“When your dough is refrigerated, the butter hardens. So when you bake them, they spread less and hold their shape better,” adds Epperson. “Which means a better likelihood of a soft, chewy cookie in the center.” So chilling the dough before baking means fluffier cookies with better consistency.
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.
Anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. The longer you chill the dough, the more flavor will develop. The flour will also absorb more of the moisture so the thicker and chewier the final texture will be. After 72 hours the dough will begin to dry out and you risk it going bad.
Anytime a cookie recipe relies on eggs to provide the bulk of the liquid content, resting the dough is generally a good idea. It hydrates the flour, resulting in a better texture and more consistent bake. However, if a cookie recipe instructs you to bake them right away, it’s usually on purpose.
Popping your dough in the fridge allows the fats to cool. … And if you use brown butter in your cookie recipes, chilling the dough overnight allows the flavors to develop so you get a richer, more decadent cookie. While this hydration is taking place, the flour also breaks down into sugar, making the dough taste sweeter.
Many cookie recipes call for long refrigeration times, but a finicky dough or a little extra chilling time can result in dough that’s as hard as a rock, and nearly impossible to work with. Merrill recommends putting dough near a warm stove, and pounding it with a rolling pin once it starts to soften.
As little as 30 minutes in your fridge or freezer can help your cookie brown better, spread less, and develop a richer chewy texture. … The colder your dough is before it heads into the oven, the less it will spread during baking, which makes for loftier cookies.
Most cookie doughs freeze well for up to 3 months. … Drop Cookies: Shape the cookie dough into balls as you would when preparing to bake them. Place them on a silicone- or parchment-lined sheet. Freeze for an hour (or until solid) and transfer to a freezer zip-top bag.
For chewy cookies, allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. For crispier cookies, let cookies cool for one minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
The most important thing to remember when thawing your cookie dough, whether shortbread-style or drop cookies, is to place it in the fridge. Do not thaw at room temperature, as this will encourage bacteria growth from the eggs in the cookie dough.
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.