Tips for Making Soft, Moist Cookies

Soft Moist Cookies Tips

Who doesn't love soft, chewy cookies? Nobody, that's who. That's why gift baskets with cookies are perfect as birthday presents, anniversary gifts, or, if you're handy with a piping bag, personalized gifts. But if you've attempted to bake moist cookies only to end up with too much crunch, you might be wondering what's going on in your oven. Here are nine tips to make sure that every cookie--from peanut butter cookies to pumpkin cookies--stays soft and tender.

More brown sugar, less white sugar

Cookies that are made with granulated white sugar tend to get crispy because this sugar doesn't interact with baking soda to produce carbon dioxide which makes cookies cakier. If you're aiming for a chewier texture, try substituting more light brown sugar, molasses, honey, or other alternative sweetener for the refined white sugar.

Butter needs to be the right temperature

Using cold butter or shortening will help your cookies retain their shape, while melted butter will result in flatter cookies. If the recipe calls for soft butter, get it to room temperature. If you start to see fat pooling, it's too warm. And If you're having trouble creaming rock-solid butter with the sugar, try using a cheese grater to make butter flakes which are more manageable for mixing.

Pay attention to the flour

When you're cooking dinner, you can usually substitute ingredients without changing the end results too drastically. When baking, however, you need to be precise. If your cookie recipe calls for all-purpose flour, then use all-purpose flour. It's also important that your flour is fresh and that you don't pack it too tightly in the measuring cup when you measure it out. To keep it loose, spoon flour into the cup (instead of scooping with the cup itself), then use the back of a knife to level it.

Don't overmix

When combining the wet and dry ingredients, there's a tendency to overmix. This extra elbow grease activates more gluten, and those elastic strands make the cookies tougher. Stop mixing when you stop seeing streaks of dry flour.

Chill the dough

Warm dough spreads quickly in the oven, resulting in thin cookies that crisp up. Cold dough, on the other hand, maintains its density and results in cookies that don't flatten out as much as they bake, keeping their insides moist. Make sure you set the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight prior to baking.

Choose the right baking sheet

Flat, light-colored baking sheets yield softer cookies. Line the sheet with a piece of parchment paper or non-stick silicon mat so the bottoms of the cookies don't get burned.

Pay attention to the time

One of the biggest culprits behind crunchy cookies is overcooking. Check that your oven temperature is accurate using an oven thermometer (available at any home goods store). Bake the cookies for only 8-10 minutes, or until they're just getting golden around the edges but still look soft on top. Take them out and let them rest on the baking sheet--they'll continue to bake even after you remove them from the oven. After a few minutes, transfer them to a wire rack so they can cool.

Don't store cookies before they're room temperature

If you try to box up your cookies before they've had a chance to cool, they're going to steam the container and get soggy--the bad kind of soft.

Add a slice of bread

Store cookies in an airtight container to keep them fresh. One trick to lock in moisture is to drop a slice of bread in with the cookies. The cookies will steal moisture from the bread, making for a soft batch of cookies (and a stale slice of bread).

Whether you're looking for delicious chocolate chip cookies or fun decorated sugar cookies, Cookies By Design has something for everyone!