How to make cookies in the oven
During Advent, the ovens run hot: cookies and stollen are the classics of Christmas baking. It’s time to dispel the myths surrounding the oven. We have 5 tips for baking – so your Christmas cookies will succeed.
At Christmas, there’s nothing like homemade cookies, stollen and, spritz cookies. When the oven is running hot in the kitchen and the smell of freshly baked cookies wafts through the rooms – that’s when many people really get into the Christmas spirit.
It’s true that speculoos, marzipan potatoes and gingerbread have been available in supermarkets since September. But Advent without baking it yourself? Unimaginable for many families. For us, too! That’s why we’re dispelling the myths surrounding the oven and have put together some useful baking tips for you.
1. It doesn’t work without preheating – or does it?
When it comes to the question “preheating – yes or no”, bakers are divided. Some swear by it, others do it without. In the end, it’s a matter of taste and opinion.
Ovens usually have several programs: Top and bottom heat, convection, grill and hot air. Most recipes state that you should preheat. With convection, however, this is not necessary!
Even with top and bottom heat, it is not always mandatory, but recommended depending on the dough. When baking cookies, for example with short crust pastry, it is not absolutely necessary. The first tray then simply remains a little longer in the oven. The trick is then to re-estimate the baking time. For experienced and attentive cookie bakers, however, this is no problem.
The important thing is that the oven heats evenly at top and bottom heat. And that you take the trays out before preheating! If the cookies are placed on an already hot tray, they will “melt” or become too hard at the end – due to the high temperature difference.
It is advisable to always bake with several trays: This way the trays can cool down a bit in between and the dough does not have to be placed on the hot trays. Baking with only one tray and then always waiting for it to cool down costs a lot of time and energy! By the way, use an electric cookie press to get your cookies all in the right shape!
2. Where to put the cookie tray?
Down, in the middle, or up? To which level is it best to put the tray with the Christmas cookies in the oven? With top and bottom heat, it should be the middle level – then the heat from above and below browns evenly, because the distance to the ceiling and the floor is about the same. With convection it doesn’t matter.
3. Put more than one cookie tray in the oven?
Yes, you can, but only with convection! With top and bottom heat, you can only bake with one tray – and that should be in the middle of the oven. Then the heat comes evenly from above and below and the cookies are optimally baked and browned.
With circulation you can easily put several trays in the oven. The hot air is optimally distributed and it is everywhere in the oven equally hot.
4. Top and bottom heat or circulating air – which is better?
Here, too, bakers’ minds are divided! Some swear by top and bottom heat, others like to use circulating air. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. With convection, the temperature in the oven is the same everywhere – so you can put several trays in, but you should definitely set the temperature 20 degrees lower. This saves time and energy during baking.
Circulating air = fan distributes hot air evenly in the oven
Top and bottom heat = heating spirals in the floor and ceiling of the oven provide the temperature
With convection, however, the baked food often becomes drier due to the hot air, but this is usually not a problem with cookies. This is not usually a problem with cookies, but it is with cakes and other delicate foods – in which case it is better to use top and bottom heat.
5. Does convection shorten the cookie baking time?
Definitely yes. With convection, the baking time is reduced. With cookies, it can go very fast anyway! Therefore, for master and amateur bakers: Always keep a close eye on the oven! Because every oven heats differently. Older models may not heat evenly or may take longer to reach the desired temperature. So you should know your oven well. If the cookies do not brown evenly, you can turn the tray over in between.