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  • Writer's pictureHonest Cooks

3 Levels of Baking Cookies: What Level Will You Attempt Today?

Baking cookies is a favorite winter activity. The entire house smells like Christmas and kids love to decorate them with sprinkles, frosting, or candies. But baking cookies can be intimidating for those who have never done it before.

What level of difficulty should you try?

Will your cookie dough bake correctly and result in delicious gooey cookies?

We're going to answer these questions and give some great tips on how to bake perfect cookies!

So, which level of difficulty are you going to pick today?

 

Easy Level

This is the simplest way to bake a batch of cookies and make it a fun activity for yourself and the kids. Use store bought cookie dough and some colored icing and lots of sprinkles. Bake the cookies as per packet instructions and then spend the rest of the evening with friends, family, or kids decorating them in fun colors. You can also use interesting cookie cutters to make different themed shapes.


Here is one perfect for Christmas baking.






Advantages: These are very easy to make since there is no waiting for dough to chill. Your options are unlimited since there are so many cookie dough options available. You spend most of the time in decorating and eating these: which can be fun for all ages!


Disadvantages: The flavor isn't complex, so it's not ideal for times when you want a specific taste. Lastly, these are on the flat side, and it is very easy to over-bake these.


Tips: If you are making these cookies and want to keep it a secret, slightly mis-shape the dough when you place it on the baking tray to bake the cookies. This will give it a more rustic and homely look when they are cooked.


Best for: Fun activities for friends, families, and kids. Also good for baking in bulk.

 



Medium Level

The next level of baking cookies is the Medium Level. This method requires a little more time and effort but results in a cookie that has a crispy outside and a soft chewy interior, with melting chocolate chips. This method will yield better tasting cookies than the Easy Level since you will be making the cookies yourself. This method requires Butter, cane & brown sugars, eggs, flour, raising agents, and chocolate chips.


We recommend the Medium Level to both beginners and pros since it incorporates the rich texture of Hard Level but it remains relatively simpler and less time-consuming to bake.

In fact, we made a video showing you exactly how to bake such cookies.



Advantages: This method creates a cookie that's crisp on the outside and soft in the center, so it has two textures. The flavor profile is much more nuanced than store bought cookies, obviously. These cookies are sure to get you praise from anyone that eats them! Our video shows a very simple method that can be your go-to for home baked cookies.


Disadvantages: This method is more time-consuming than the Easy Level since the cookie dough needs precise measurements and then also needs to chill in the fridge. You will need a weighing scale and measuring cups and spoons.


Tips: Make sure the oven is at the correct temperature before you put your cookies in. This means, allow enough time for the oven to pre-heat.

You can make this dough in bulk and freeze it! Then, when you want to bake some, just pop it on a sheet tray and bake for fresh cookies every time!


Best for: Holiday Baking for parties, these are sure to impress. You can also bake these to include in gift hampers and party favors.

 

Hard Level

The final level of baking cookies is The Hard Way. This is the most difficult and time-consuming method, but it results in a cookie that has a deep flavor and a chewy texture. This method takes about an hour to complete and requires a lot of waiting for the dough to rise. So, you're feeling ambitious and want to bake a batch of cookies that will knock the socks off your friends and family. Well, then The Hard Way is the method for you!


To bake your cookies the Hard Way and take the cookie up several notches, do these changes to the Medium Level Cookie Recipe:


BUTTER:

  • Use Irish Unsalted Butter and Brown the butter on medium heat for 6-8 minutes.

  • Cool the butter on the counter-top and when it is room temperature, then use it to whip up the sugar with the butter.

FLOUR:

  • Use 2 types of Flours: use a half and half mix of AP and Bread Flour. To further elevate the taste, toast the AP flour in a pre-heated oven at 350F for ~15mins. Then, cool the flour before using it.

  • Sift both the flours into your bowl before using them.


CHOCOLATE CHIPS:

  • Use better chocolate. I usually use Valrhona discs.

  • I also like to chop my chocolate chunks unevenly. This way, some parts melt fully and some hold shape, adding a much better texture and taste to your cookies.

VANILLA EXTRACT AND NUTS:

  • Use Pure and Organic Vanilla Extract: it can be expensive but it will make a world of difference in the taste.

  • Add Macadamia nuts: these go really well in chocolate chip cookies and will add to the taste and texture. To add these to your dough, use half the amount as the chocolate and mix in when you mix in the chocolate chips.

ADD MOISTURE WITH EGGS:

  • Add creaminess and moisture to your cookies by using 1 egg and an extra egg yolk. So, instead of just one egg, you will use 1 egg + 1 egg yolk. The process remains the same, you will pop the eggs in when you whip it with the butter and sugars.

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

  • Chill your dough for a minimum of 2 hours.

  • Right before you bake it, sprinkle Flaky Salt on the cookies. This is an optional step and you can skip it. But Do NOT skip the salt that goes in the dough. A tiny bit of salt helps unite all the other flavors.

  • Do NOT overbake. Bake for just 10 mins in a pre-heated oven at 350F.


Advantages: This method produces an amazingly flavorful and gooey cookies with a deep flavor profile. These cookies are not cake-y at all and are wonderful to add to your repertoire.


Disadvantages: The process is quite complex, so if you're just baking for fun this method can be difficult to get right. It also requires a lot of precision and care, especially when browning the butter and toasting the flour.


Tips: Give yourself time when you try this process for the first time. I recommend not multi-tasking. It is always a good habit to finish all your prep first and then start the cooking process. So, measure your ingredients, toast the flour, brown the butter, and chop the chocolate BEFORE you start making the dough.


Best for: Cookies that are indulgent and decadent. I promise you, if you get this right, people will pay you money to get the recipe out of you!

 


The 3 levels of baking cookies outlined in the blog post are perfect for different situations. If you're looking to bake something quickly then Easy Level may be best. The Medium Method is great for recipes that require more time but not too many steps- like our Chocolate Chip Cookies video! And finally, if you want a cookie with lots of flavor and textures that stands out from the crowd, try Hard Level to bake cookies! Whether it's an easy dessert for kids or a complex pastry deserving of admiration, there's a level on this list to suit every baker. Happy Cookie Baking! 🙂

Thanks for reading! You can PIN this image to come back to it later! :)

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