levain cookies in the background. Professional chef and Baer Gemma is holding a chocolate chip cookie with pools of chocolate and beautifully crinkled top.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

Hi Bold Bakers!

After years of gathering up so much information, we created some documents that will help you make ice cream, cookies, cakes, cheesecakes, pastry (pie crust), and more!

In this comprehensive Q&A post, I have your Cookie Baking questions answered. Ask me anything that’s missing in the comments and I’ll answer!

Underneath the "COOKIE QUESTIONS ANSWERED", are giant, flavor-packed chocolate chip and walnut Levain cookies in the background. Professional chef and Baer Gemma is holding a chocolate chip cookie with pools of chocolate and beautifully crinkled top.

Q: Should I use weight measurements or cup measurements?

A: I do both and never have an issue. Either works but weight measurements are more accurate. Just make sure to always level your cups. As long as you consistently use my Weight Conversion Chart for Baking Ingredients your recipe will work out great.

Q: Can you use self-rising flour when making chocolate chip cookies?

A: You can use self-rising flour in a 1:1 ratio with AP flour, BUT because of the added raising agent, they will turn out cakey and not chewy. Also in the U.S. salted is added to SF flour which might make your cookies too salty.

Q: Can you use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour (AP flour) or plain flour?

A: You can use whole wheat flour but that will result in a denser cookie with a slightly bitter aftertaste. I recommend using up to ½ whole wheat flour and ½ AP flour.

Absolutely Adorable Homemade Animal Crackers Recipe

Homemade Animal Crackers are baked perfectly golden brown, cooling on the parchment paper in a baking tray.

Q: Can you use cake flour instead of AP flour?

A: I do not recommend using cake flour for cookie baking. Cake flour has protein around 7-8% lower than 9-11% in all-purpose flour which means cake flour absorbs less liquid and will create fewer gluten strands to yield a fluffier and softer signature CAKE instead of a cookie texture.

Q: Can you use gluten-free flour to make cookies?

A: Yes, you can usually use gluten-free flour to make cookies if a recipe calls for AP flour. I would recommend using a gluten-free AP flour 1:1 blend since it is designed to act the closest to AP wheat flour. Check out my Guide to Best Gluten-Free Flours Guide to Best Gluten-Free Flours for detailed pro tips and a recipe for gluten-free AP flour.

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

A pile of gluten free sugar cookies, perfectly baked and ready to eat.

Q: Should you use brown butter in cookies?

A: Brown butter adds a deeper, nuttier flavor to cookies that I love, such as Butter Pecan Cookies and Best-Ever Oatmeal Cookies. But regular butter works too.

Q: How do you make brown butter for cookie baking?

A: Heat butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat until it turns a nice amber color. Keep an eye on it and it will turn brown fast. Make sure not to let it burn.

Festive Danish Butter Cookies

Festive Danish Butter Cookies are stored in cupcake liners in a red and white Christmas-themed metal tin. Danish cookies are baked until lightly golden with slight crisp on the outside.

Q: Should you use salted or unsalted butter in cookie baking?

A: Either works well. A lot of bakers prefer unsalted butter since it gives you better control of the salt in your recipes but I have always preferred salted butter. Make your own butter using my How to Make Homemade Butter Recipe.

Honestly, unless the recipe you’re using calls for a great deal of butter, the difference is negligible so feel free to use whatever you like! Check out my article of Salted or Unsalted Butter For Baking for more details.

Q: If I use salted butter, should I use less salt in the recipe?

A: Unless the recipe calls for a large amount of butter, you can still use the same amount of salt. This is my personal suggestion. If you want less salt for dietary reasons then feel free to lessen it.

Q: Should I use extra virgin olive oil or light-tasting olive oil in your “Internet’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe” ?

A: I would suggest something on the lighter side, however, I have used EVOO and have gotten an amazing nutty flavor.  I will leave this up to you.

Q: Can you use milk chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate?

A: Yes, you can use any kind of chocolate you like but bittersweet is my favorite. I will urge you to use the chocolate I suggest in the recipe to get the same results I did. I promise you will not be disappointed.

I give kids my dark chocolate cookies all the time and they devour them.

Q: Can I use chocolate chips instead of cutting up a bar of chocolate in cookie baking?

A: You can use chocolate chips but I much prefer cutting up a bar of chocolate.

Chocolate chips can contain stabilizers that prevent the chips from melting as well and tend to be lower quality than chocolate bars. Try it in my Gemma’s Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Gemma’s Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

close shot at 3 big perfectly baked chocolate chip cookies laid out on the parchment-line baking tray, golden brown throughout with crispy chewy edges and a rich gooey soft center.

Q: Can I freeze cookie dough?

A: Absolutely! It freezes perfectly. I do this all the time. It can be scooped and frozen for at least 4 months.

Q: Do you have to chill the dough in the refrigerator if you plan on freezing it?

A: No, you can skip that step if you’re freezing it.

Q: My cookies didn’t flatten. What did I do wrong?

