To get uniform cookie dough balls, you can either eyeball the dough and try to create mounds of equal size that will hopefully bake into cookies of equal size, or you can use a portion scoop to ensure that they are all measured out exactly the same. While it is possible to be extremely accurate when “eyeballing it,” it is more reliable to use a portion scoop to measure your cookie dough out. Evenly sized cookies not only look good, but they bake more evenly and give you a more consistent result.
Portion scoops are standard-sized scoops used to measure out food, both cooked and uncooked.They look like ice cream scoops and have a spring release that scrapes your food/ice cream/cookie dough out of the scoop once it has been measured. The odd thing about them is that they come in strange sizes, like #16 and #24, rather than in sizes that you might ordinarily associate with cookie baking, such as “a 1-inch ball” or “a rounded tablespoon”. The numbers on portion scoops refer fractions of a quart (32-ounces), or the number of scoops of a particular size it takes to make 32-oz. With this system, you know that a #16 scoop is 2-oz and a #24 is 1.5-oz. The general rule is the larger the number, the smaller the scoop, and when you are picking out a scoop you can simply choose one based on the size of the cookie you’d like to make (or whatever else you might be portioning out).
Portion scoops are designed for kitchen professionals to standardize their products and to keep a handle on costs. These scoop sizes ensure that they get exactly the same number of servings (or balls of dough) per batch or per recipe without wasting any product – and that the customers always get the same amount of product for their money. And it is how they keep the cookies in a bakery display window looking so perfect, too.