A few tips for any beginning baker...

When it comes down to it, baking really is a science. From precise measurements to high temperatures, there’s a lot that goes into creating the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies. If you’re new to the kitchen, long lists of ingredients and multi-step recipes can seem overwhelming. But rather than questioning your ability to make a Pinterest-worthy pie, just remember, mistakes are part of the process. After all, Toll House’s famous chocolate chip cookies were invented when Ruth Wakefield ran out of baker’s chocolate and tossed in semi-sweet chunks of a Nestle chocolate bar instead. Who knows what you could come up with? After several years of practice, and a few kitchen mishaps, we’ve picked up a few tricks that will make you a more confident baker.

Keep reading to see how you can step up your kitchen game…

1. Read the whole recipe
There’s nothing worse than reaching for the next ingredient in the recipe only to realize that you’ve run out. By reading the recipe thoroughly beforehand, you’ll know what you need to stock up on, as well as how to preheat your oven and prepare for any complicated steps ahead of time.

2. Room temperature is key
Getting into the habit of laying out your supplies mise en place (which is the French culinary phrase meaning “putting everything in place”) before baking will not only ensure that you have all the ingredients you need, but it will also give them a chance to reach room temperature. While certain recipes may call for cold water or chilled butter, it’s generally a good idea to allow ingredients to soften before mixing. That way, you’ll have smoother, creamier batter and better baked goods!

3. Make sure your butter is the right consistency
If a recipe calls for “softened butter,” it can be tempting to put the stick in the microwave, but this will only lead to greasy baked goods. Instead, fill a glass with water, and heat it in the microwave until hot to the touch. Carefully pour out the water and place the glass upside down over the stick of butter. The heat from the glass will soften to the butter without melting it.

4. Let the dough chill
Trust expert baker Lauren Lowstan’s advice and refrigerate your cookie dough balls for 24-48 hours before baking. Before popping the dough balls in the oven, be sure to bring them to room temperature by letting them sit for about 10-15 minutes. This will make sure they’re just crispy enough without becoming tough, and the wait will make them taste that much sweeter!

5. Keep a check on the time
We’ve all been there – sometimes in the process of finding that perfect golden brown shade, our cookies end up in the oven a little too long. To avoid this, bake for the minimum time required. If your cookies still look underdone, add one minute at a time. Once they’re done, remove the cookies from the sheet, or they might continue to bake and end up too tough. They will be fully done when you can lightly press on them with one finger and no imprint remains.

What are your favorite baking tips?

Let us know in the comments!

XO Kiera Koskiolek
Team LC intern

Photos: Yoni Goldberg for Lauren Conrad Celebrate