This Easy Skillet Cookie Helped Me Quit My 'Lazy Baker' Habits

Eyeballing that vanilla? Not a great idea.

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Food Network Kitchen’s Peanut Butter Skillet Cookie for Comfort All of the Skillet Cookies, as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Tara Donne ©©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Tara Donne, ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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When I was about 13, I saw nothing wrong with putting frozen butter in my mom's KitchenAid mixer. Long story short, that WILL break a paddle attachment and your mom will NOT be impressed. Twenty-some years later, I'm happy to report I always bring my butter to room temp now.

But beyond that, my cookie-making skills haven't improved greatly; my husband thinks it's hilarious that I bake flat cookies. Every. Single Time. And I may still cut corners to speed up the process and reduce the mess that ensues.

Finding the Peanut Butter Skillet Cookie class on the Food Network Kitchen app was like a dream come true: one bowl, less mess, delicious peanut butter-y goodness and a great presentation. But I wasn't fully prepared for everything Food Network Culinary Producer Ali Clarke was about to teach me.

For example, I'm a bit lax when it comes to that whole "creaming the butter and sugar" part of a recipe. And I admit I will eyeball vanilla and even salt at times to avoid dirtying another teaspoon. It's not like I fudge the flour measurements — I'm not an animal! So, how bad could these habits really be?

"A lot of times you see recipes that say one to two minutes and you're like, 'Do I really need to sit here for one to two minutes?' But it does make a huge difference," Ali says of creaming the butter and sugar. You want to mix them until they are light and fluffy and, essentially, become one. This simple task, which I overlook far too often, eliminates grainy cookies.

And about those flat cookies I make on the reg? "Change out your baking soda or baking powder," Ali says. "If you have a leavener in your cookies, you should be getting a rise out of them."

Perhaps the biggest takeaway for me, though, is that I have to start measuring vanilla. "Weirdly ... you can add too much, and eyeballing the vanilla can change the recipe a little bit and can change how things bake," Ali says.

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