In honor of National Cookie month, first tuesday brings you the following tips in your quest to bake the *perfect* cookie.

One should always take extreme care in making and baking cookies, for cookies are nothing to joke about (wink, wink).

Accurately measuring the ingredients is key. For dry goods like flour and sugar, nested metal or plastic measuring cups work well. Flour does not require sifting and should be leveled off using a straight edge before adding to the other ingredients. Glass or plastic cups with a spout are to be used with liquids only. Using a glass measuring cup for flour, for example, will throw off the mix, resulting in dry cookies. This is not a good thing. After the dough is properly mixed, be sure to allow chill time — for the cookies and yourself, if necessary.

Love chocolate chip cookies? You are a fan of the classic drop cookie. When mixing a drop cookie recipe, the electric mixer will be an indispensable tool to achieve the perfect consistency, although it is important to avoid over-mixing to avoid tough cookies.

Rolled cookies — the sort with stamped shapes — require different care than a drop cookie. An example of a rolled cookie is the sugar cookie. With this type of cookie, one should dust the rolling surface and rolling pin with flour to prevent sticking. A pastry cloth may be used for this purpose as well. After the chilled dough is rolled to an even thickness, the dough should be cut as close together as possible using cookie cutters.

When you are ready to bake your cookies, the first item to consider is the cookie sheet — rectangular, heavy aluminum or nonstick is best. With the drop cookie, use two metal spoons to “drop” the dough onto the cookie sheet. Dough should be placed about two inches apart to keep the cookies from baking together. It’s a good idea to have at least three or four cookie sheets on hand in order to cook multiple batches one after another.

Dependent upon the specific cookie you are making, bake times will vary. The best part about baking cookies? Sneaking that first one from the pan as it comes straight out of the oven. If you prefer your cookies room temperature, a cooling rack is a necessity.


For tips from the baking masters, please visit: y/data/cookiebakingtips_cookies_02272002.xml&catref=SC169