Soften the Butter
If your recipe calls for softened butter, make sure it’s actually room temperature — but don’t soften it too much.
Use Light-Colored Pans
Speaking of pans, your baking pans should be light-colored rather than dark. Cookies baked on dark pans will tend to burn on the bottom. Dark sheets absorb more heat than light ones, enough that it will actually make a material difference in the outcome of the cookies. Keep that in mind when it’s time to spring for a new baking pan.
Don’t Rotate Your Pans
Some bakers believe there are hotspots in an oven and rotating your pans during baking will help mitigate them. The relatively minor benefit of rotating your pans is completely nullified by the fact you’ve just let all the heat out of the oven by opening the door. Instead of eliminating hotspots, you’ve eliminated all the heat, period. Considering cookies only bake for 10 to 12 minutes, opening the oven midway through baking leaves no time for that heat to build back up again. The results are cookies that don’t brown enough on top and might not rise properly.
Chill the Cookie Dough
If there’s one thing you learn from this post, it’s this: chill your cookie dough if a recipe calls for it. Chilling cookie dough in the refrigerator firms it up, which decreases the possibility of over-spreading. It not only ensures a thicker, more solid cookie but an enhanced flavor as well. In these soft chocolate chip cookies, for example, it helps develop a heightened buttery, caramel-y flavor. Cold cookie dough is also easier to handle and shape. After chilling, let your cookie dough sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes (or more, depending how long the dough has chilled) before rolling into balls and baking. Sometimes after refrigeration, cookie dough can be too hard to roll/handle.
Measure the Flour Correctly
The issue with measuring flour by volume is using units like cups is wildly imprecise. The problem is further compounded by the fact that scooping the measuring cup into the bag of flour can add up to 30 percent more flour than what is called for. The solution is to measure your flour in grams instead of cups. When a recipe calls for a cup of flour, measure out 130 grams of flour instead. A small kitchen scale is very helpful here.