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Have you ever wondered how other people get their homemade cookies to look like they came from a bakery? It’s all in the right ingredients, techniques, and tools. Here’s everything you need to know to bake perfect cookies from scratch.

Using the correct ingredients in their proper ratios is crucial to good baking. For best results, follow the recipe and measure ingredients correctly.

Flour

Most cookie recipes call for all-purpose or pastry flour. If you use bread flour with its high gluten protein content, or cake flour, which is high in starch, you’ll end up with cookies that tend to spread less when you bake them. Recipes for shortbread cookies or other cookies with a crumbly texture usually have a higher flour-to-liquid ratio.


Get the inside scoop on different types of wheat flour and gluten-free flour, including coconut flour.


Leaveners

These are the ingredients that make baked goods puff up. In cookie recipes, the two most common leaveners are baking soda and baking powder.

  • Baking soda is simply bicarbonate of soda. It neutralizes the acidity of the dough, allowing the cookies to brown in the oven.
  • Baking powder is a combination of bicarbonate of soda plus cream of tartar, an acidic ingredient. Since baking powder already contains its own acid, it will not reduce the acidity in the dough, and the resulting cookies will be puffier and lighter in color.