Traditional recipes

Being a Good Cookie

Being a Good Cookie

At the end of September, Cooking Light hosted a bake sale at the local farmer’s market to support one of our favorite causes, Cookies for Kids Cancer (see a post about the organization by Julie Grimes).

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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Gretchen Witt founded the nonprofit in 2008 to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer research; her son, Liam, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at age 2. Since the organization began, Gretchen and her team have raised more than $400,000 through the sale of their own delicious cookies, but also by encouraging communities around the country to host their own bake sales for the cause.

Being lovers of sweets and huge fans of Gretchen, the Cooking Light team jumped at the chance to help.

Senior editor Cindy Hatcher (left) spearheaded the sale. She was joined by recipe tester Adam Hickman (right) and other members of our editorial and test kitchen staff. In addition to mountains of cookies, cakes, and brownies, our sale also included a cookie decorating station and raffle prizes of cookbooks and cool kitchen gadgets. By morning’s end, we raised just over $1,000!

Interested in hosting your own bake sale? Check out the CFKC website. And don't miss test kitchen director Vanessa Pruett’s Chocolate Shortbread.


17 Things to Do With a Tube of Store-Bought Cookie Dough Recipes

A package of store-bought cookie dough is a very useful thing to have lurking in the back of your fridge, waiting for a sweet craving to strike! Of course you can use it for its intended purpose — place as many lumps of dough as you desire on top of a baking tray and voila! In minutes you can be enjoying warm cookies with a glass of cold milk (or whatever beverage you prefer).

We collected 17 fun and delicious recipes with which a tube of cookie dough can be put to great use. Click though our slideshow and discover what wonderful cookie creations you could be making with that humble tube of cookie dough!


The Very Best Cookie Recipes for Shipping

There's no better way to send some love than with a package of homemade cookies. Follow our tips and tricks for making sure those cookies are just as tempting and tasty when they get to their destination as they were on the day you baked them.

When it comes to mailing, not all cookies are created equal. Cookies with uniform shapes and sizes are the best for packing&mdashavoid those with odd angles and irregular shapes. (Sorry, reindeer sugar cookies! Your antlers just aren't going to survive the journey.) Circles, like the Vanilla-Bean Sugar Cookies shown here, as well as squares, triangles, bars anything that can be stacked and packed snugly together is a good choice.

Next, think about the texture of the cookies you want to gift, and eliminate from your list anything that is especially crumbly, delicate, or sticky. The best kinds of cookies for mailing are those that are firm and crunchy&mdashlike shortbread, biscotti, and gingerbread&mdashand those that are somewhat soft and chewy, like snickerdoodles, molasses cookies, brownies, and other bar cookies.

After your cookies are all baked and decorated, be sure to give them time to cool completely and check that the icing (if any) has dried. Fresh-from-the-oven cookies might be a real treat in the moment, but they will fuse into one gooey, crumbly mass if you pack them up while they're still warm.

The best cookie shipping vessel is an airtight food storage container or tin. Fit the cookies into the container snugly, with as little space in between them as possible. If the cookies are at all soft, put a sheet of parchment paper between each layer so they don't stick together. If you're mailing more than one kind of cookie, pack any crunchy cookies separately from the soft ones so they all maintain the right texture.

Finally, pack your container of cookies into a larger box with padding on all sides (crumpled paper, foam peanuts, or air-popped popcorn) to give your treats a smooth ride all the way to your lucky friends and family.


19 great cookie recipes for when you need baking inspiration

For someone with a sweet tooth who demands instant gratification and gets bored with extended baking projects, there is no better spending-a-day-inside-at-home activity than baking cookies. Most cookies require less than an hour of measuring, mixing, and scooping. The process is simple enough that kids can join in, and you can feel proud of yourself for finding a way to entertain them for 20 minutes or so. Then, after a brief interlude in the oven, which will make your house smell amazing, you get fresh, warm comfort. And, as a bonus, you’ll have extras to nibble on all week long or to share with friends and neighbors.

Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite cookie recipes from The Takeout archive, including selections from all the greatest cookie groups: shortbread, gingersnap, coffee-dunking biscuit, holiday cookies, and, of course, chocolate chip.

Note to desktop users: If you’d like to view this story in a scrolling layout, you can narrow your browser window. You can also click “List Slides” at any time to see the full list and navigate to particular recipes.


Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Don't have a fancy piping set to decorate cookies? You don't need one. You can easily ice cookies by using a plastic bag. Simply add the icing to a sandwich bag and cut a very small corner at the bottom. Seal the bag and slowly ice the edges of the cookies!

Get our recipe for Gingerbread Cookies.


50+ Best Cookie Recipes

As a recipe blogger, it’s basically my job to whip up yummy treats and test them out on your behalf. I know, I know, I’ve got a tough gig! I’ve made a lot of cookies over the years, and this list of delicious recipes is made up of the best of the best.

If you’re craving a warm, homemade cookie, I’ve got 50+ of them for you to try right here. There are so many delicious recipes, it’s hard to pick a favorite. So scroll through this list and pick a few to add to your baking list today!


Can You Freeze The Perfect Cookie Base?

Yes! You can freeze the dough unbaked OR you can freeze the cookies after they’ve been baked!

To freeze the dough:

  1. Portion out the dough with a cookie scoop.
  2. Place all the dough onto a baking sheet.
  3. Freeze the portioned dough for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the tray from the freezer and transfer the dough into a large zip-top bag to freeze for up to 30 days.
  5. Bake according to recipe instructions, but add 2 minutes to the bake time. No need to thaw!

To freeze baked cookies:

  1. Allow the cookies to cool completely.
  2. Place the cookies in a large zip-top bag in a single layer, or a large airtight container stacked, with parchment or wax paper in between the layers.
  3. Freeze for up to 30 days.
  4. Thaw at room temperature. Microwave each cookie for 10 seconds to get it warm and gooey.


Troubleshooting Your Cookie Problems

To prevent cookies from becoming hard and tough, avoid adding more flour than necessary to the cookie dough or batter. Also, avoid overmixing once the flour is added.

My cookies never seem to bake evenly.

For even baking, be sure to shape cookies to roughly the same thickness.

My cookies are always too brown on the bottom.

If you have a problem with your cookies being too brown on the bottom, avoid dark-colored cookie sheets. Instead, use heavy-gauge metal cookie sheets with a dull finish (aluminum is ideal).

My cookies always seem to melt on the cookie sheet.

When baking cookies in batches, cool the cookie sheet to room temperature before placing more cookies on it. (You can do this quickly by running the bottom of the sheet under cool water for a few seconds.) A hot cookie sheet will melt the dough. If the recipe calls for greasing the sheet, regrease for each batch.

I always burn my cookies.

To avoid overcooking, check cookies at the minimum baking time suggested in the recipe, and then watch them closely during their last few minutes in the oven. Also, after baking be sure to remove small cookies from cookie sheet to wire rack right away because they'll continue to bake on the hot sheet.

My drop cookies always seem too soft.

Straight from the oven, most drop cookies are too soft to handle. Let them cool for a minute before transferring to a rack.

My cookies always seem to spread too much when I bake them.

You may be greasing the cookie sheet when the recipe doesn't call for it or your cookie sheet may be too warm.

My cookies never seem done in the time the recipe suggests.

If the recipe says to preheat the oven, allow at least 10 minutes for it to reach the correct baking temperature. Also, check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer. To do this, place the thermometer in the center of the oven. If the temperature in the oven doesn't match the one on the oven dial, you may need to adjust your oven dial to compensate for a too-hot or too-cool oven.

I always end up with a bunch of dough scraps when I bake.

Always start cutting at the edge of dough and work toward the center, cutting cookies as close together as possible to minimize scraps.

When I transfer my cookie cutouts from the cutting board to the cookie sheet, they always become misshapen.

Transfer fragile cookies from board to cookie sheet with a pancake turner. If your dough is particularly soft, roll it right on the cookie sheet instead of a cutting board, and chill the rolled dough. After it's chilled, cut out the cookies and transfer them to another cookie sheet, spacing them properly.

My cookies become soggy and lose their shape when I try to cool them.

Don't overlap cookies on a wire rack or place them on top of each other &mdash this will cause them to become soggy and out of shape.

My cookies become hard right away, so my family doesn't like them as much the next day.

Placing a slice of bread in the cookie jar can soften cookies that are too hard change the slice every other day. A bread slice will also keep soft cookies soft, just as it softens hardened brown sugar.

I always over- or undercook my bar cookies.

To test bar cookies for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the pan it should come out clean (unless the recipe specifies otherwise). Other cookies are done when they're firm at the edges.

My bar cookies always crumble.

To prevent bar cookies from crumbling, always cool them in the pan before cutting.

I like to give cookies as gifts, but they always get destroyed when I'm transporting them.

Wrap cookies in a tight-fitting container as soon as they've cooled off. Line the container with waxed paper or plastic wrap, and place a thick cushion of crumpled waxed paper on the bottom. Then pack the cookies in pairs, back to back, with waxed paper in between. You can also wrap cookies in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the heaviest items on the bottom and arrange layers with waxed-paper cushions, including one at the top of the container.

I need to send a holiday care package, but don't know how to pack it properly.

Pick sturdy cookies that are "good travelers." Then wrap, package, and mail them as soon as they're cooled. Use a container with a tight-fitting lid that is only slightly larger than the contents. Line the container with waxed paper or plastic wrap, and place a thick cushion of crumpled waxed paper on the bottom. Then pack the cookies in pairs, back to back, with waxed paper in between. Place the heaviest items on the bottom and arrange layers with waxed-paper cushions, including one at the top of the container. Seal with strong adhesive tape. Place the container of cookies in a similar-size box and address the package with waterproof ink.


This really depends on what recipe you’re using, but there’s a few tricks you can try to increase the chewiness in your chocolate chip cookie recipe.

  • Use a combo of brown sugar and granulated sugar in your chocolate chip cookie recipe. The brown sugar has more moisture in it naturally, which brings more moisture to the cookies, resulting in a more chewy texture.
  • Watch your cooking time and temperature. Set a timer for a minute or two less than you think you’ll need, so you don’t accidentally over-bake your chocolate chip cookies. Also, if your chocolate chip cookies consistently come out burnt and crispy on the bottom but perfect and chewy on the top, invest in a good oven-safer thermometer to check if your oven is cooking true to temperature.
  • Use butter, not shortening. Butter has more than just fat, it also has solids and moisture, which both make for a chewy cookie. Other chocolate chip cookie recipes may call for a combo of both, which is ok, too.
  • Make sure you refrigerate your cookie dough before baking. This one is really important, because a warm dough may spread too much, and flatter cookies are more likely to crisp up. You can have the perfect cookie recipe, but it goes wrong because of skipping this step.

Related Video

Some of the preparation instructions seem to be missing. The full instructions are: In large bowl of a standing electric mixer beat together butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in yolks, 1 at a time, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in flour gradually, beating dough until just combined well. Remove dough from bowl and divide into equal halves. Wrap each half in waxed paper and aluminum foil and chill in the fridge until needed. This recipe will yield approximately 3 pounds of dough, or enough to make 2 different cookie variations.

These cookies were delicious! I used them as a roll out. Make sure you flour your surface and rolling pin well. Baked at 350 for about 10-12 min. They didn't stick to the baking sheet, but using a Silpat made them break less when I removed them from the sheet. Would definitely make again. Yum!

i first used this recipe to make all of my holiday cookies in 1995! I have used it every year since. I use the basic dough which is a snap to make, and roll out 2" logs to dip in dark chocolate, the raspberry squares, the orange cranberry oatmeal and many more. It is very forgiving and freezes beautifully. I make several batches of dough at Thanksgiving, freeze them and pull them out when I need to bake for company or gifts! If I don't make these cookies, my family and friends complain until I do!

I have been making cookies with this dough almost every year since the recipe was published. They are so good, and I get so many compliments that I haven't needed to try any other recipes. It can be made in advance and it freezes well. In addition to the cookie recipes listed here, the original article included Almond Butter Crisps, Spiced Icebox Butter Cookies and Apricot Stars (these are all in Epicurious). They are all made with the same dough, and one batch of dough makes 2 batches of the cookie recipes. I usually make 3 batches of dough, for 6 different cookies. The Apricot Stars are much too fiddly, but I make all the others, except for the Spritz Wreaths. Everyone has a different favorite.

This is the only cookie dough I make. It's fabulous for all the cookies listed and also for roll out decorated cookies and thumbprints. So quick to put together and absolutely delicious. I follow the recipe exactly.

My coworker introduced me to this recipe, and now I will be making them every year. It's a great dough for icebox cookies- divide the dough and flavor as many different ways as you like!

These were really delicious, easy butter cookies to make. I used them for making spritz cookies with a cookie press. They came out as very delicate, buttery cookies. Everyone thought they were from a bakery. except they know me better than that!! Definitely would make again.

Best ever butter cookies and a traditional gift for the holidays. Our family favorites are the orange cranberry oatmeal cookies and the chocolate dipped coconut sticks.

I thought the dough was easy to make, but it tasted uncooked even after 15 minutes in the oven. I made the cranberry oatmeal cookies and the mocha butter balls, and neither one was a hit.

Excellent recipe for a very basic buttery rich dough w/lots of great variations. You can be very creative with this and put pretty much anything in, or on it, that you would for any other cookie.

I use this dough for Raspberry Hazelnut Triangles and they are absolutely wonderful. For those asking about cooking time and temperature, it depends on what you do with the dough. Check out the section at the top of the recipe that says "This recipe is used to make" and in each of those recipes you will find a cooking time and temperature.

What degree do I cook these cookies? Is this a good recipe for rolling out and using cookie cutters? I need a recipe to share with all my toodler friends for Christmas. Please let me know how long to bake the coolies too!

this is my first time with this recipe, a number of years ago a friend of mine had done these for her holiday cookies. i always wanted to try them. i am still in the process of baking these but what i really appreciate is the creativity they brought out! I decided if you can do expresso and spice you can do teas! I made a green tea flavor with a sweetened matcha green tea and then a chai flavor with a powdered chai i had on hand. the chai are still baking - but the green tea was awsome. note - they didn't stay in a ball shape which i had hoped for. on the subject of texture, what i like about these is that they are like mexican wedding cookies in texture. adds great variety in holiday collection.

This is my favorite cookie recipe. I have baked it every Christmas (and in almost every month of the year. My family and I love the jelly bowl cookies: I make them with seedless raspberry jam. In addition to the variations from the magazine article, I also add mini chocolate chips for extra rich chocolate chip cookies. I recently served over 400 cookies made with two full batchs of the basic recipe at my business open house. Everyone who came into Paper Studio in Minocqua, Wisconsin enjoyed the cookies and wanted the recipe. I was thrilled that I was able to find it the the Epicurious site and did not have to re-type it. If you follow the directions from the original recipe, the cookies turn out perfectly every time!

Easy to make and very versatile. I use it every year for my Christmas cookie base. Fab!

The best butter cookie recipe! I have used it every year since published. It's a standby. Use it as the base for related recipes - thumbprint, chocolate dipped and cranberry/orange/oatmeal and you won't be disappointed.

Makes perfect butter cookies! I experimented baking the cookies straight after making the dough, and also freezing the dough overnight, and then baking cookies next day. Both options work well, altho not freezing the dough makes a slightly softer/less crispy cookie.

I do not understand why people keep giving less than perfect ratings to recipes that through thier OWN error didn't turn out right. Remember if YOU dont follow directions given, Then your rating is NOT accurate and you are actually rating YOUR recipe, not thiers

This has been a staple in my holiday baking since 1995. I've tried the coconut/chocolate, cranberry/orange and thumbprint variations and they are all excellent.

I made the mocha, jewel, spice and almond cookies for xmas 2006. The mocha ones looked pretty but tasted awful. The cookies were too dry and crumbly so I had to keep adding milk and they didn't taste as good. My mistake was in making the dough in advance and refrigerating it. The buttery mixture needs to be soft when it goes into the oven to get the biscuits tasting butery and soft.

I form dough into rolls (like ice box cookies), freeze, slice thin and bake. Then warm apricot, peach, or raspberry preserves in microwave and sandwich between cookies. My most requested cookie recipe

I loved the versatility of being able to make so many different xmas cookies. However, I found the mixture to be dry, crumbly and bland, even after I added some milk. Of all the varieties only the thumbrint and spice ones were really worth all the trouble.

I'll keep this in my cookie recipe favorites. Very versitile. I made the mocha butter balls and also made a batch of this dough and added chopped dates and cardamom. The dates kept the cookies a bit more moist than the mocha cookies. Delicious.

Great! Wonderful for a cookie press if you reduce the flour slightly. Also great for pinwheel-type cookies. Look at recipe for meringues: chocolate walnut, for all those leftover egg whites. I did have to laugh at the reviewer before me, about it having too strong of a butter taste! These are nothing but pure butter. You can can add a bit of almond flavoring and stripe them with chocolate..yum!

Very tasty dough with a strong buttery flavor. By itself it's a little bland, but it was excellent in the Mocha Butter and Spiced Icebox versions. The dough is really easy to slice thin once it has chilled (I left mine in the fridge overnight and baked the next day).


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