10 Easy Recipes for America's Favorite Cookies slideshow
May 13, 2015
There are only a handful of cookies that Americans can’t live without, and these are the best ways to make them
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
There is almost nothing better than the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. The rich, comforting aroma brings back cozy childhood memories of gooey cookies and big glasses of milk. This version of the classic delivers on smell, taste, and texture — and just the right amount of chocolate chips.
Linzer Heart Cookies
These decorative cookies make beautiful and tasty gifts. An important tip: be sure to chop the nuts and chocolate very fine in a food processor, or the dough will be too rough-textured to roll out smoothly. You need a graduated set of heart-shaped cookie cutters to make these.
Tip: The Perfect Ratio
While the ratio of mix-ins to dough is often left to personal preference, King says that a safe standard to go by is 50/50. She explains that the beauty of any cookie is that each taste comes through — the butter, the salt, the vanilla, the chocolate.
Tip: The Butter
Butter is key for baking cookies; too soft and the cookie dough will run in the oven, and too hard and your ingredients will not mix together well. Baggett says that the best way to soften butter is to leave it at room temperature for about 30 to 45 minutes — you’ll know when it’s ready when there’s only a slight indentation when pressed with your finger. Any pools of melted butter and you’ve gone too far. King also suggests using salted butter, as she does with every cookie recipe at her bakery. "[I often find that] cookies lack salt, [so salted butter] is a great way to balance the ingredients."
Tip: How to Get a Specific Cookie Texture
King says that no matter what cookie you crave — soft, chewy, crunchy, or cakey — you can get that result just by varying how long and at what temperature you bake your cookies. Want crunchy, hard sugar cookies? Bake them at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time. Looking for ultra-soft chocolate chip cookies? Refrigerate the dough before you bake them and put it directly into the oven while it's still cold.
For people who like simple cookies, tender snickerdoodles are better than the fanciest decorated cookie. They are all about sugar and spice, but if you like vanilla, add a teaspoon to the dough. This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so have designated recipients before you start baking.
Tip: Dry Ingredients
Dry ingredients, or the leavening agents, are one of the most important parts to your cookie, but King says you don’t have to be exact. If you want to take out a certain dry ingredient, make sure to substitute it with another like cocoa powder, whole-wheat flour, or oats, she says. For a less cakey cookie, use less baking powder, and for a denser cookie, use more baking soda.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Easy to make, these peanut butter cookies wouldn't be complete without their crosshatch pattern. Chef Evan Packer suggests using a higher-end peanut butter so that your cookies do not come out too sweet.
Often a classic around the holidays, thumbprint cookies are widely popular because of the variety of fillings to choose from to fill that shallow hole. Whether filled with a favorite jam, peanut butter, or a Hershey's kiss, thumbprint cookies remain a class cookie to many.
As we said before, cookies should be a constant size throughout the entire batch. For cookies that you aren’t using cookie cutters for, the best way to ensure consistency is by using an ice cream scoop and to space them out evenly.
Tip: Don’t Overmix
Remember not to overmix your dough. If you’re looking for light and fluffy, bake a cake, says King. Overmixing your dough will take away that firm texture cookies are known for.
White Chocolate-Macadamia Drop Cookies
This recipe updates the standard white chocolate macadamia cookies that have been all the rage. These cookies are fairly large, chewy, and nutty-crisp. The recipe first calls for browning the butter in a saucepan and then toasting the nuts in the bubbling-hot fat for an extra-rich effect.