A: Your dough might have been on the dry side. Flour in different places behaves in different ways, depending on how, where, when, and the type of wheat grain being milled. They absorb liquid differently. You may need more or less.

You might have over-handled the dough which strengthened the gluten to prevent them from spreading. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature and mix until just combined.

The butter may have needed to be softened more. The softer the butter, the more the cookies will spread. I don’t recommend using melted butter though since the cookies may spread too much.

Oreo Crumbl Cookies Copycat Recipe

A close shot of crinkle chocolate cookies loaded with crushed Oreos and decorated with milky-color cream cheese frosting and topped with crunchy Oreos.

Q: Does the oven have to be preheated for cookie baking?

A: Yes, almost all recipes require the oven to be preheated. If the oven isn’t preheated, the cookies may not be baked properly, which can lead to foodborne illness or imperfect results.

Q: Can you use any cookie dough to make a big cookie cake?

A: Yes, you can! See my recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake.

Q: There are so many sugar cookie recipes on your website. How do I know which one is best for me?

A: The sugar cookies on my website mainly differ due to the texture.

Q: How do I prevent my cookies from burning on the bottom?

A: Cookies continue baking for approximately 20 minutes after they leave the oven so even if they don’t look quite done after the cooking time has passed, you can still take them out of the oven.

Also, if you’re using dark cookware, you can lower the oven temperature by 25°F.

Bake your cookies until:  the edges are set and the cookies begin to turn darker or golden brown throughout, but still doughie and a bit pale in the middle. They may appear raw but will set more while cooling down.

Q: Can you save cookies that are burnt on the bottom?

A: If your cookies are burnt on the bottom, use a grater or a microplane to grate the burnt bottom layer off.

Cheddar Pecan Savory Shortbread Cookies Recipe

How to enjoy Cheddar Pecan Savory Shortbread Cookies with wine and honey

Q: My cookies spread too much. What did I do wrong?

A:

  • Flours don’t absorb liquid equally. Use up to 3/4 in one go and adjust it accordingly to reach the same consistency as the recipe.
  • In recipes requiring softened butter, make sure your butter is not too soft or over-whipped so the fat won’t get separated leading to a flat greasy result.  “creaming” means mixing butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • DO NOT over-mix. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. Mix ingredients until JUST combined. Over-mixing will separate fat from butter or oil causing the cookie spread out during baking.
  • Chilling cookie dough enhances flavors and stabilizes dough to prevent cookies from spreading out.
  • Preheat your oven, the moment you put your cookies in, they start to rise. Imagine melting chocolate on the stovetop on low heat, you wouldn’t want the low heat to cause your cool cookie dough to melt slowly.

Q: What is “aging” a cookie dough?

A: I always recommend ‘aging’ your cookie doughs. It improves on flavor, texture and look of your cookie. Simply make your dough and chill it in the fridge (or freezer) for a day or even up to a few weeks. During the ‘aging’ process your dough becomes more concentrated and the flavor improves. Also aging often yields you a lovely cookie with crackle and crinkles on the top.

See the amazing results in Levain Bakery-Style Cookies and Best-Ever Peanut Butter Cookies !

Q: My cookies came out dry. What did I do wrong?

A: Flour behaves in different ways depending on the type of wheat grain you use and how it was being milled. As a result, various types of flour absorb liquid differently.

Hold back some liquid by using up to ¾ cup in one go and adjust it accordingly.

The Softest & Chewiest Snickerdoodle Cookies

A stack of Soft Chewy Snickerdoodle cookies are served with a cup of coffee.

Q: Can you replace cream of tartar in cookie recipes that call for it?

A: Unfortunately, cream of tartar is irreplaceable for the chewy texture of certain cookies such as Snickerdoodles Cookies and there is no substitute.

Q: What do I need to do if I want to bake multiple trays of cookies at a time?

A: When baking multiple trays at once you will need to bake with the fan on (convection). When you do this you will need to reduce the temperature by 25°F (some ovens do this automatically). Note that your bake time maybe be a little longer on this setting.

Q: How do you store cookies?

A: Most cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days or in the freezer for 4 months. Refrigerating them is not recommended since they’ll actually get stale faster.

Homemade Walker’s Scottish Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Crumbly Scottish shortbread cookies are served on a Christmas plate, decorated with holly berries, on a platter alongside two mugs and a silver decorative teapot.

Cookie Recipes You’ll Love:

More of Your Questions are Answered Here:

Watch The Recipe Video!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

8 Comments
most useful
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sangeetha
Sangeetha
5 months ago

Hello gemma ma’am
What should the cookie texture be like? There are many versions where some cookies are dome shaped and soft whereas some are flatter with a snap or crunch (like a biscuit). Which is considered as an authentic or proper cookie?

Last edited 5 months ago by SANGEETHA RAVI
Elizabeth Felton
Elizabeth Felton
7 months ago

When baking chocolate chip cookies can you use sweet cream butter?

Angela
Angela
8 months ago

I just laughed when you tossed the milk chocolate! I agree. Dark only.

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook