I realize that baking isn’t brain surgery. That requires totally different equipment and an oven is seldom needed. That said, there are a couple general bits I want to cover before you plunge into my cookie recipes.
- All my cookie flavors begin with either a basic chocolate or vanilla cookie dough. For this reason you’ll find all the recipes with a chocolate base under “Chocolate Variations” and all the recipes with a vanilla base under “Vanilla Variations.”
- Each recipe makes one batch of cookie dough which I realize is about as vague a quantity as I could have provided but because the thickness you roll your cookies and the size of cookie cutters will vary, the number of cookies in each batch could range from 1 really ginormous cookie to 75 minis. For those who require more specific estimates, one batch makes EXACTLY ________ 3 inch cookies rolled at 1/4 inch thickness.
- In all my recipes I use volume measurements (teaspoon, tablespoon, cup) except for the flour which is measured by weight. There are a number of factors when measuring flour by the cup that can effect the final quantity. Was the flour condensed in the flour bag or fluffed up with air prior to measuring? Was the cup filled by plunging into the flour bag or by adding spoonfuls of flour until it was full. Was the measuring cup leveled by shaking off the excess or scraping with a knife? Each of these factors vary from baker to baker as well as from batch to batch which lends to inconsistent results in the finished cookie dough. Measuring the flour by weight rather than volume provides a consistent amount each time and thus the dough remains consistent from batch to batch. It works for me but if you’re more comfortable using measuring cups then make note that in my recipes 149 grams is translated as 1 cup. You do the math.
- My recipes are tweaked and tested using extra-large eggs and yes, the size of the egg matters because the liquid content varies enough between large and jumbo eggs to make a noticeable difference to your dough. If you use small or large eggs there’s a chance the dough will end up too dry and if you use jumbo eggs you might find yourself stuck with a sticky dough. If that happens, don’t come whining to me because I will almost guarantee you I’ll tell you I told you so.
- I use salted butter because it has a longer shelf life and because if I’m making popcorn on a cold winter night and raid my cookie butter I want salted butter. You can use either salted or unsalted butter in the recipes but either way, just leave the salt in the recipe alone. Doing it this way my cookies have never tasted like they needed more salt or were too salty.
- In the recipes the directions will either read “add half the flour, mix, and then add the remaining flour” or “add the flour one cup at a time mixing between each.” Neither are exactly true. When I make cookies I dump all the dry ingredients in at once, beat for about 20 seconds, scrap up any dry ingredients that escaped to the bottom of the bowl, and then beat again just until everything is full combined into cookie dough magic. I didn’t mention that method in the recipe instructions because there’s just no way to say “dump in flour” and have it sound like a legit recipe.
- Now, remember what I said in the first bullet point about the importance of exact measurements with your flour? I’m still sticking to that story but I also need to spill the whole truth. The starter vanilla and chocolate recipes created by LilaLoa that I build all my other flavors on are incredibly forgiving. They’re up for a little baker abuse so if you find the finished dough sticky, simply hand-knead in small amounts of flour until you can touch it and pull your finger away clean. If the dough is too dry to work with, hand-knead in an additional egg white. The finished dough should have the feel of Playdoh but if it tastes like Playdoh you weren’t paying attention to the recipe and if that’s the case I can’t help you.