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Hello,

Firstly, let me say that Cookie Connection is one of my best finds on the internet so far. My mind is blown by how vast and deep the cookie world is and how knowledgeable so many members are! I have been spending my last 2 days and nights on this forum just reading and reading and trying to take it all in!

So, a big thank you to @Julia M. Usher for creating this for bakers! I am your big fan!

I am a novice home baker. My query is rather basic. I have been baking sugar cookies at home. My challenge is that if I bake my 1/8-inch thick cookies at 375 F for 10-11 minutes they are baked well however the base turns brown and if I bake them at lesser temperature (have tried 350 F), the base is still slightly brown but the cookie isn't baked and is raw at the center.  I use parchment paper for baking. Also, I add 1 tsp baking powder (not sure if that makes any difference at all to the cookies baking and the base turning brown).

I have bought and tried some sugar cookies from other home based cookiers and I feel their cookies weren't fully baked and also weren't brown in the base.

If any of you knowledgeable cookiers could let me know how to thoroughly bake a sugar cookie without browning the base,it would be a great help.

P.S: I am still exploring this site and trying to figure out how can I get my hands on the recipes posted on this site by Julia and others. Maybe those recipes will tell me how to bake cookies at what temperatures and duration?

 

 

Last edited by Julia M. Usher
Original Post

First welcome.  Let me first address baking powder.  Add your baking powder to the dough before you add flour.  My cookie teacher told me baking powder binds to flour and to add it to the dough, mix and then add flour.  I do the same with salt and spices in my cookies.  Now to your cookies.  I’m wondering If you are mixing up raw with just cooked.  I was taught that as soon as I see a little tan on one cookie to pull my cookies out.  I get rave reviews on my cookies.  If they truly are raw then get your oven checked.  If one part is raw and another burnt then it’s definitely the oven.  I do not bake my cookies as long as you because they would be burnt.  Good luck.

@Econlady posted:

First welcome.  Let me first address baking powder.  Add your baking powder to the dough before you add flour.  My cookie teacher told me baking powder binds to flour and to add it to the dough, mix and then add flour.  I do the same with salt and spices in my cookies.  Now to your cookies.  I’m wondering If you are mixing up raw with just cooked.  I was taught that as soon as I see a little tan on one cookie to pull my cookies out.  I get rave reviews on my cookies.  If they truly are raw then get your oven checked.  If one part is raw and another burnt then it’s definitely the oven.  I do not bake my cookies as long as you because they would be burnt.  Good luck.

@Econlady Thank you for the response. If I understand it correctly, you mean to say that I should add the baking powder to the butter+sugar+egg mixture before adding the flour, mix the butter+sugar+egg mixture with baking powder and then add flour, is that correct?

Currently what I do is I mix all the dry ingredients and then add the dry ingredients to the butter+sugar+egg mixture in the stand mixer

When I mean raw cookies, I mean to say that the center of the cookies still taste raw dough-y (not sure how to explain it) as opposed to baked cookies.

So, when you pull it out after you see a little tan, do you let them sit on the baking sheet for a while?

Would you mind telling me at what temperature do you bake cookies and for how long?

Thanks again

After I have mixed the eggs and just before I add the flour i add the baking powder and mix just enough to combine.  I have a Bosch and they mix quickly.  cookies continue to bake on the cookie sheets and I let my cookies cool at least 5 minutes before I move them.  My vanilla sugar cookies are at 350 for about 10 minutes, give or take depending on size.  I use Julia ushers gingerbread recipe lately (which I love and is now my go to recipe) and it bakes at 375 for about 8 minutes.  Did you know that when you can smell your cookies through the oven you are within one minute of cookies being done?  Mine are not brown on the bottom, maybe a very light tan.

@Econlady posted:

After I have mixed the eggs and just before I add the flour i add the baking powder and mix just enough to combine.  I have a Bosch and they mix quickly.  cookies continue to bake on the cookie sheets and I let my cookies cool at least 5 minutes before I move them.  My vanilla sugar cookies are at 350 for about 10 minutes, give or take depending on size.  I use Julia ushers gingerbread recipe lately (which I love and is now my go to recipe) and it bakes at 375 for about 8 minutes.  Did you know that when you can smell your cookies through the oven you are within one minute of cookies being done?  Mine are not brown on the bottom, maybe a very light tan.

