When you’re following a recipe, the instructions usually wait to tell you to preheat the oven until right before you’re supposed to put the cookies in. But if you put the cookies in as soon as you turn the oven on, they won’t cook correctly. So how long are you supposed to preheat the oven before you can bake cookies?
Preheating time depends on the kind of oven you have, as well as the temperature you are going to be baking your cookies at. For most cookie recipes, you’re going to be baking them at 350 degrees F or thereabouts. It takes most ovens about 20 minutes to preheat to this temperature, though some new models have express preheat options that will get them up to temperature in about 6 minutes.
So how do you know when your oven is preheated and ready to bake? There are several methods, depending on the type of oven you have.
- Indicator light
- Built-in interior temperature gauge.
- Oven thermometer
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Many ovens have an interior temperature gauge that tells you how hot it is inside. Most others have an indicator light that turns on when the oven is heating up and turns off when the oven has reached the correct temperature. If your oven doesn’t have either of these things, you should invest in an oven thermometer that reads the temperature inside the oven and displays it on the outside of the oven.
Of course, once you know how long it takes to heat up the oven, you don’t want to have your cookie dough sitting there waiting. The baking powder in the dough depends on being heated quickly, and dough that sits for a long time can end up making flat cookies. The best solution is to turn on your oven before you start gathering your ingredients and baking. That way, by the time your cookie dough is ready, the oven should also be ready.
This is a recipe for cookies that only requires preheating. Once the cookies are in the oven, turn it off and forget about them overnight!
- 4 egg whites
- 1 ½ cup white sugar
- 1 t cream of tartar
- 1 t vanilla
- (optional) 2 cups chocolate chips or nuts
Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar and cream of tartar; beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in vanilla and optional chocolate chips or nuts. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and spoon batter onto paper.
Put cookies in the oven, shut the door, and immediately turn off the oven. Leave oven at least 6 hours or overnight.