This is where we list a few simple but important biscuit making essentials:

1.       Use good quality ingredients

It is so important to make your cookies with good quality ingredients. Cookies really taste like their ingredients; use real vanilla extract, fresh flour, fresh baking powder, and fresh, large, room temperature eggs, and butter instead of margarine.

2.       Measure your recipe accurately ???????????????

The ratio of fat-flour-sugar-eggs has to be just right! Measure accurately, be careful of using measuring cups – if you do – do not pack the flour. When measuring flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it with a knife, do not tap it with a spoon/ on the countertop to level it – your cookies will become too dry; even 1 extra Tbs. of flour can make all the difference in a mixture. Measure your butter by weight, do not rely on the wrapper to indicate where you should cut the butter. Follow the recipe carefully, don’t interchangeably use castor sugar and white sugar. When using castor sugar in place of white sugar, you may accidently be adding too much sugar (since castor is finer and fits more into the same cup measure as white sugar).

3.       Cream your butter & sugar

If it’s not a shortbread recipe, cream your butter and sugar together well (approx. 5 minutes). This helps the sugar to aerate the butter, creating lighter, evenly baked biscuits. Add your vanilla at this stage, the flavour will be more incorporated into the batter.

4.       Chill the dough

Chilling your dough is a must, especially if you intend to roll it out (if the recipe doesn’t specify, store for approx. 1 hour in fridge/ 20 min in the freezer). It hardens and becomes less sticky and easier to work with. When using margarine, rather freeze the dough than refrigerate it, since it is softer than butter. While letting the dough rest, the flavours have also being given time to ‘mash’ together and develop. Chilled dough will hold its structure better when baking, and result in biscuits that do not spread as much.

5.       Choose the texture you love!???????????????

Keep an eye on your cookies, don’t wander off and let the timer tell you when they are done. If you prefer your cookies golden brown, crisp or if you prefer them chewy, you will have to wait and watch until they reach the stage that you prefer. Cookies burn quickly, and may actually be ready before they become golden brown. Thick/moist cookies are “done” when pressing lightly leaves an imprint; while thin and crispy cookies are “done” when they’re firm and golden brown around the edges. Leave cookies on the baking sheet after removing from the oven to create crispier cookies, or remove them from the sheet to cool early to create chewier cookies.

Extra Tips:

  • Use brown sugar, to create more chewy cookies; or use white sugar to create crisper cookies that will spread more when being baked.
  • Dip your cookie cutters in flour before use. Flour your hands, rolling pin and work surface before working with the dough to prevent sticking.
  • Put coarse sea salt on top of chocolate chip cookies to intensify the flavour
  • Use unsalted butter – salt content of butters can vary, it’s trickier to judge how much salt is being added. Rather use unsalted and add the salt yourself.
  • Use additions – such as chocolate chips, nuts, cherries, dried fruit and sprinkles that are bake stable and will not burn/ caramelise in your cookie.
  • Use non-stick baking sheets/ baking paper to create evenly baked biscuits, as well as cutting down on the cleaning time; or grease cookie sheets lightly before use.
  • Leave at least 5cm of space between cookies so they don’t spread into each other
  • Light-coloured and insulated aluminium cookie sheets (used by professionals) are used to prevent burning on the base of the biscuit.
  • Rotate the cookie sheet halfway through baking to ensure even heating.
  • Make sure to store you cooled cookies in an airtight container; otherwise the cookies will turn soggy.