Especially when trying out a new cookie recipe, my grandmother would follow the recipe exactly, and preheat the oven to the specified temperature. Then she would bake a test cookie or two, setting the timer for the specified number of minutes.
And then she would see how the cookie came out. Was it underdone? Overdone? Too brown? Not brown enough? Did the dough spread too much or not flatten out enough? She would then make adjustments to the baking time temperature and sometimes, even to the dough, adding a bit more flour or liquid if needed. I think she probably learned to do this as a result of baking in unpredictable wood stove ovens.
I should have done this a couple of weeks ago when I made Whipped Shortbread.
|Photo from Taste of Home|
Today I made a second batch and the cookies turned out perfectly. As I measured, I tried to think what could have gone wrong. There are only a few ingredients in these cookies -- butter, confectioners sugar, flour, and cornstarch -- so there isn't a lot to remember. But as I think about it, I believe what may have happened is that I cut the amount of flour and butter in half, but left either the cornstarch or confectioners sugar measurement (or both!😕) the same. I could have avoided wrecking an entire batch of these by just baking a test cookie and paying attention to the results. At the time, I noticed the dough seemed soft, but thought it just needed to chill awhile. That turned out not to be the case!
My Gram has been gone for 25 years. But her cookie-baking advice is still golden!