Since we’ve all had cookie dough leftovers in the fridge, I know you know the struggle. Often I am in such a rush to bake delicious cookies that I overlook letting the cookie dough rest before baking. I am so familiar with the disappointment of having cookies that are far from what I imagined. And, more often than not, this was the reason for my unsatisfying batch. So, should refrigerated cookie dough be at room temperature?
Refrigerated cookie dough should rest at room temperature for a while before baking. Allowing the cookie dough to rest at room temperature before baking ensures even baking, better texture, and, ultimately, tastier cookies.
Cookies are mood food, lifting your spirits even on the gloomiest of days. So, it is an indescribable frustration when they don’t turn out well. To save you the hard time and help you enjoy your cookies as much as possible, in this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about cookie dough temperature before baking.
Should Refrigerated Cookie Dough Be Brought to Room Temperature Before Baking?
Yes, refrigerated cookie dough has to rest at room temperature first.
As with frozen cookie dough, refrigerated one is also cold and more robust than cookie dough brought at room temperature. Baking cookie dough straight from the fridge will likely result in unevenly baked cookies. Another possibility is that your cookies burn on the surface while remaining underbaked in the middle.
This happens because the more exposed parts of the dough, i.e., its surface, are more vulnerable to sudden high temperatures and burn more easily rather than properly baking. The surface becomes a layer that shields the cookie interior from the heat so it doesn’t bake all the way through.
Depending on the thickness of your cookies, you may get fully baked cookies, but too hard to chew. Another possibility is getting cookies that are too crumbly and won’t hold either shape or consistency or cookies that just aren’t that tasty because the flavors haven’t had the time to develop.
Bringing your cookie dough to room temperature is crucial for them to have the right texture. Cold cookie dough is tough and harder to spread, resulting in thicker cookies. Allowing your cookie dough to warm up before baking ensures easier spreading and shaping.
Now, don’t get me wrong, if you want to make a thicker batch, by all means, make them so, but you should still allow for the dough to warm up. Thicker cookies made with cold dough straight from the fridge to the oven are doughy in the middle and not pleasant on the palate at all. I am in love with the crumbly and chewy middle, and warming up the dough for just a short while is all you need to do.
And now, the best part, you may think that popping cold cookie dough in the oven will bring us the cookies faster, but that’s not exactly how it works. Allowing your cookie dough to rest and warm up will actually speed up the baking process, so by investing the extra time, you get your cookies sooner!
What if Chilled Cookie Dough Is too Hard?
Chilled cookie dough has a tendency to be tougher than needed, so you can expect it to be even too hard at times. Don’t worry; I got you covered.
If the chilled cookie dough is too hard, there are always ways to soften it up. The most obvious way to do this is to just let it soften on its own by allowing it to rest at room temperature, and this is the step you should never skip.
If this doesn’t help, knead the dough gently until you get desired results. I start by pressing it lightly with my fingertips to assess the situation and then apply the absolutely necessary pressure to knead it.
Another good idea is to cover the dough and place it near a heat source, but not directly on it. So, near your stove or a heating appliance so that it softens sooner.
Most importantly, don’t rush the process because it will be a disaster. It is very likely for your dough to become too soft or even soggy, in which case you’ll have to put it back in the fridge.
You can additionally warm up the dough while forming your cookies like in the following video.
Is It Better to Bake Chilled Cookies or at Room Temperature?
Ultimately, whether or not you should chill the dough depends on the specific cookie recipe. Still, I don’t recommend popping cold cookies in the oven straight from the fridge without allowing them time to settle.
The sudden temperature change has an adverse effect on the cookie texture, structure, consistency, baking, and, ultimately, taste. So, whether or not your recipe suggests chilling the dough, I absolutely always allow it time to rest before baking.