You don’t have to know much about the science behind baking to make delicious cookies — as long as you have a foolproof recipe, that is. Baking is much more precise than cooking, so finding reliable instructions and sticking to them is likely to yield the best result, especially if you’re new to baking.
To find some tried-and-true recipes for basic cookies, we talked to Southern bakers who have spent years perfecting these go-to cookies for bake sales, family gatherings, and holidays. These simple recipes and tips will help you make consistently delicious chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, and snickerdoodles.
Everyone needs a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe on hand. This is a slight twist on the classic, thanks to the inclusion of instant coffee — an optional but highly recommended addition.
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 tablespoons instant coffee (optional, but recommended)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
1 cup roughly chopped, toasted pecans
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine butter and instant coffee in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until butter melts and coffee granules dissolve, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool to room temperature, but don’t let butter resolidify.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
4. Combine butter/coffee mixture, both sugars, egg, and egg yolk in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix at medium speed until light and creamy. Mixture will be dark at first, but as you continue beating, it will change to a light color.
5. Turn mixer to its lowest setting and gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks and pecans. Drop scant ¼-cups cookies two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
6. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for eight to 10 minutes. Cookies should be soft but no longer look wet.
7. Cool slightly on baking sheet, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Yields 18 to 24 cookies.
If you get seasonal cookie cutters, this is a fun seasonal recipe that you can make for many occasions: holidays, birthdays, pool parties — the list goes on.
1 cup butter at room temperature (2 sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
These soft, cinnamon-sugar cookies are great with a glass of milk or a cappuccino. This is the easiest cookie recipe on our list, so it’s a great place to start for beginner bakers.
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter at room temperature (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Cameron Pitts is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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