The Ice Water Hack That Chills Cookie Dough Quickly

Hold onto your baking mitts, because we've got a game-changing ice water hack that'll transform your cookie-baking routine. If you've ever wanted to bake a fresh batch of cookies but forgot to leave time to chill the dough overnight, fear not! You can speed the chilling process to under half an hour by dropping the dough into an ice water bath, a method cookbook author and cookie maven Jesse Szewczyk discovered when testing recipes for his book, "Cookies." 

The method is simple. Place your dough in a large waterproof baggie, flatten it out to about half an inch thick, and set it in the ice water. You can use a large bowl or even a baking dish or roasting pan. So why does this hack work wonders? The ice water solidifies the butter (or other fat) in the dough, which means that it won't melt as quickly in the oven. So you can avoid those disappointing huge disks of dough that run into each other or puddle in the corners of the pan. According to Szewczyk, this method works for any drop-cookie dough, and you can take spoonfuls of dough straight out of the bag when you're ready to bake, or even use a straight edge to mark out portions in the slab of dough before chilling.

Other quick dough-chilling methods

The ice water bath isn't the only quick and convenient way to hasten the dough-chilling process: You can explore a multitude of unconventional ways. For one, you can pre-scoop your cookies onto the tray and then just stick the whole tray in the freezer. You could also place the whole bowl of dough covered in plastic wrap in the freezer. However, if you choose to chill your dough in the freezer, remember the golden rule — don't forget it's in there. 

While it's reassuring to know that even a half hour of chilling will make a huge difference in whether or not your cookies will spread, if you have the time it's still best to leave the dough in the fridge overnight. This is because it's not just the temperature but also the time that affects the bake. As the dough rests and dries out somewhat, the flavors intensify, and the firmer dough results in a chewier cookie. 

Avoiding these mistakes when mixing up raw cookie dough is crucial to achieving the perfect bake. But are there any ways to get around these extra steps? Well, you can always skip the hassle and go straight for edible cookie dough.  Embrace the chill, fellow bakers, or go straight for the dough.