Novices and experts alike have faced down a sheet of cookies with burnt bottoms, wondering whether to:
And, we picked up a side tip from professional chef Gemma Stafford: This works on burned biscuits and scones too (duh to us!). Read the rest of her suggestions at BiggerBolderBaking.com.
Cookies burn because they get too much heat from the bottom heating element in the oven. This is why a middle rack is always the best option.
There are a number of ways to protect the cookie bottoms.
1. Use a convection oven. If you have the option, the convection fan distributes the heat more evenly.
2. Use an oven thermometer. If your cookies often burn on the bottom, check the heat with an oven thermometer. It will tell you if your oven is calibrated properly. If not, adjust the baking temperature accordingly.
If you still have the oven manual, check for instructions on how to recalibrate.
3. Bake the cookies on the middle rack. The temperature is highest there, but the bottom of the pan is away from the bottom heating element.
When you need to bake two sheets at the same time, you can’t avoid the bottom rack. But pay special attention to those cookies, which will bake faster than the upper rack. You may need to remove them earlier.
4. Use a heavy, light-colored (silvery) aluminum cookie sheet, ideally with no rim. Dark cookie sheets promote browning; sheets with rims block the air circulation to the tops of the cookies, so the tops cook more slowly while the bottoms cook at a normal pace.
If it’s time to replace or add to your cookie sheets, consider an insulated cookie sheet. It’s built with a layer of air between the top and bottom, giving your cookies protection from the oven’s lower heating element. Farberware, Nordicware and other brands make them.
5. Use parchment paper. Lining the pan with parchment paper provides more insulation (and for delicate items like meringues and macarons, it helps with uniform baking).
6. Use a silicone liner. This is especially important if your cookie sheet is thin (another reason to pay a bit more for professional-quality bakeware). Otherwise, try this trick: Stack another thin cookie sheet under the sheet with the cookies, to provide more protection from the oven’s heating element.
While The Cookies Bake
7. Set the timer for the lower end of the baking range. Check the cookies when it rings. If your cookies still need some baking time, stand watch over them and check them in another few minutes.
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