If you know me, you know I love my cookies and I’ll tell you now that there’s nothing I hate more than over baked cookies. And when I found nearly burned bottoms -not my bottom, no sunbathing in my open back yard - yet again, I was irritated. Ok, pissed off is more like it. So I started looking at what was happening.
I had this issue frequently with my not very good oven in my old house, but it doesn’t happen all that often in my new house with my new ovens. In fact, it was a joy for me when I ran my first batch in the new ovens because the bottoms were even and nice unlike the regularly over baked bottoms I’ve been getting for all these years.
Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have said that part about getting over baked bottoms so much? Especially if I want you to think I’m a perfect, masterful, and exceptional baker. Oh, well, I guess it’s too late for that- we’ll just have to learn together.
One thing did stick out like a sore thumb. The cookies that were too dark on the bottom were baked on my favorite and very special Calaphon Cookie sheet. It was a product sold at Target Stores a few years ago and they’re a great size, thick, and don’t stick. For me, they were a luxury purchase. Go figure.
Now I have a stack of inexpensive ½ sheet trays from a local restaurant supply store (open to the public). They were on sale for (literally) $ 3.60 each and I needed a bunch so they fit the bill perfectly. They are aluminum and totally uncoated. The cookies do not over brown on the bottoms when baked on these sheets.
Now back to the over browned ('K, burned) bottoms. Wanting to know what the heck is going on with this, I did an 8th Grade science project. I know it’s 8th grade because after I did it, when I was on line trying to find out if other people get the same results, I found instructions on how to do the same thing with 6th to 8th graders. And I thought I was so smart to do this experiment!
My big experiment: Test 3 different cookie sheets with the same dough, same size, same oven, same heat and same time, and find out if my favorite sheets really are the bottom burners!
- ½ sheet pan (18” X 13”) made by Thunder Group and purchased at a restaurant supply store. Aluminum with no coating. (Get it here )
- ½ sheet pan made by Calaphon, sold at Target Stores and with a non-stick coating.
- 10” X 13” Cookie sheet by Good Cook, purchased at my local Raley’s store, and with a non-stick coating. It was also thinner than the other 2.
For the test, I used Snickerdoodle dough baked without the cinnamon, so the cookie color wouldn’t be masked by the dark cinnamon. Using a cookie scoop so the sizes would be consistent, I dropped 2 cookies onto each of the 3 different sheets. Then I baked them one sheet at a time in the same oven, at the same temperature, for the same length of time. Because I was doing this at elevation, the temperature was 415 F and the time was 8 min. (At sea level you’d use 400 F and 10 minutes for the same cookie.)
The results were clear. The uncoated cookie sheet baked more evenly and the bottoms did not brown too much. In fact, the cookie even spread out better on that sheet. I theorize that is because the bottoms stayed soft longer allowing the cookie to spread better. Not sure though, maybe I should test that, too. Or look at the grade school science experiments to find out.
But take a look at the results. Don't you agree that the uncoated sheet makes a much nicer cookie?
In the photo above, the sheet on the bottom is the Good Cook from a grocery store, Calaphon from Target is in the middle, and the top photo is the food service half sheet, uncoated.
Not only did the cookies over brown on the coated sheets, but the parchment paper itself browned more on those sheets. It was the same parchment on the uncoated sheet where it stayed nearly white.
So I’ll wrap it up with this conclusion: Throw away those grocery store cookie sheets! Use only non-coated aluminum sheets to get the best cook with no over browning on the bottoms.
Now here’s some additional information:
Articles with related information:
Thekitchn: Favorite cookie sheet is rimmed ½ sheet from restaurant supply store
Our Every Day Life: Article on how to select cookie sheets and how to adjust for using darker ones.
To get my favorite Cookie sheet:
Buy it at Amazon- Thunder Group ALSP1813 Made in China – the lightest one I used . Right now, $ 10.56 plus free shipping (not prime, by seller The First Ingredient Kitchen Supply Corp)
Happy baking to all of you,