When baking cookies, it’s important to chill — literally. Taking the time to chill your cookie dough is the critical step that results in perfectly gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside cookies. But if that’s not enough to convince you, here are more reasons why you definitely shouldn’t skip that fridge time.
Good to Know: If a cookie will benefit from a trip to the fridge, your recipe will usually note how long. But in general, drop cookies, rolled cookies and molded cookies need to be chilled.
1. Less Spread
Some spread is natural when baking cookies, especially if you’re making drop cookies, like these whole wheat chocolate chip ones. But you don’t want your cookies to spread too much because they can stick together and become much thinner than you’d like.
Chilling cookie dough reduces this spread by cooling down the fat. The fats, like butter, become firm when chilled, which in turn makes your dough more solid. Because of this, the spread will be minimized as the fat heats up during baking.
2. Better Flavor
As the cookie dough chills, the sugar in the dough absorbs moisture from the liquid ingredients, and the carbohydrates in the flour begin to break down into sugar. This combo of chemical reactions makes a more condensed flavor and a more mellow, pronounced sweetness.
3. Nice Color
You know that golden brown color all cookie-lovers crave? Again, it’s all due to the carbohydrates in your flour breaking down into sugar. When this happens, the plethora of sugar in your dough results in a more even, beautiful browning when baked.
4. Crispy Edges
Reducing excess moisture and cooling down the fat in your dough also helps improve the texture of your finished cookies. The concentration of all the ingredients, plus the limited spread, means you’re more likely to attain the highly coveted chewy inside, crispy outside texture that make cookies so crave-worthy.
5. More Prep Time
If you let your dough chill for, say, two hours, that’s not time wasted! You can simultaneously perfect your mise en place and get your ducks in a row before moving on with the recipe. Line your cookie sheet, get your cooling rack ready and get a head start on cleaning dishes you dirtied when mixing the dough.