If your household is like mine, you go through a lot of cookies, especially if they’re home-baked. But it can take a long time to shape and bake a few dozen cookies. So here’s a couple of tips to speed things up.
1. Make squares instead. Most cookie recipes can easily be converted, and you save all the time you would otherwise spend forming them. And since you’re only filling one pan, the baking goes faster, too. A recipe for four dozen cookies can be pressed into a 12 x 17 inch (30 x 45 cm) pan. Three dozen will fit in your standard 9 x 13. You may have to experiment a little to figure out the baking time (which might be longer), but it does save time in the end.
2. I’ve always found shaping one-inch balls out of cookie dough tedious. Yes, you can be working on the second batch while the first is in the oven, but it feels inefficient using a spoon to take out some dough, roughly rounding it, adding more or less dough to make it the right size, then rounding it again. I know there are cookie scoops designed to make this go faster, but my experience has been that the bale always gets stuck and I spend more time trying to get the dough out of the scoop than it would have taken to use the spoon and fingers method. But there is a better way! Once the dough has come together, divide it into equal portions—four if the recipe makes four dozen, six if it makes six, you get the idea. Assuming you want to end up with one-inch round balls of dough, roll each portion into a one-inch circumference snake. Cut into one-inch chunks with a sharp knife and then round each chunk. I expect the cookies will still come out even if you don’t round the chunks—I’ll have to try that next time I’m in a hurry.
3. Have you ever made refrigerator cookies, only to find that when you try to slice the round roll of cookie dough, it promptly loses its shape? Reshaping the roll after each slice is time-consuming, and the cookies still don’t come out round. If you stick the roll in the freezer for an hour, instead of the refrigerator, it will slice much better and thinner, without losing its shape.
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