TASTE
04/11/2014 09:18 am ET | Updated Apr 11, 2014

12 Ways To Make Your Chocolate Chip Cookies Even Better

Rosemary Calvert via Getty Images

There's something magical about putting a batch of cookies in the oven and watching them bake into perfect, chewy chocolate chip cookies. No matter how many times we make cookies, this transformation never loses its charm. The sad thing though is that sometimes our hard work in the kitchen is rewarded not with great cookies, but with epic baking disappointment.

"Chocolate chip cookies are so easy to bake," you might be thinking, "what am I possibly doing wrong?" So many things, it turns out. So. Many. Things.

Yes, cookies are simple to make, but that doesn't mean that you can't mess them up every step of the way. If you forget the parchment paper you end up with cookies stuck to the baking sheet. If you step out of the oven a minute too long, you can come back to completely burnt cookies. Don't do these things.

  • 1 You estimate the ingredients.
    Flickr: Redpath Sugar
    Tisk, tisk, tisk. We're sure you've heard it before, but we're going to tell you again: baking is an absolute science. It's not like cooking, you can't just wing it. If you don't measure out your ingredients you can't expect perfect results.
  • 2 You underbeat the butter and sugar.
    Flickr: Redpath Sugar
    The backbone of a great cookie is the creaming process. You should cream butter and sugar together until you get a pale yellow color and a fluffy texture. This generally takes about three minutes. Don't hurry this step, you need the whole 180 seconds to beat tiny air bubbles into the mixture. It's what helps your cookies rise.
  • 3 Or you overbeat the butter and sugar.
    Flickr: Julia
    Don't do this. It will result in flat, dense cookies. All the air that you've beaten into the creamed butter you are beating right out -- this defeats the entire purpose.
  • 4 You were heavy handed with the sugar.
    Flickr: haley. s
    This will result in a crisp, hard cookie that likes to stick to cookie sheets. Having the right ratio of butter, sugar and flour is everything. Please try again.
  • 5 You overdid it with the butter.
    Flickr: Pattie
    If you have problems with your cookies spreading you either have too much butter in your cookie dough or you need to chill the dough before you bake the cookies. It's an easy fix, don't give up.
  • 6 You added the fixings AFTER mixing in the flour.
    Dave King via Getty Images
    There's a reason that every, single chocolate chip cookie recipe adds the flour into the cookie dough last: it's to prevent over-mixing and overworking the gluten. Add the chocolate chips, nuts and anything else you dream up just before mixing in the flour. Your cookies will thank you.
  • 7 You don't make them the same size.
    Flickr: esimpraim
    And so some come out burned while others are still undercooked. If you're not a good gauge of size, you might want to use a cookie scoop to remedy this problem.
  • 8 You forgot the salt -- or you left it out intentionally.
    Flickr: David Berkowitz
    Bad, bad idea people. Salt is where the flavor is, even in desserts.
  • 9 You weren't patient.
    Flickr: Carmen Zuniga
    We know you want to eat the cookies you baked RIGHT NOW. But if you just wait two minutes for them to cool, you'll be rewarded with even better cookies. When taken out of the oven, the cookies will still bake a little longer. Let them reach their full baked potential.
  • 10 Your cookies stuck to the cookie sheet.
    Flickr: Sarah R
    Because you didn't use a parchment paper or a silpat. Your bad.
  • 11 You ended up with one giant cookie.
    Flickr: Carla
    Cookies need their space to bake -- respect that. How can you expect your cookies to bake to their big, full beautiful potential if you don't give them space to grow? Also, make sure you have the right sugar, butter flour ratio to prevent spreading.
  • 12 You forgot that you were even baking cookies...
    Flickr: Natalie Mattison
    And so they burned, naturally. Once you put the cookies in the oven, check on them as soon as you've reached the minimum bake time. Buy a kitchen timer and use it!

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