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    May 31, 2018

    Here's The Secret To Making Bakery-Style Cookies At Home

    AKA why bakery cookies taste so much better than yours.

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    Everybody loves a good chocolate chip cookie, but not all cookies are created equal.

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    So we talked to Kyle Bartone, pastry sous chef at Eataly in New York City, to see how bakeries make their chocolate chip cookies taste so darn good.

    Here are 12 of his pro tips you can use the next time you bake cookies:

    1. Don't skimp on the salt...

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    "Just like anything else you're cooking or baking, cookies need salt," says Bartone. Salt balances the sweetness, and it helps bring out the flavor of the chocolate. Without it, your cookies could end up tasting flat and bland. Always include salt in your cookie batter, and if your recipe doesn't call for any, add it yourself.

    2. And feel free to add some flaky salt on top for texture, flavor, and a ~cheffy~ touch.

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    "Sometimes I like to finish my cookies with a pinch of flaky sea salt," says Bartone. "The extra salt on top adds a nice crunchy texture as well as a pop of flavor." But be careful, regular kosher salt may be too intense — and you may be tempted to use too much of it. Instead, use a flaky sea salt such as Maldon that has large crystals.

    3. Make sure to start with room temperature butter...

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    "The whole point of using room temperature butter is so air can be incorporated into it," says Bartone. "If you use butter that's cold, the sugar won't be able to mix with the butter and it won't be able to trap the air." This means your cookies could end up dense instead of light.

    4. And cream it with the sugar for a long time.

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    "Most people cream butter and sugar together just until it looks fluffy, but that's not long enough," says Bartone. "Most cookies need at least three minutes of creaming to fully incorporate air, so be patient and let it do its thing."

    5. Use chopped chocolate, not chocolate chips.

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    "Chocolate chips aren't really designed to melt all that well," explains Bartone. "Sometimes they have ingredients that help them keep their shape during melting, and that's not really a good thing. I want little pockets of melted chocolate, not clumps." Instead, use chopped chocolate bars in your cookies. The pieces will be irregular and fully melt.

    6. If you like them chewy, use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour...

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    "Some pastry chefs use bread flour to make their cookies chewier," explains Kyle. "This is because bread flour has more gluten, thus giving the cookies more chew." Try experimenting with a ratio of all-purpose to bread until you find one that's perfect for you.

    Get a recipe for chewy chocolate chip cookies here.

    7. Or if you like them cakey, increase your leavener...

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    "Leaveners such as baking soda and baking powder help cookies rise by creating little pockets of air that expand while baking," explains Bartone. "If you like cakey cookies that are very fluffy and light, try playing around with the amount of leavener in your recipe." But remember: baking soda and powder are not the same thing, so you can't replace one for the other. Learn more about them here.

    8. Try using a combination of both white and brown sugar to give them a crispy and chewy texture.

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    "Without getting into the details, for most cookie recipes, brown sugar gives cookies a bit of chew while white sugar makes them crisper," says Bartone. This is why you often see recipes using a combination of both. For chocolate chip cookies, using a combination of them both will give you that crispy outside and chewy center that people love.

    9. Let your dough "ripen" in the fridge to give it a better flavor and allow the flour to fully absorb the moisture.

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    "Make your cookie dough and let it hang out in the fridge overnight," says Bartone. "Letting it age will actually give it a better flavor and dry it out a tad." The inventor of the chocolate chip cookie actually swore by resting her dough before baking it.

    10. Don't grease the cookie sheet.

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    "Most cookie recipes have more than enough fat to prevent them from sticking to a pan," explains Bartone. "In the bakeshop we always bake cookies on either parchment or silicon baking mats — never greased sheets." Greasing a cookie sheet might make them spread too much and make them pool butter — definitely not a good thing.

    11. Use a cookie scoop to portion the dough into perfectly sized balls.

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    "In the bakeshop, we use a #20 (1/4 cup) scoop to make our cookies," says Bartone. "This is a pretty large scoop — a tad larger than most — but it makes cookies that are more substantial and indulgent." This keeps the cookies completely consistent and makes sure one isn't overcooked while the other is still raw.

    12. Add a few bits of chocolate on top of the unbaked dough to make them look picture perfect.

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    "After you scoop out your dough, feel free to strategically place a few pieces of chocolate on top," says Bartone. "This will give it that loaded-with-chocolate look that bakery cookies often have."

    13. Err on the side of under-baking them.

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    "After you take your cookies out of the oven, they will continue to bake," says Bartone. "Both the heat of the sheet pan and the heat of the cookies themselves will continue cooking them — so it's important to pull them out before they're completely done cooking." Bartone suggests pulling the cookies out of the oven about two minutes before the recipes calls for. This will keep them nice and chewy and prevent them from drying out.

    14. Completely cool your sheet pan before baking another batch.

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    "If you're making several batches of cookies but only have one pan, make sure you let it cool completely before baking another batch," explains Bartone. "Otherwise the cookies could start spreading and melting too quickly, and you'll end up with flat, crisp cookies — or even worse: you could end up with cookies that start pooling butter." Instead, let your sheet cool completely before attempting to bake on it again. This will give you added insurance that they will turn out.

    Let's get baking!

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