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Can I refresh stale cookies?

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Cookies re-baking

When it comes to cookies, the hard part about eating them is usually that you want to eat too many at a time. This is especially true of when the cookies are fresh from the oven, with soft, chewy centers and crisp edges. Add in some chocolate to those fresh from-the-oven-cookies and they are virtually irresistible. But most of the time, we manage to pace ourselves and end up with uneaten cookie a few days after baking – cookies that are past their prime. Is it possible to refresh them and recapture that fresh cookie taste?

Yes, it is. All you need to do is put your cookies on a baking sheet (with or without parchment) and put them in the oven for 3-5 minutes at 350F. Unless the cookies are already weeks old (in which case you just shouldn’t be eating them), this will give them new life, making them crispy on the outside and soft on the inside once more. Unfortunately, this new-found freshness doesn’t last. Only use this trick for a few cookies at a time and eat them right away. Once they cool back down, they’ll go right back to being on the dry/slightly stale side.

If you’re pressed for time and you want quicker results, you can pop the cookies in the microwave for 10 seconds or so, too. They won’t be quite as good as the oven cookies, but the microwave will still warm and soften them enough to be very satisfying.

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8 Comments
  • Mike
    March 5, 2009

    Great tip! I’ve recently learnt that the trick to keeping cookies soft and chewey, the way I like them, you can use crushed up oats. But I am definitly going to try this to get that warm freshness back. Thanks!
    Mike
    mike@foodea.com

  • Lauren
    March 5, 2009

    I learned from my mother to stick a piece of bread in with the cookies. They absorb the moisture from the bread, so in the end you get still-soft cookies and a hard piece of bread.

  • Ellen
    March 5, 2009

    i usually brush a little milk on the tops of the cookies and pop em in the oven, or dampen a paper towel slightly and stick it in the microwave with the cookies. helps with the dryness!

  • Eleanor
    March 5, 2009

    Nom! Good tip. Something I learned while I worked at Mrs. Fields is that you should never refrigerate cookies- it makes them lose their moisture much faster.

  • Julia
    March 8, 2009

    useful tip, i tried in the mircowave before but realize now that the oven would be much better – also like the toast idea and will give it a try. 🙂

  • phil and teds
    March 10, 2009

    What a great idea and great tips from everyone else thank you. At least I can now enjoy those old forgotten cookies!

  • Sinea
    December 27, 2010

    I just microwaved a all-too-crisp sugar cookie for about 25 seconds and it was yummy. Works well for peanut blossoms, too.

  • Marlana
    November 13, 2012

    I believe Alton Brown suggests adding 1 or 2 T milk to the dough before you bake to keep cookies soft.
    It works wonderfully; if only I could remember every time I make cookies.

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