Learn how to make a perfect batch of cookies, and find delicious cookie recipes!
There are so many good reasons to keep a cookie jar stocked! Cookies are perfect for serving visitors who drop by (or yourself when you're in the mood for a sweet snack), they're the highlight of lunchboxes, and they can be served for dessert (solo or partnered with some ice cream or yogurt). You can make cookies with favorite ingredients, with healthful additions, and to suit particular dietary needs.
In the world of desserts, cookies are easy to make, too. Of course, there's an occasional stumbling block — cookies that spread into one big mass in the oven, cookies that are crisp rather than soft like you prefer them (or vice versa), and cookies that become soggy in the container. All it takes is a little know-how, though, to avoid these pitfalls and produce that perfect batch of cookies.
- As with other baking, always start with room-temperature ingredients.
- To measure flour accurately, stir, and then spoon it into your measuring cup. Don't tamp it down; just level it off with a spatula or knife.
- For a softer cookie, melt your butter rather than simply softening it. And because white sugar produces crisper cookies, substitute honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar in place of all or some of the white sugar if you prefer soft cookies. An extra egg yolk will also increase tenderness (yes, as well as fat).
- After removing cookies from the oven, allow your batch to cool on the pan for 4 or 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. For crisper cookies, remove them to a cooling rack after just a minute.
- Margarines and spreads tend to be watery, which results in cookies that spread, so stick with butter.
- Quality ingredients make all the difference. Dutch process organic cocoa powder, the best vanilla extract (only the real deal, please), pure cane sugar, and top-notch spices will result in the best tasting cookies.
- For lighter, puffier cookies, use baking powder. For browner cookies, use baking soda (the soda neutralizes the cookie dough acidity, resulting in more browning in the oven).
- Play with your recipe. Substitute almond extract or other natural flavorings for the vanilla extract, and your favorite spices for the traditional choice (cardamom for cinnamon, for example). Turn to spice blends such as Apple Pie & Dessert Spice and Pumpkin Pie Spice for full flavor in one jar.
- Fortify cookies with nutritional ingredients, such as nuts and seeds, non-fat dry milk, nutritional yeast, lecithin, and yogurt powder.
- For a sandy textured cookie, cut the fat into your flour during mixing. For a creamier texture, beat the fat and sugars together until light and fluffy.
- Don't overmix your cookie dough, or you'll liquefy the dough and wind up with flat cookies. Once the dry ingredients have been added, mix until just combined.
- Maintain the integrity of your ingredients. Add nuts at the end, to maintain their crunch. Fold in dried fruits and chocolate chips at the end, too.
- Chill the cookie dough before baking, for more body and rise. A half hour to an hour should do it, though overnight won't hurt. (You can also freeze your dough for up to three months.)
- Make sure you fully preheat the oven before baking your cookies.
- Rotate your cookie sheets when your cookies are halfway done, for even baking.
- Don't put the cookies in that cookie jar until they're completely cooled, or condensation will make them soggy. To keep cookies soft, though, put an apple slice in the cookie container.
Looking for some new cookie recipes? Here are some terrific options!
Almond Cookies. Buttery treats take advantage of both almond and vanilla extract!
Anise Cookies. A simple cookie is spiced with the licorice-like bite of anise seeds.
Aswan Date Cookies. Plump, date-filled cookies are sesame-topped.
Carob-Coconut-Pecan Cookies. These vegan cookies are so full of wonderful ingredients -- maple syrup, coconut extract, carob chips, toasted pecans -- they'll be a hit no matter what your dietary persuasion.
Chai Spice Cookies. Try these if you're looking for a shortcut. A spice cake mix is combined with Pumpkin Pie Spice, cardamom and almonds. Topped with vanilla icing for good measure.
Cheddar Cheese Cookies. Here's a good-for-you cookie, with oats, raisins, apple, and cheddar cheese. A perfect after school treat!
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. Start with a Simply Organic Devil's Food Cake Mix, and minutes later you have powdered-sugar topped crinkle cookies.
Cinnamon Meringues. Light and delicious, these melt-in-your-mouth cookies are delicately flavored with ground cinnamon.
Exotic Spice Cookies with Cardamom, White Chocolate, and Ginger. The name says it all, but starting with a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough cuts the hands-on time in half.
Pecan Snowballs. Easy to make but delicious enough for special occasions, these melt in your mouth, like pure snow.
Scandinavian Spice Cookie. Use this recipe as a starting point for creating your own signature cookie. Simply substitute favorite dessert sweeteners and spices for the sugar and cardamom. You might also use another natural flavoring in place of the almond extract.
Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies. No cookie list would be complete without something for devoted chocoholics. This recipe includes chocolate chips, white chocolate, and cocoa!
Find many more cookie recipes in the dessert section of our recipe site. And let us know your favorites!
Be sure to check out our cooking utensils, too.