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12 Tips For The Best Cookies!

 

Cookies! Cookies! Cookies! They’re everywhere this time of year. I admit it — I’m human. I love cookies!

Since most people love homemade cookies, they make a great gift to give any time of the year. I’ve tried to teach my children that it doesn’t matter how much something costs, it’s about the thought that goes into the gift. I know my children really enjoy baking with me. It allows special time together to just be in the moment. Making homemade cookies, cookie bars or ready to make cookie kits is a wonderfully heartfelt way to show you care. That personal touch, plus the delicious specialness of homemade treats, is always appreciated.

As a rule, I don’t keep cookies in the house. I try to limit my sugar intake so if I’m going to indulge; I want a really yummy cookie. I can’t remember the last time I ate a store bought chocolate chip cookie. I’m a homemade cookie snob.

This all started when I moved into my first apartment and my budget was super tight. My roommate and I agreed we would only make cookies from scratch, thus saving money (and limiting our sugar consumption.) I started to really appreciate the difference between store-bought and homemade.

What I learned was how easy it is to make cookies from scratch.

12 Tips For The BEST Homemade Cookies!

  1. Butter: Butter needs to be room temperature. Just leave it on the counter to soften. From refrigerator to counter, it takes about 30 minutes to come to room temperature. I’ve even left mine out on the counter overnight. It won’t go bad due to the high fat content. It should feel soft when pressed.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together: If your recipe calls for butter (and most do) then make sure you cream them together first, before adding any extra ingredients.Use an electric mixer to blend together until smooth. Read about the science behind why this is an important step.
  3. Eggs: Add one at a time. Make sure you are using the right size egg as per the recipe. Most recipes, like DinnerTime’s, assume large eggs, which are about 3.25 tablespoons of egg. Medium eggs are 3 tablespoons and extra-large eggs are about 4 tablespoons. If a recipe calls for two large eggs that means the proportions of the recipe are counting on about 6 1/2 tablespoons of liquid egg. Using extra-large or even jumbo eggs in place of large eggs, will add more liquid that the recipe proportions account for.
  4. Salt: I try to watch my salt intake, but if the recipe calls for salt, don’t skip it. Salt is a key ingredient for your cookie to taste great. Most recipes call for 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt. Ordinarily a teaspoon of salt is all you should have in a day, but unless you plan to eat the entire batch of cookies (!) this will not derail a low-salt diet. 
  5. Measuring: Unlike cooking a chicken where adding a little extra sage might be to your taste, baking is an exact science. This is why baking is a good way to introduce beginners to the joys of home cooking where following directions is all they need to do. You can try different types of chocolate chips or add some nuts, but the dimensions are key to the cookie forming and cooking correctly.
  6. Flour: Different flours can give a different quality to a cookie. Most recipes call for all-purpose flour but if you want to experiment, try bread flour for a chewier cookie or cake flour for a more delicate result. if you want to try other types of flour such as almond flour or coconut flour, your other ingredients may also change, due to the moisture content.
  7. Refrigerate the dough: If rolling out your dough for cookie cutters, chilled dough is easier and less sticky. Chilled dough is also key for sugar cookies. If you notice your cookies are melting together as they cook, it’s a good indication they needed to chill first. Before cooking, pop a tray in the freezer or fridge for about 15 minutes , ensuring less spreading. I often make dough to keep in the freezer, ready for spur of the moment requests.
  8. Cool Pans: Just like keeping your dough chilled, it’s important that the cooking pan be cool to the touch. Many a time, I’ve put my pans in the freezer to cool them.
  9. No Stick: Prepare pans with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Be green, save on rolls of parchment paper by using nonstick baking mats. If the cookies are sticking too much, you can put them back in the oven for a few minutes to warm up and the sugars will soften so you can remove them from your cookie sheet.
  10. Sizing: Make sure the dough is of equal size as you place it on your cookie sheet or they won’t all cook evenly. Use a spoon or a small scooper to ensure uniformity. Remember the cookies will need a little room between each other to spread out.
  11. Flatten cookies: If you want flatter cookies, just bang the trays on the counter as you take them from the oven, and they will “fall”. If you do it a couple of times they will get a nice ripple effect. If this doesn’t work, use your spatula to gently press down on each cookie.
  12. Storing: Once the cookies have cooled, store in an airtight container. An old trick passed down in my family is to place a slice of apple (wrapped in parchment paper) in the cookie tin to keep gingerbread cookies soft.
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