Secrets for Successful Cookies
Use butter, stick margarine (with at least 80% oil) or shortening. Whipped, tub, soft, liquid or reduced-fat products contain air and water and will produce flat, tough, underbrowned cookies.
Measure ingredients accurately, using the measuring tools and techniques on pages 7 and 8.
Avoid overmixing the dough. If it's handled too much, the cookies will be tough.
Use heavy-gauge dull aluminum baking sheets with one or two low sides. When a recipe calls for greased baking sheets, use shortening or nonstick cooking spray. Dark finishes may cause the cookies to become overly browned.
Preheat the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
For even baking, make cookies the same size and thickness.
Unless the recipe states otherwise, place cookie dough 2 to 3 in. apart on a cool baking sheet.
Leave at least 2 in. around the baking sheet and the oven walls for good heat circulation. For best results, bake only one sheet of cookies at a time. If you need to bake two sheets at once, switch the position of the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.
Check the cookies when the minimum baking time has been reached, baking longer if needed. Follow doneness tests given in individual recipes.
Unless otherwise directed, let cookies cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely before storing.
Let baking sheets cool before placing the next batch of cookies dough on them. Otherwise, the heat from the baking sheet will soften the dough causing it to spread.