A reader named Kenneth emailed me to ask a question about baking times for mini versions of my cookies. Here's what he had to say:
“I was browsing across your oatmeal cookie blog and I think the recipes are wonderful. However, most of your recipes make big sized cookies (tablespoon sized drops) and I prefer mine to be small bite sizes (3/4 teaspn size). How much time should I scale down from each recipe to accommodate to the size change?”
Thanks so much for writing in, Kenneth. Wow...3/4 teaspoon really is bite sized.
Ovens can be funny things. Some run hot and bake really quickly; some run cool and bake really, really slowly.
I think the best way to determine the perfect baking time for a smaller version of the cookies is to experiment. Let a batch bake for five minutes, then take out the cookie sheet to see how the cookies are progressing.
If the cookies are dark brown and hard, they're overdone. Try baking another batch for three minutes. That should be the perfect amount of time in the oven. Leave the cookies on the sheet for about a minute and then remove to a cooling rack.
If the bottoms are brown and the edges are firming up, I'd say they're just right. Leave the cookies on the sheet for about a minute and then remove to a cooling rack.
(Technically, the cookies are still a little underdone at this point, but they'll finish baking on the hot cookie sheet. This is called carry-over cooking. If you were to put the cookies back in the oven until they were completely firm all the way through, you'd end up with really hard, dry, overbaked cookies.)
If the bottoms of the cookies are still pale and the edges are still soft, put them back in the oven for another two minutes. Repeat this process to determine the best baking time.
I hope this helps!