As a general rule of thumb, you should refrigerate cookie dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. More than that and you won’t see a noticeable difference in the final product, says Haught Brown.
Chilling cookie dough before baking solidifies the fat in the cookies. As the cookies bake, the fat in the chilled cookie dough takes longer to melt than room-temperature fat. And the longer the fat remains solid, the less cookies spread.
Let it sit for long enough—the famous Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie, published in the New York Times, mandates a rest of at least 24 hours and up to 72—and the starches and proteins in the flour begin to break down, leading to more browning and caramelization.
How to Soften Chilled Cookie Dough
- Merrill recommends putting dough near a warm stove, and pounding it with a rolling pin once it starts to soften.
- Trena cuts the dough into smaller pieces using a pastry cutter, figuring that they will come to room temperature faster.
Chilling the dough is a key step in making sugar cookies, especially when you’re making cut-outs. Even if you’re tight on time, make sure to get the dough in the fridge, or even the freezer, even if it’s only for a little while. … Chilled dough also holds its shape better in the oven.
Put each portion of cookie dough into a plastic bag with a zip top that you can put into the fridge or freezer. Squeeze all the air out of the bag before sealing the top closed. Getting all the air out of the bag is especially important if you plan on freezing the dough.
Q: Why are my cookies so puffy and cakey? Causes: Whipping too much air into the dough while creaming butter and sugar. Adding too many eggs.