Everyone loves a fresh, homemade cookie
, especially when it’s warm from the oven. But sometimes the amount of work that goes into making cookies from scratch outweighs our desire to indulge. Some cookie recipes require way too much work (you know the bite-size, cream-filled, chocolate-glazed confections we’re referring to) and others take too many shortcuts. Some recipes call for obscure or hard-to-find items while others skip flavor-enhancing ingredients in the name of simplicity. Some recipes just have confusing instructions that make baking feel impossible. Luckily, we have some recipes that strike the perfect balance between effort and results.
We reviewed just about every cookie recipe
we could find and ranked them based on five categories with up to 20 points possible in each. Recipes could earn points based on the number of steps involved, the number of ingredients needed, and the amount of active time involved in making the cookies (with lower numbers yielding higher scores), and for their star rating from users. A fifth category — editorial discretion — allowed up to 20 points for a combination of factors like taste, creativity, and the accessibility of the ingredients. The goal was to balance out the amount of work that goes into executing a particular recipe and the resulting cookie; we wanted to find delicious cookie recipes that you can make with a reasonable amount of effort.
We also know that, even with the right recipe, cookies can sometimes go wrong. In order to make sure your cookies bake up perfectly, we gathered some expert tips from Rose Levy Beranbaum
, author of The Baking Bible
. Here’s how to troubleshoot some of the most common cookie problems:
Problem: The cookie dough cracks when rolling it.
Solution: Try covering the dough with plastic wrap before rolling. If it still doesn’t come together smoothly, spritz with a little water and knead it together until smooth. Or, if the dough is too cold, allow it to sit at room temperature until softened.
Problem: The cookies spread too much while baking and are too flat.
Solution: Use higher-protein flour and/or less sugar. Flour your hands before shaping to make a more rounded cookie. It also helps to chill the shaped cookie dough before baking. Avoid placing the cookie dough on hot or warm baking sheets.
Problem: Cookie dough rolled into a log flattens on one side.
Solution: Place the plastic-wrapped dough log in PVC plastic tubing or a cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels. If necessary, cut the cardboard tube along the length so that it can be opened up to accommodate the size of the dough log. Secure it at both ends with rubber bands and stand it on end in the freezer. If the tube is too long, cut it into sections and divide the dough log accordingly.
Problem: The cookies brown too much on the bottoms.
Solution: Bake them on a higher rack, or use insulated (or double) cookie sheets.
Problem: The cookies are not soft enough.
Solution: Remove them from the oven while they are still a little soft. Remove them from the cookie sheet as soon as they are firm enough to lift without bending.
So, now that you’ve got the best recipes and some expert tips for working with cookie dough, it’s time to start baking!
Although they take a bit of work and advance planning, these deliciously sweet poppy-seed-filled cookies are well worth the effort. Just be sure to refrigerate your dough until it is firm; otherwise, it will be hard to work with.Click here for the recipe.
Chocolate Cayenne Lime Cookie Cake
(Credit: Rachel McGinn)
This spicy and sweet cookie cake is flavorful and fun, and also happens to be vegan and gluten-free. Start making the vanilla frosting before you make the cake because it takes about four hours for the base to set in the fridge.
Or, use the links below to go directly to a recipe:
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.