A quality cookie sheet in good condition can make all the difference when you make cookies.
- Replace cookie sheets that are warped or dark from years of baked-on grease.
- Purchase shiny, heavy-gauge cookie sheets that have very low or no sides.
- Be sure cookie sheets fit easily in your oven with one to two inches of space around the pan.
When it comes to cookies, butter is king. It adds that delicious flavor, texture, and richness you expect. Only substitute another ingredient if the option is offered in the recipe instructions. Start with butter softened to room temperature. It should have lost its chill and be spreadable; 30 minutes should do the trick. Never use melted butter unless specifically called for.
Tip: To speed up softening butter, cut the cold stick into pieces.
Mixing Cookie Ingredients
Whether you're making drop cookies (such as chocolate chip or oatmeal), shaped cookies (such as peanut butter blossoms), or cutout cookies (such as rolled sugar cookies), you'll use the same general process to make cookie dough.
- Beat butter with an electric mixer until smooth. This ensures the butter is adequately softened and eliminates lumps.
- Beat in the sugar and other dry ingredients (except flour). This is called creaming. Creaming incorporates air into the cookie dough, ensuring light cookies. Scrape sides of bowl as needed to get a uniform mixture.
- Beat in the egg and any other liquid ingredients, such as vanilla. There should be no streaks of egg in the mixture.
- Beat in as much flour as you can with the electric mixer. Some hand mixers bog down if the dough gets too stiff. Don't burn out the mixer.
- Work in any remaining flour and dry ingredients, such as nuts, oats, or chocolate pieces, with a heavy-duty scraper or wooden spoon. Stir just until the flour is incorporated.
- If making drop cookies, such as chocolate chip cookies, drop your cookie dough by rounded teaspoons or a small cookie scoop onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake as directed in the recipe.
- If making shaped cookies, such as peanut butter blossoms or chocolate crinkles, shape your dough and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet as directed in the recipe.
- If making cutout cookies, such as sugar cookies cutouts, chill your dough until easy to handle. Roll out dough on a floured surface, cut shapes, and bake on ungreased cookie sheets as directed.