You Can Probably Blame This If Your Cookies Aren't Baking Evenly

It's incredibly frustrating when you peek in through the oven window and notice that your cookies don't exactly look uniformly golden brown the way cookies in ads and pictures do. Instead, there are some spots that look almost raw, while others are getting way too dark. You may blame yourself initially, thinking that you did something wrong with the recipe. Did you use too much or too little of something? Did you not combine everything properly?

Well, you don't have to blame yourself for the uneven bake on your cookie anymore — it turns out, the issue likely isn't you at all. It's simply that you're not taking some of the inconsistencies common with ovens into account, as Allrecipes explains. While your oven is more consistent with heat than something like a grill, there are still often hot spots and cool spots within the oven, which is the reason for the uneven bake of your cookies.

There's one simple way to address this, and you've likely seen many bakers doing this without really considering why they were bothering with the extra step — rotate your trays. In order to ensure no cookies are in a hot or cool spot for the entire bake time, about halfway through your baking, open up the oven and rotate the pans so that they have a chance to cook in another area of your oven. It couldn't be simpler — and should result in a more even bake.

The one tool you need to eliminate this issue

Though the simple step of rotating your pans halfway through the cook time goes a long way with eliminating any issues with uneven baking, there's another tool that can prove invaluable when it comes to the consistency of your bakes — an oven thermometer (via Allrecipes). At first thought, it may seem like a ridiculous expense, after all, your oven already has a display that shows the exact temperature inside it. You punched in the temperature that the cookie recipe called for, and surely your oven warmed right up to that specific degree, correct? Well, not exactly. 

Regardless of the temperature your oven displays on the exterior, there can be variations of up to 20 degrees within the oven. That makes a serious difference in baking something like cookies, which bake differently according to the level of heat. An oven thermometer typically doesn't cost much, and it'll give you a much more accurate picture of the actual temperature your oven is at during baking. That way, you can adjust your bake time as needed — if you know your oven is running a bit hot, you may want to start checking your cookies a minute or two before the recipe says they're ready. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your oven runs cool, you may want to keep them in a little bit longer to ensure they're the perfect golden brown with crispy edges.