Food & Recipes

Professional Bakers Share 7 Common Cookie-Making Mistakes

Take notes before baking your holiday cookies!

Approximately one billion cookies are left out for Santa as he makes his delivery rounds on Christmas Eve.

In other words, you’ve got some stiff competition if you’re trying to impress the jolly guy! Or, hey, maybe just you need some extra edge to win a cookie contest at work this year.

Either way, we’ve rounded up tips from professional bakers, including one who was crowned the Christmas cookie champ by Food Network after three rounds of cookie baking. (One round required crafting a 3-D cookie globe. Whoa.)

Here are some rookie cookie mistakes, and how to fix them!

christmas cookies photo
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

1. You’re Over-Creaming Your Butter And Sugar

Ever wonder why your sugar cookie went into the oven looking like a snowman, but came out as an unrecognizable blob?

When you over-cream your butter and sugar, it causes your sugar cookie cutouts to spread and lose their shape, explains Brittani Brooker, the 2016 Food Network Christmas Cookie Champion.

christmas cookies photo
Getty Images | Alex Wong

To remedy this, Brooker lends this expert tip: “Pop the cutouts into the freezer and allow to freeze fully before baking.”

Then, bake your sugar cookies at a higher temperature. Freezing the cookies will freeze the butter and keep your cookies from spreading once they’re in the oven. Here’s some inspiration from Brooker, who is on Instagram as lifeofapastrychef.

2. You’re Over-Working Your Dough

Cookies become too tough when the dough is over-worked or over-mixed, explains Danay Powers, a baker and the owner of a cupcake shop in Erie, Colorado.

“You want to mix your dough just until the ingredients you added are incorporated,” she tells us. Re-rolling might be inevitable, so it’s another reason why you don’t want to over-mix in the beginning.

Photo by Madison Grooms on Unsplash

3. You Ignore The “Room Temp” Instructions

If you want fluffy, soft cookies, you need to let your dairy ingredients reach warm temperatures. That’s because eggs, butter and milk form an emulsion that can trap air and that will expand in the oven.


“The test for this is when you push your finger into the butter, it has a little give,” Powers explains. “Not enough to push your finger through the butter; that would be too warm.

But just enough to indent the butter when you push on it.” Remember, patience is key! “Room temp for the eggs, butter and milk will make your cookies that much better.”

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash