Cookies are easy, fun to make, delicious and who can eat just one? She will love them! The word cookie comes form the Dutch Koekje which means “little cake.” They can be all shapes, sizes colors and flavors and they are categorized by the technique used to create them. There is the slice and bake, drop, cut out, pressed, bar cookies, wafer or ice cookies.
Most cookies are made from the same basic ingredients. The dry ingredients consist of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. The sweetness comes from sugars such as granulated and/or brown sugar. The fat is either softened butter or margarine and sometimes shortening. Eggs and extracts such as vanilla are commonly used.
Making the dough is pretty consistent with all cookies. Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, mix soft fats (butters) and sugars, then add your slightly beaten eggs and vanilla. To this mixture, slowly add the dry ingredients until well mixed. Usually at this point the extra flavorings are added to the dough. Then the dough is prepared the way dictated by the cookie type.
Cookie Makin' Basics
• Follow the recipe exactly. This isn’t the time to improvise. Try not substitute fats. If the recipe calls for butter, use butter.
• Bring all ingredients to room temperature (unless instructed otherwise.)
• Measure ingredients according to the recipe exactly.
• It’s very important to make sure you oven's thermostat is correct, or you may end up with raw or burnt cookies, instead of gooey goodness. Newer ovens may be exempt from this issue. It's easy to check. Get an oven proof thermometer, heat your oven to 350ºF and make sure the oven thermometer reads 350ºF. If you have a gas oven, many gas companies will check it for you for free.
• Use only the freshest ingredients.
• Large eggs are the standard eggs used.
• It's a good idea to crack eggs into a separate bowl before adding them to your mixture. Occasionally an egg will turn bad, and you don't want to have to toss your entire batter.
• Keep the dough chilled in between baking batches of cookies.
• Bake in the middle rack of the oven.
• If baking two sets of cookies at the same, time rotate the racks they are on.
• Cool cookies on a cookie rack or extra oven rack not in use.
Types of Cookies
Drop cookies are easiest to make. They are balls of dough are dropped from a spoon onto a cookie sheet.
Pressed cookies are made by pressing the dough through a cookie press or pastry tube to form different shapes.
Refrigerator or Icebox cookies are prepared by shaping the dough into long rolls and then refrigerating them. Once cold, the dough can be sliced and baked. This is a great prepare-ahead-of-time dough because it can also be frozen.
Rolled cookies take a little more preparation. With a rolling pin, chilled dough is rolled out. The dough is cut into shapes by using a knife, pastry wheel or cookie cutter.
Bar cookies are prepared by putting the dough in a rectangular pan. They are baked and then cut into squares. Most drop cookie recipes can be converted to this type of cookie. These are the easiest cookies to make, because several batches are baked at once.
• Soft cookies, such as bar cookies, are stored in a container with a tight lid. If they tend to dry out, add a slice of apple to the container.
• Crisp cookies should be stored in a container with a loose lid, like a cookie jar. If there is a lot of humidity in your area, add a piece of bread to the container. The bread helps to absorb the moisture.
Additional Cookie Tips
Cookies continue to cook for a few minutes after they are out of the oven. Use a timer to ensure exact cooking times. A hand blender is also another tool you may find useful. The kind your mother had. This blender will come in handy for whip cream which you can put on more than just cookies.
Check out this helpful cooking makin' video!