If you’re new to baking, start with cookies because most cookie recipes are easy to make and learning to bake cookies is good training for graduating to making cakes.
I suggest starting with the easiest cookie which is a Drop cookie. A Drop a cookie is made by dropping spoonful’s of dough onto a baking sheet.
Ingredients for Cookies
Eggs: if the recipe specifies an “egg” then use a large-sized egg unless otherwise indicated.
Flour: use all-purpose flour. Too much flour makes a tough cookie, and too little will cause the cookie to spread out too much on the baking sheet
Creamed Butter and Sugar: Start with soft butter, cool but pliable. Butter can be softened by leaving at room temperature and can also be softened in the microwave but be careful, if left even a second too long the butter will become gooey. Add the sugar and beat on medium setting with an electric hand mixer until soft and well mixed. I don’t own a stand mixer, I don’t have the room in my kitchen, but I can easily accomplish my goals using my handheld 1964 Electric Mixer. You can also cream the butter using just a wooden spoon, it is harder and takes longer but can be done.
A creamed butter will stand up tall and have nice fluffy peaks, under creamed butter will have sandy or graining feel to it.
Liquids: If the recipe calls for milk, you can also substitute a canned evaporated milk that is diluted to the directions on the can’s label.
Flavorings for cookies: Chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, spices or extracts can all be added to drop cookies.
Chocolate: Add about ½ cup of semisweet chocolate pieces for each cup of flour called for in the recipe.
Nuts: ¼ to ½ cups of nut for each cup of flour called for in the recipe. Pieces should be broken and small. Nuts should be the last item added to the dough and mixed using as few strokes as possible. Pecans are an excellent nut to use in cookies.
Dried fruits: you can use a dried or candied fruit and can also be combined with nuts.
Spices: If adding spice use about ½ teaspoon of spice for each cup of flour called for in the recipe.
How to Bake Cookies
I prefer cookie sheets to pans with sides because you get a better browning and also the cookies will just slide off the sheet. Drop a tablespoon of dough onto the cookie sheet leaving 2 inches between each mound of cookie dough.
Preheat oven to 370 degrees. Place cookie sheet on the upper rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Don’t bake the cookies too slowly because they will dry out and this is why you should generally bake cookies on the top rack of the oven.
Approximately one tablespoon of dough makes one cookie, I don’t like large oversized cookie, the smaller ones bake better in my opinion. You want to keep the cookies about the same size so they all cook at the same rate. Since the cookie dough will spread out, keep about 2 inches between each heap of cookie dough.
You can test your dough out by first baking one cookie to see how it turns out if the cookie spreads out too much you can always just add a tad more flour to the dough.
How to Store Cookies
Generally do not store soft and crisp cookies together, the crispy cookies will absorb the moisture from the soft cookies and become kind of wilted. If your crispy cookies do become soft, you can crisp them up in a 300-degree oven for about ten minutes.
Mom would toss a lemon or an apple in the cookie jar to keep them nice and soft, and the cookies would absorb a delicate flavor from the lemon or apple. YUM!
There are a ton of great cookie recipes on the internet , or you can use this basic drop cookie recipe and experiment with creating your own recipe signature cookie.
2 stick butter ( 1 cup)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together. Add egg, vanilla extract, and milk. Mix well.
Gradually add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.