Thanks a bunch! This helps. I will implement this.

And, yes, I want to look for Julia's gingerbread recipe and try that too

Thanks a bunch! This helps. I will implement this.

And, yes, I want to look for Julia's gingerbread recipe and try that too

Julia’s recipe is for constructing 3D cookies, but I love it for everything and it’s delicious. A woman at a cookie cutter club meeting said always use Grandmas molasses when baking gingerbread.  She specialized in gingerbread houses and she gave a reason that I don’t remember.  It’s been 10 years and I still only use grandmas molasses and the cookies are delicious!

First, thanks for the kind words about the site. I am so glad you're enjoying it!

A number of things could be going on . . . First, I imagine you're baking a bit too long given you are rolling your cookies somewhat on the thin side. Try rolling them a bit thicker (maybe 3/16 inch if you like thin cookies like I do), and also baking on a silicone mat. I find that mats (vs. parchment paper) distribute heat more evenly. Also, it could be your oven or the positioning of your trays in the oven. Be sure your often is actually calibrated to the temperature at which it is set - put another thermometer in it to check, if unsure. Don't place trays too close to the bottom (where the heat source often is); bake in the middle for better heat circulation and more distance from bottom-oven heat sources. Lastly, I am not sure how much brown you like, but I like some . . . browning caramelizes the sugars in cookies and adds flavor. I find that all-blonde cookies with no browning are often pasty and less tasty. So experiment with browning 'til you're sure you have what YOU like. 

My recipes on my personal site (www.juliausher.com) and in my books always provide suggested rolling thicknesses, oven temperatures, and baking times, but remember that no two ovens are exactly alike, so cookies should always be watched while baking. Look for visual cues of doneness; don't rely solely on a magical baking time.

Hope this helps a bit.

P.S. @Econlady - Thanks so much for the kind words about my gingerbread!

Last edited by Julia M. Usher
@Econlady posted:

Julia’s recipe is for constructing 3D cookies, but I love it for everything and it’s delicious. A woman at a cookie cutter club meeting said always use Grandmas molasses when baking gingerbread.  She specialized in gingerbread houses and she gave a reason that I don’t remember.  It’s been 10 years and I still only use grandmas molasses and the cookies are delicious!

Thanks again. If I am not wrong I saw the link to Grandma's molasses in Julia's gingerbread recipe. I am not sure if I will have easy access to it here in Canada. However, I definitely look for it.

First, thanks for the kind words about the site. I am so glad you're enjoying it!

A number of things could be going on . . . First, I imagine you're baking a bit too long given you are rolling your cookies somewhat on the thin side. Try rolling them a bit thicker (maybe 3/16 inch if you like thin cookies like I do), and also baking on a silicone mat. I find that mats (vs. parchment paper) distribute heat more evenly. Also, it could be your oven or the positioning of your trays in the oven. Be sure your often is actually calibrated to the temperature at which it is set - put another thermometer in it to check, if unsure. Don't place trays too close to the bottom (where the heat source often is); bake in the middle for better heat circulation and more distance from bottom-oven heat sources. Lastly, I am not sure how much brown you like, but I like some . . . browning caramelizes the sugars in cookies and adds flavor. I find that all-blonde cookies with no browning are often pasty and less tasty. So experiment with browning 'til you're sure you have what YOU like. 

My recipes on my personal site (www.juliausher.com) and in my books always provide suggested rolling thicknesses, oven temperatures, and baking times, but remember that no two ovens are exactly alike, so cookies should always be watched while baking. Look for visual cues of doneness; don't rely solely on a magical baking time.

Hope this helps a bit.

P.S. @Econlady - Thanks so much for the kind words about my gingerbread!

@Julia M. Usher Thank you! I think I agree with what you say about the cookie with non browning being pasty and I do not like that taste. 

I have tried other cakes and cupcakes in the same oven and they too are burning at the bottom, so I am thinking this might be something to do with the placement of my trays.  I will also implement your idea of using another thermometer to check the oven temperature. I saw you using Silicone mats in your videos and will make sure to use them going forward when I bake.

