How to solve common cookie conundrums
December 13th, 2013
08:00 AM ET
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Sending out a holiday cookie SOS? Here are five lifesavers.

This chocolate chip cookie has no chips!
The last few cookies from a batch of chocolate chip cookies never seem to have as many chips as the first few; the same thing often happens with nuts and raisins. How to keep your cookies from suffering from ill-distributed mix-ins? Reserve some of the chips, nuts or other goodies and mix them into the dough after about half of it has been scooped out for cookies. This way, the last of the cookies will have as much good stuff as the first batch.

So many cookies, so few baking sheets!
The challenge of baking batch after batch of cookies with only one baking sheet seems like the start of a bad sitcom. However, it’s possible to go into marathon mode with rapid-fire multiple batches with one sheet without breaking a sweat. First, load up a sheet of parchment paper with balls of cookie dough. Slide the paper onto the baking sheet and put it all in the oven. While the first batch is baking, load up a second piece of parchment paper with balls of dough. When the baked cookies come out of the oven, whisk the parchment and its cargo onto a cooling rack. After cooling the baking sheet with a quick rinse and dry, slide on the next prepared batch.

By George, this cookie is burnt!
When baking lots of cookies, it’s inevitable that some of the cookies will end up overbrowned or even burnt in some spots. Save their tiny, sweet existences by gently grating the burnt layer off the bottoms with a Microplane grater. Please note that you can’t play miracle worker and resuscitate the dead - this tip works well with lightly singed cookies, not thoroughly burnt ones.

I'm drying frosted cookies everywhere!
Everyone loves a cute little batch of frosted holiday cookies, but before they can be wrapped up for gifting, the frosting has to dry thoroughly. It can be a real challenge to find enough space to spread out a few dozen cookies in a cramped kitchen, but it pays to think vertical. Coat the rim of a small paper cup with frosting and invert it on the middle of a paper plate. Arrange as many drying cookies around the cup as will fit comfortably on the plate. Dab the exposed rim of the cup bottom with frosting, and then make another plate in the same manner and stack it on top of the first. Repeat until you have a stack of four or five cookie-laden plates.

My cookies turned hard at the party!
We stand by the old method of reviving soft cookies that have begun to harden by placing a small piece of bread in the cookie jar with them, but here’s how to take this trick one step further. When storing cookies in a zipper-lock bag (for transportation to a holiday event, say), add a small piece of bread to each bag to make sure that the cookies will be soft and fresh the next day.

More from America's Test Kitchen:
Cheers! Explaining the Bubbles in Bubbly
Yes, Foolproof Holiday Cookies Exist
Make It Now: Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini and Feta
Ooh la la: French Butter Cookies
Which 9×13 Baking Pan is Worth Buying?

More about holiday cookies:
Kolachi nut rolls – a Slovak family legacy
Have a sweet holiday and save kitchen memories while you can
What's black and white and delicious all over?
A family's secret sugar cookie recipe
5@5 – Tips for gluten-free cookies
- See more homemade holiday gifts

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Ann

    Another common cookie problem ... (that sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?) ... If you're giving someone a container of different types of cookies, make sure you aren't mixing the wrong kinds together or they'll all taste the same. Example: spice cookies, gingerbread, peanut butter cookies ... if you don't wrap those separately, you'll ruin the others.

    December 16, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  2. liz

    She is mean and talks too much. She was under fire once yet acts likes perfection. Bring someone nicer on.

    December 15, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Who are you talking about?

      December 15, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
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