This Is the Best Way to Scoop Your Drop Cookies


Image for article titled This Is the Best Way to Scoop Your Drop Cookies

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

All cookies are beautiful just the way they are. As one of my top three favorite things, I’ll almost never turn down a cookie, and certainly not because of its looks. But there’s a drop-cookie beautification trend, and it has to do with making sure your cookies have the perfectly jagged, crinkly tops. It turns out, there is a “best” way to scoop your cookies in order to achieve this look.

Typically, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, and often sugar cookies are drop cookies. A drop cookie is any cookie you don’t have to cut out or slice—you “drop” the dough onto the sheet pan in little mounds. You can also roll the portioned dough in your hands to form dough balls before baking, ensuring perfectly smooth, circular cookies. I was raised believing chocolate chip cookies should look ragged, and that they were perfect in their irregularity. Presumably, my parents were giving me a metaphor that I could relate to in order to practice self-love, and, since then, I have always preferred scooping up lumpy-topped cookies to smooth ones. Apparently, I’m now on trend.

My trusted method for getting ripply, jagged-topped cookies has been simple–scoop the cookie dough with two forks, or as I like to call it, forking your dough. Take two forks and rough up the dough a little bit. Use the tines of both forks to gather up as much dough as you want in a bundle. Lift and place the choppy mound onto the sheet pan. The dough gets aerated and texturized by the tines, and it’s a one step move, making it reliably quick.

Image for article titled This Is the Best Way to Scoop Your Drop Cookies

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

I wanted to see how my method stacked up against other possible ways cookie-lovers drop dough on a baking sheet. I tested out several different pre-baked shaping methods. From a store-bought cookie dough log: Sliced, sliced and split (more on splitting later), rolled and split, and rolled. I also wanted to reproduce cookie dough from a bowl, however I didn’t want to compromise the experiment with different dough, so I put the other half of the same store-bought dough log into a bowl and mashed it up into a mound of shapeless cookie dough. From the bowl: Forked, spooned, rolled and split, and rolled. I repeated the “rolled and split” (on the second tray I wrote “roll and break” but it’s the same method), and “rolled” methods on each sheet tray mostly to see side by side comparisons to the other four.

Image for article titled This Is the Best Way to Scoop Your Drop Cookies

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Image for article titled This Is the Best Way to Scoop Your Drop Cookies

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

The “split” method I mentioned above is a shaping technique I had come across online that involves rolling dough into a ball, ripping the ball in half, pressing the two halves, with the torn sides, next to each other, then placing the dough, torn side up, on a cookie sheet. This is supposedly the best way to get the highly sought-after, jagged, crinkly topped cookies.

I found that the “sliced and split,” from a log, produced one of the two most cavernous cookies. “Forked,” from a bowl, produced the other spikiest cookie. “Rolled and split” produced one rippled cookie, and one nearly smooth cookie on the other sheet pan. I found the inconsistency surprising, especially since I took care with both cookies to ensure I didn’t smoosh the cookies while ripping the ball in half. This was difficult because the cookie dough can get pretty soft after rolling around in your warm hands for a few seconds. “Sliced only” came in with the next most wavy, followed by “spooned,” from a bowl, and the most consistently smooth cookies, from the log and from a bowl, were “rolled.” (No surprises there.)

My cookie-shaping experiment showed that there are three ways to get an appetizingly craggy cookie, but only one is the fastest, simplest, and easiest. Although “sliced and split,” and “rolled and split” were crinkle-top contenders, if you have a bowl of cookie dough and you want a spiky cookie time and time again, it’s gotta be forked. The forking method is consistent and fast compared to the “rolled and split” method, which takes two extra steps. That’s extra time spent in both of those areas, and, depending on how warm the dough is, you might get very inconsistent textures on your cookies. (Note that this experiment is regarding small-batch, home-baked cookies. High-volume, production bakeries are working with huge batch sizes and will prepare their cookies in a number of different ways for speed and consistency.)

Image for article titled This Is the Best Way to Scoop Your Drop Cookies

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Image for article titled This Is the Best Way to Scoop Your Drop Cookies

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

If you happen to be working from a store-bought cookie dough log, the “slice and split” method is excellent, and I would say just as fast as forking it. The dough doesn’t spend any time heating up in your hands, nor does it get compressed by the rolling step, which allows the material to stay aerated and split in a more irregular way. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can always dump the dough into a bowl and go at it with forks at any time.

Although this discovery may have rocked your world, let it be known that these are all ways to get beautiful drop-cookies. I even found a new appreciation for rolled cookies because they were the only ones that produced a lovably cracked surface. Depending on the recipe used, and other factors, thicker or flatter cookies may result.



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