There is a cookie for almost every taste. But how do you get the perfect cookie for you? Whether you like your cookies big and fluffy, light and airy or prefer a chewy, gooey cookie, we've got you covered with helpful instructions that you won't find in your average cookie recipe. Continue to the end to find great recipes to get you started!
Making the Dough
- Keep everything cold. If you are using butter in your cookies (and even, to a certain degree, if you aren't) you will want to keep your ingredients refrigerator-cold. This will make your cookies much more firm and keep them from spreading out in the oven.
- This means that you'll have to warm up the butter enough to work with it by placing it on the counter, rather than in the microwave. Absolutely never melt it in order to mix it into the dough.
- A great practice is to cool your dough in the fridge for an hour before rolling it out.
- Always cream butter and sugar. If your recipe calls for butter and doesn't specifically prohibit this practice, you should always "cream" the butter and the sugar first. This is a process by which you mix the two until a sort of paste is formed.
- Try to use salted butter. Sweet cream butter tends to make cookies taste too sweet. The salt will balance out the sweetness of the cookie just enough to make it taste much better over all. You won't be able to properly taste the salt, but believe us, you'll notice the difference.
- Change the recipe to alter the final product. If you find a recipe that you love the taste of but what a different texture, it is totally possible to alter the recipe just a bit in order to get exactly what you want! Experiment, or try these tricks:
- Use cake flour, shortening instead of butter (or switch for part of the butter), or ~2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 4 teaspoons LESS flour in order to get fluffy, cakey, soft cookies.
- Use 2 tablespoons of milk, an extra tablespoon or two of butter, or switch your white sugar for brown to get a crispy cookie.
- Use melted butter to mix dough and then chill it before baking (undercook a minute or two) to get a chewy cookie. You can also use only yolks, instead of whites.
- Using a rubber spatula often helps speed up the mixing process if you are not using a machine.
- Weigh your ingredients. If you find that you still struggle with getting your recipe to turn out right, bake like the pros (and Europeans!) do and weigh your ingredients. Get a good electronic kitchen scale and do your recipe based on weight. This will help ensure the perfect cookie.
Baking the Cookies
- Use an ice cream scoop to make cookies even. If you want to make sure that every cookie in a batch turns out looking the same, use an ice cream scoop to get perfectly equal balls of dough.
- Use parchment paper. Skip the Silpat in favor of parchment paper. Silpat can make it difficult for cookies to cook evenly and it also keeps the bottoms from developing that perfect crispness. Parchment paper turns out a much better cookie.
- Bake on the bottom of your cookie sheet. If you notice that the cookies at the edge of your sheet are prone to getting over cooked, use an Round or oval pan. If you don't have one, improvise and flip the pan over to use the bottom!
- Know your oven. Every oven is different and it is important for you to know how yours behaves. If you know what to expect, then you can find ways to work around the expected problems.
- For example, if you notice that cookies on one corner or side bake faster than in another, make sure you turn the pan part-way through the baking process.
- Start with a cold pan. Put your baking sheet in the fridge to cool before you put each set of cookies on. If you want to save time, you can scoop the dough onto parchment paper and store them in the fridge until they are ready to go out on a cooled pan.
- This means cooling the pan between each set of 12 too!
- Don't overbake your cookies. If anything it's better to under-bake them. For the first batch carefully watch them and time for when they get the first hint of brown at the edges. Edge browning usually means you've gone too far, though these cookies are still perfectly good (especially if you like yours crispy!). Once you know how long it takes to reach that point, pull them out maybe 30 seconds before they brown for perfectly soft cookies.
- If you are using white chocolate chips in your cookies, be careful, as they can burn particularly easily.
- Let cookies sit on the pan. Let your cookies sit on the pan for a few minutes before taking them off. This will let them firm up on the bottom, making them much easier to eat.
Converting for Dietary Restrictions
- Convert for vegans. To convert almost any cookie recipe for a vegan diet, the main ingredients you'll have to worry about are the butter and the eggs. The butter is easily replaced with shortening (this often makes a better cookie anyway!) but if you want to avoid the awful egg substitute, try this instead
- Add 1 tbs of oil, 1 tbs of cornstarch, 2 tbs of soymilk and 1 tbs of ground flax seed in place of each egg called for in the recipe. If it calls for only yolks, go easy on the milk and oil.
- Convert for lactose intolerance. If someone has a bad lactose intolerance, you can easily replace the butter with shortening. Any milk called for can be replaced with lactose-free milk, soy milk or more exciting options like hazelnut milk!
- Convert for a peanut allergy. If someone has a peanut allergy, you can replace ingredients like peanut butter with almond butter or Nutella (yum!). Just make sure that no other ingredients have had contact with the peanut butter.
- Make sure, for example, no one has EVER used a knife to get some peanut butter out of a jar and then used that same knife to get some Nutella without cleaning in between. To be safe, get a new jar.
- Convert for a gluten allergy. Pick the Right Gluten Free Flour Substitute for Your Conventional Recipe is easy, but you have to keep a few things in mind. For things like cookies, you'll want to err on the low-protein side, since you want them to be soft. You also want to mix different types of wheat flour substitutes. When using these substitutes, it is also necessary to add a slightly larger amount of liquid.
- Convert for diabetics. This is tricky, since it's the carbs as much as the sugar which causes the problem for diabetics. Try to make protein heavy cookies (like peanut butter cookies with high-protein alternative flours instead of normal flour) and switch the sugar with some Splenda or other sugar alternative (honey is good!).
