April, a reader, real-life cookie taster, and real-life recipe user, was making my Better Than Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies and emailed me the following questions:
“When I tried to take them off the sheet, they fell apart and were still gooey inside. It's a work in progress!! And, they're just straight on a cookie sheet (nonstick but older) so they're sticking. Was the parchment paper/silpat (what is that?) necessary? Even with a nonstick cookie sheet?”
Hi, April! I think I know how to solve your problem. The best thing to do when your cookies crumble when you try to take them off your cookie sheet is to let the cookies cool completely on the cookie sheet before you try to remove them.
I usually let me cookies set on the cookie sheet for about two minutes before I move them to my cooling racks. This “resting” time allows for the carryover heat of the sheet to finish cooking the cookie centers and bottoms. (If you leave the cookies in the oven to finish off the baking completely, you’ll end up with hard--maybe even charred--little hockey pucks.)
To ensure that your cookies come out of the oven perfectly baked and that they release themselves easily from the cookie sheet, there are a couple cookie tools you might want to invest in.
Silpat: These are silicone baking mats. Silpat is the best-known brand, thanks to Martha! But there are a bunch of brands available, so you can be sure to find one at a price that’s right for you. I absolutely love these guys. They’re dishwasher safe and reusable, and I’ve never had a problem getting cookies off of them. In fact, rested cookies literally pop off of a Silpat with a slight twist. You don’t even need to use a spatula.
Half-Sheet Baking Pans: If I remember correctly, Cook’s Illustrated magazine rated the Williams Sonoma Goldtouch pans highest, but I think any half-sheet pan will do because their thicker bottoms conduct heat better and more evenly than standard cookie sheets, and half-sheet pans have a raised edge with a rolled lip, which makes them sturdier than standard cookie sheets.
The 1-2 punch of a Silpat-lined half-sheet baking pan will give you perfect cookies every time. Thanks again, April, for emailing me your questions. I hope I answered them for you OK.