Cookie Sheets – What You Need to Know
Cookie Sheets 101
The first thing I’m going to say may shock and surprise some of us but it’s true. Did you know there are people in the world who only make cookies at Christmas? Can you imagine? They don’t bake cookies everyday like we do! No royal icing, no room temperature butter, no cookie cutters, and no watching the oven to see the dough turn into a beautifully baked cookie! I can’t imagine!
Since everyone isn’t as addicted to baking cookies as we are, I think we should help them out by sharing as much information as we can to help make their Christmas cookies as beautiful as their Christmas Tree.
Where do we start? I’m glad you asked.
Let’s talk cookie sheets, shall we?
I already have a lot of “Bearfoot Basics” but I think its time we talk about cookie sheets.
I know you’ve seen different kinds of cookies and baking sheets in the store but do you have different kinds in your cabinets? There are dark ones, light ones, flat ones and thin and shiny ones. But are they all good for baking cookies? Let’s take a closer look.
Cookie sheets are flat on three sides but have a lip on the top for easy gripping. The lip makes it easier to remove the sheet from the oven. They’re designed this way so you can pick up the cookie sheet and slide the cookies off without “messing up” their shapes.
Thin and Shiny Cookie Sheets:
I know you’ve seen them. The cookie sheets that are so shiny you need sunglasses to look at them. They’re so thin you don’t even know it’s in your hand because they’re so light they’re almost weightless. The question is, “Are they good for baking cookies?” I don’t think so because they reflect heat which will cause your cookies to bake unevenly and when the pans get hot, they warp. Nothing more frightening that a warping sound coming from your oven when your home alone.
Don’t throw them away just yet! They are great to use as decorating trays. You just place your undecorated cookies on them so you can move them around your kitchen. Its better than carrying one cookie at a time, and you’ll have less chance of messing up your wet royal icing. If you have some of these shiny guys, don’t throw them out. Just move them to the decorating supplies instead of baking supplies.
Dark Baking Sheets
Darker pans absorb extra heat which will cause things to brown faster. The bottom of your cookies will get dark before the cookie is actually done. If you have darker baking sheets, you may need to slightly lower your oven temperature so your cookies will bake evenly.
Insulated Cookie Sheets:
Insulated cookie sheets are designed to bake cookies evenly, but that causes a few problems for sugar cookies. The insulated sheets bake things a bit more slowly. Since they bake slower, your cookies can spread and lose their shapes. If you place a snowman cookie on an insulated cookie sheet, he may look as if you’ve melted him by the fire when you remove him from the oven.
I personally don’t use this type of cookie sheet, but if you have one, you need to lower the oven temperature and make a few test batches to see what will give you a nice baked cookie that holds its shape.
Heavy-Gauge, Dull Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Sheet
We have a winner boys and girls! If you’re looking for baking sheet that holds it’s shape when it gets hot (no warping here), bakes cookies evenly, prevents over browning, and is like a little cookie helper in your oven, you need these. Be sure to buy the half-sheets because the full-sheets won’t fit in a home oven.
They cost a little more than other baking sheets but it’s worth it. I found the Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Hals Sheets on Amazon for a little over $10 each. It’s so worth the extra few dollars for peace of mind knowing your cookies are going to bake evenly with no extra spreading or dark and crispy edges.
I hope that helps simplify the cookie sheet questions. Just remember don’t grease the baking sheet unless your recipe calls for it. A piece of parchment paper or a Silpat are great liners and will help prevent your cookies from sticking.
Enough chitchat. Go bake some cookies!