Part 4: Baking Classic Cookies
- Make-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies. To make your recipes even more inventive, try different varieties of chocolate chips, like white, milk or bittersweet.
- Bake-Oatmeal-Cookies. Whole grain oats add a heart-healthy element to this popular treat. To make them gluten-free, substitute oat flour for the all-purpose flour and make sure that your oats are labeled gluten free. You can also add raisins, walnuts or butterscotch chips to your oatmeal cookie recipe.
- Make peanut butter cookies. For a nutty treat, make peanut butter cookies. These make a great breakfast snack, with the extra protein boost!
- Make-Snickerdoodles. These sugar cookies get a wonderful crunch and sweetness from being rolled in cinnamon and sugar before they are baked. The secret to great snickerdoodles is to hand-mix the ingredients instead of using a mechanical mixer.
- Make-Ginger-Snaps. Ginger snaps get their flavor from molasses and ground ginger. To dress these cookies up, drizzle them with a lemon glaze.
- Make-Macaroons. These light and fluffy coconut cookies are free of both flour and egg yolks. You can also use food coloring in these cookies to customize the macaroons for a variety of occasions.
Part 5: Baking Holiday Cookies
- Make-Gingerbread-Men-Cookies. Decorating gingerbread people is a favorite holiday tradition in many households. These cookies make a delicious blank palette for a variety of candies, colored glazes and frostings.
- Make-Sugar-Cookies. Basic sugar cookies are delicious on their own and form the basis for many more complex cookie recipes. You can either cut sugar cookies out with a cookie cutter and frost them for the holidays or Make-Drop-Sugar-Cookies.
- Make-Lebkuchen. These German Christmas cookies incorporate the flavors of an herby gingerbread and lemon. For a different flavor profile, try Make-Homemade-Chocolate-Lebkuchen.
- Make-Spritz-Cookies. These cookies are shaped using a cookie press, which is an easy-to-find and affordable investment. Decorate the cookies with colored sugar or sprinkles to make them more festive.
- Make-Marzipan-Cookies. For a Scandinavian Christmas, try using marzipan in your cookies. This gives the cookies an intense almond flavor.
- Make-Pinwheel-Cookies. A combination of chocolate sugar cookie dough and regular sugar cookie dough, stacked and rolled together, creates these delicious and colorful pinwheels. You can customize the color of the plain dough for any special occasion.
Part 6: Baking Unique Cookies
- Make-Jello-Cookies. Vary this recipe by using different colors and flavors of Jell-O. These cookies are a great way to welcome kids into the kitchen.
- Make-Bacon-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies. If you’re a bacon lover, make these chocolate chip cookies that incorporate bits of bacon into the dough.
- Make-Green-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies. Adding green food coloring to your chocolate chip cookie dough gives these cookies a delightful green tint. You can serve these cookies on St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Christmas or any day.
- Make-Fried-Oreos. Oreo cookies rolled in batter and deep-fried make a sinful treat. You can serve a plate of these cookies with either ice cream or a big dollop of whipped cream.
- Make-No-Bake-Double-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies. Cocoa powder, melted chocolate and chocolate chips make these no-bake cookies irresistible. You will need to set aside some time to chill these cookies, but the results will be worth the wait.
- Make-a-Chocolate-Covered-Marshmallow-Cookie. Chocolate and marshmallows are always a winning combination, particularly for moon pie lovers. These delectable cookies are filled with marshmallow filling and then dipped in melted chocolate.
- Crunchy, salty, buttery nuts are the perfect ingredients for outstanding cookies. Choose from cookies made with peanuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds and pine nuts to satisfy your cravings. They're also a great source of plant-based fats and protein.
- When you are baking the cookies, do not forget the parchment paper! If you do, the cookies might spread and become one huge cookie!!!
- If your cookies seem off but you can't figure out why, you used too much flour.
- According to Linda Stradley of What’s Cooking America, cookies were originally small test cakes, known by the Dutch word koekje, which bakers used to test the temperatures of their ovens. When bakers discovered how wonderful cookies were in their own right, they started to bake them in batches.
- Lemon cookies satisfy a sweet and sour craving while delivering a bright citrusy flavor. Use organic lemons whenever possible to ensure the best flavor and to avoid unnecessary chemicals in your cookies.
- Cream cheese, goat cheese and ricotta add a fluffy texture and an extra layer of creaminess to many traditional recipes. Some of the cheesy cookie recipes, particularly cottage cheese cookies and goat cheese cookies, will help you to rethink the traditional cookie.
- Fun cookies give you the perfect opportunity to exercise your creativity. Many of the fun cookie recipes are blank canvases that can easily accommodate improvisational alterations or substitutions. In addition to being fun to make, these cookies will entice your kids to come into the kitchen and bake along with you.
- Classic cookies are the staple cookies that you always had in your kitchen when you were growing up. Baking these recipes will give you the techniques you need to tackle more complex recipes later.
- The holiday cookie recipes blend traditional American holiday celebrations with cookies from Italy, Germany, Russia, Norway and Wales.
- Make sure that everyone eating the cookies can do so safely! Many people have nut allergies. Even with no nuts in the cookies, there may be ingredients with nut contact. Ask ahead to see if anyone has a very bad allergy.
- Make Swedish Rye Cookies
- Make No Bake Birds Nest Cookies
- Make No Bake Butterscotch Haystack Cookies
- Make Homemade Milano Cookies
- Make "Better Than Sex" Cake
- Make Lemon Ricotta Muffins
- Bake Sugar Free Cookies