There are few things in the world more satisfying than cookies fresh out of the oven. If you’ve been baking long enough, you probably have a few secrets for baking can’t-resist cookies. But there’s one thing many folks forget. You need to chill cookie dough before baking it! Does it make a difference? Absolutely. This is the one step that will transform even your favorite home state cookie recipes.

For starters, chilling prevents cookies from spreading out too quickly once they’re in the oven. If you use a higher fat butter (like Kerrygold), chilling your dough is absolutely essential. Popping your dough in the fridge allows the fats to cool. As a result, the cookies will expand more slowly, holding onto their texture. If you skip the chilling step, you’re more likely to wind up with flat, sad disks instead of lovely, chewy cookies.

Cookies made from chilled dough are also much more flavorful. This is thanks to a few different factors. The dough becomes hydrated as the dry ingredients soak up moisture from the wet ingredients. This subtle hydration makes the dough less wet, concentrating the flavors. The result is cookies with a nice even bake and lovely golden brown color. 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. After as little as half an hour, your dough transforms into a bowl of goodness with an additional kiss of sweetness. Is it worth the wait? You bet.

This is really up to you. If you’re short on time, try and squeeze in at least a half an hour if you can. Thirty minutes will do the trick if you’re simply looking to avoid your cookies spreading all over the place. If you have the luxury of chilling the dough overnight to develop flavor, go for it.

People always recommend chilling chocolate chip cookies but shortbread, sugar cookies, and even these terrific ginger cookies all benefit from a little time in the fridge. Feel free to test it out using your favorite recipes and compare the results. You should definitely use this tip when you try out these great cookie recipes with surprising secret ingredients.

At this point in our lives, we've all eaten enough cookie dough to realize that it most likely won't make us sick. But that's not the only lie our mothers told us. Read on as we debunk more baking advice you've probably never even questioned.

Truth: The accuracy of measuring utensils in the United States has very low standards, and measurements that have been defined by federal law are not enforced. That means measuring spoon and cup sets can vary by as much as 25 percent. If a recipe calls for precise measurements, a kitchen scale is much more reliable.

Truth: Well, that depends on the type of oven you have and what you are cooking. Most baked goods with yeast or baking powder do need a preheated oven to rise. However, foods that bake for over an hour or at a temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit or less generally do not need a preheated oven.

Truth: When stored in a cool place and sealed tightly, baking soda can last for decades. Baking powder only lasts for one year. But as each leavening agent ages, they lose their potency, so it's recommended that you replace both every six months.

Truth: Probably not. Maintaining oven temperature while cooking is important, but if you quickly peek in, nothing bad should happen to your food. Unless you're making something tricky, like a soufflé, you have the go-ahead to sneak a quick peek at your cookies and cakes.

Truth: As far as calories and fat content go, butter and margarine are pretty much equal, each averaging 35 calories and 4 grams of fat per teaspoon. Both provide specific textures and flavors while baking which means substituting one for the other will affect the outcome of baked goods with no added health benefits.

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Truth: No, that rum cake won't make all of your holiday guests drunk, but it's not completely alcohol free. When cooking with wine or liquor, up to 50 percent of the alcohol can remain, and even less will evaporate when baking a cake due to its thick batter.

More from Reader's Digest: 11 Ways You’ve Been Swimming All Wrong The Step Almost Everyone Skips When Making Cookies Why Do Cats Like Boxes?

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