Thanks again!

@Julia M. Usher Thank you! I think I agree with what you say about the cookie with non browning being pasty and I do not like that taste. 

I have tried other cakes and cupcakes in the same oven and they too are burning at the bottom, so I am thinking this might be something to do with the placement of my trays.  I will also implement your idea of using another thermometer to check the oven temperature. I saw you using Silicone mats in your videos and will make sure to use them going forward when I bake.

Thanks again!

Please consider having the oven checked.  It could be a simple fix.

Thanks again. If I am not wrong I saw the link to Grandma's molasses in Julia's gingerbread recipe. I am not sure if I will have easy access to it here in Canada. However, I definitely look for it.

You can use any mild molasses in my recipe.

@Econlady @Julia M. Usher @Icingsugarkeks Thank you for your inputs with this issue.

Just wanted to update you all that I implemented your recommendations, that is:

Baked my 1/4" sugar cookies at 350F(instead of 375F earlier) for 9-10 mins. Used Silicone mat while baking instead of parchment paper. I eliminated baking powder altogether (wanted to see the difference it makes in consistency and taste) Added salt before adding flour. Kept an eye and noticed the fragrance of cookies to get an idea if the cookies have baked. Placed the tray in the middle rack and also in centre of the oven. Took the cookies out when the cookies showed slight tinge at the corners.

Happy with the results, the sides are slightly caramelised but the base is definitely not burnt or brown.

Completing this loop of messages, so if anyone else looks for this topic on the forum they will also know what worked for me.

Thanks again

P.S.: Just bought Julia's Ultimate Cookies online version. Can't wait to explore it!

When I played with my baking powder and halved what it called for in the recipe.  It didn’t affect the recipe.  I don’t like eliminating baking powder because it has purpose.  A book I read said most recipes have too much baking powder or baking soda.  

Thanks for sending us an update.

Last edited by Econlady

@Econlady @Julia M. Usher @Icingsugarkeks Thank you for your inputs with this issue.

Just wanted to update you all that I implemented your recommendations, that is:

Baked my 1/4" sugar cookies at 350F(instead of 375F earlier) for 9-10 mins. Used Silicone mat while baking instead of parchment paper. I eliminated baking powder altogether (wanted to see the difference it makes in consistency and taste) Added salt before adding flour. Kept an eye and noticed the fragrance of cookies to get an idea if the cookies have baked. Placed the tray in the middle rack and also in centre of the oven. Took the cookies out when the cookies showed slight tinge at the corners.

Happy with the results, the sides are slightly caramelised but the base is definitely not burnt or brown.

Completing this loop of messages, so if anyone else looks for this topic on the forum they will also know what worked for me.

Thanks again

P.S.: Just bought Julia's Ultimate Cookies online version. Can't wait to explore it!

Glad to hear of the success, and thanks for buying my ebook! Have fun with it!

@Econlady posted:

When I played with my baking powder and halved what it called for in the recipe.  It didn’t affect the recipe.  I don’t like eliminating baking powder because it has purpose.  A book I read said most recipes have too much baking powder or baking soda.  

Thanks for sending us an update.

@Econlady Yes, you have a point. In my next experiment I will try using half the baking powder quantity and check too.

@Econlady @Julia M. Usher @Icingsugarkeks Thank you for your inputs with this issue.

Just wanted to update you all that I implemented your recommendations, that is:

Baked my 1/4" sugar cookies at 350F(instead of 375F earlier) for 9-10 mins. Used Silicone mat while baking instead of parchment paper. I eliminated baking powder altogether (wanted to see the difference it makes in consistency and taste) Added salt before adding flour. Kept an eye and noticed the fragrance of cookies to get an idea if the cookies have baked. Placed the tray in the middle rack and also in centre of the oven. Took the cookies out when the cookies showed slight tinge at the corners.

Happy with the results, the sides are slightly caramelised but the base is definitely not burnt or brown.

Completing this loop of messages, so if anyone else looks for this topic on the forum they will also know what worked for me.

Thanks again

P.S.: Just bought Julia's Ultimate Cookies online version. Can't wait to explore it!

That's good to hear. I hope you continue to enjoy experimenting ... @Anupama Joshi

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