All Your Cookie Questions Answered

Gather ‘round because it’s cookie time. And no, I’m not talking about the annual sale a certain troop of adorable girls peddles every year.

I’m talking about it’s time to talk cookies and then bake them.

But first, I’d love to answer all your pressing questions about making cookies. So, here’s to all your cookie questions answered.

Chocolate chip M&M Cookies on a counter
M&M cookies

Because I know that we all start somewhere, and if you’re new to baking, you may have some questions. That’s what I’m here for, so let’s dive right in!

Are Cookies Considered Dessert?

Cookies are definitely a dessert, one that is easy to serve to a crowd. You can bake up a batch or two (or, if you’re like me, three, four, five, and more!) and then put them on a plate for everyone to grab.

They make excellent gifts too for any occasion like the holidays, birthdays, congratulatory gifts (graduations, new babies, and engagements), or even to cheer up someone you love.

The best part about cookies, though, is that you do not have to wait until after dinner to enjoy them as dessert. They’re a wonderful snack too.

Just ask my kids when they get home from school if they want a cookie. You can probably guess the answer to that!

Cranberry cookies on a plate.
Cranberry chocolate chip cookies

If you love chewy cookies, then you probably feel a bit miffed when they come out crunchy. What gives? 

To make a chewy cookie, you have to vary some of the ingredients that you use to give it that proper texture.

Remember, baking is a science, so when you play with the measurements of the sugar, egg whites, baking soda, and baking powder, you get different results.

The size of the cookie and your baking temperature also play a role.

Learn more about getting that perfectly chewy texture in my post on what makes a cookie chewy?

What makes a cookie chewy? Chocolate Chip cookies are a moist and easy dessert to make.
What makes a cookie chewy?

Yes, they sure can! And some people prefer them that way since they don’t have to scoop the cookie dough out or cut it with cookie cutters.

You can press the dough down into an even layer, and voila! Cookie bars!

M&M Cookie bars on a counter. There are some M&Ms scattered around the bars.
M&M Cookie Bars

If you have a cookie recipe you love that you want to churn out for a crowd, instead of making multiple small batches, you can double the recipe.

You’ll have to watch your measurements, though, and it really helps if your mixer is large enough to hold a double batch.

You’ll need to plan on doubling the ingredients, which requires some math on your part.

However, it can get complicated with baking soda and baking powder.

A handy ratio to keep in mind is that for every cup of flour, you use in a cookie recipe, 1 to 1-1/4 teaspoons of baking powder or ¼ teaspoon of baking soda should be used. 

Snickerdoodles stacked up on a brown plate.
Snickerdoodles without cream of tartar

More cookies are always welcome in our home, but if you see a recipe you like and don’t need so many cookies, you can always cut it in half.

Always remember that when you cut the recipe in half, that applies to the ingredients, not the baking time!

Do your math first to avoid any cookie problems. You may find a kitchen scale to be a helpful way to ensure that everything measures up.

Red velvet cake mix cookies with white chocolate chips on a cooling wire rack.
Red velvet cake mix cookies

Often I’m asked what to do about eggs when a recipe has an odd number, and you cut the recipe in half. It’s an excellent (or should I say ‘eggs-ellent’?) question!

If you have a cookie recipe that calls for one egg and you need to halve the recipe, you can crack the egg and whisk it, then measure the liquid and only use half of what’s there.

When you need just whites or yolks, you can follow much the same method as long as you separate them first. This will help you get the right amount of egg to bind your cookies together when cutting a recipe in half.

Butter pecan cookies on the counter.
Butter pecan cookies

A cookie exchange or cookie swap party is probably one of my favorite types of events. Because cookies! 

The idea is that every guest brings a few dozen cookies to share and exchange with friends. You only bake one recipe, and you come home with lots of crumbs on your face.

Oh yes, and also more cookies to enjoy for later while other guests get to enjoy what you baked.

I love cookie exchanges because it’s a great way to try out different kinds of cookies. And since I love baking (and cookies), it’s a perfect match.

Mostly, these are done during the holiday season, but if you feel like hosting a cookie exchange party any time of year, don’t let that stop you. 

Cake mix cookies on the counter.
Cake mix cookies with butterscotch chips

Can I Make Cookies With Cake Mix?

Absolutely, and it’s a great idea for anyone new to baking. Making cookies with a cake mix only requires a few ingredients.

Like this recipe of mine for cake mix cookie bars, you only need one box of cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and chocolate chips. So simple and so heavenly!

Scroll down for more cookie recipes made with cake mix!

Need to make a big impression with cookies?

These recipes are my most trusted and raved about. White chocolate macadamia nut cookies are absolutely sublime, with the perfect sweetness of white chocolate balanced by Hawaii’s most awesome nuts.

White chocolate macadamia nut cookies on a counter
White chocolate macadamia nut cookies

You can never, ever go wrong by adding M&M’s to cookies, either, just so you know.

M&M cookies on the counter and on a cookie sheet. There are M&Ms scattered around the cookies.
M&M Cookies

And chocolate chip cookies with pudding are the way to make this traditional cookie richer and even more amazing than ever before. Everyone will be asking for your secret recipe!

If you want to get into baking cookies more often, you should make sure you’ve got all the right cookie-baking supplies. 

I often hear from people that have trouble with cookies sticking to cookie sheets, even when they grease them in advance. A Silpat is a wise investment if you’re going to make cookies because it keeps anything from sticking.

Eliminate the struggle and simplify cookie baking!

A cookie sheet works great, too, along with parchment paper, which keeps things from sticking. 

You’ll also need measuring cups, measuring spoons, a cookie scoop, cookie cooling racks, and a Kitchen Aid mixer to put your cookie dough together with ease. 

I like to keep a set of mixing bowls that feature different sizes. I can measure out more than one item and use different bowls. Plus, they nest inside of each other so they don’t take up any more space than one bowl.

If you have the right cookie sheets, baking cookies is even better. To get things baking evenly, choose ones that are non-stick and heat them properly.

I love the ones pictured above by Calphalon, which are a great size. 

Now, here are some general cookie tips and tricks you can use to get the best results, no matter which recipe you choose!

  • Cool it! The dough that is! Chill it in the fridge for a bit first before you scoop it out onto your cookie sheet. This makes for better consistency and keeps them from spreading together in one big blob.
  • Let them sit after baking. You want your cookies to cool on your baking sheet for just a few minutes once pulling them from the oven. Then you can move them to the cooling racks.
  • Avoid overmixing the dough. This can ruin the composition of your cookie.
  • Use a cookie scoop to keep the cookies similar in size. They will bake more evenly when they are all the same and consistent in size.
  • I know it’s hard to be patient when cookies are involved, but you have to resist the urge to put them in the oven before it’s preheated. Additionally, put your trays in the center of the oven so the cookies will cook evenly. 

And now, if you need some cookie recipes for any occasion, here are my favorite cookie recipes! Enjoy, and happy baking!

If you’re a chocolate lover like me, you need these double chocolate fudge cookies in your life ASAP.

Double chocolate fudge cookies with chocolate chips on a white plate.
Double chocolate fudge cookies

And these brownie mix cookies come out with the fudgiest of results! YUM!

Brownie mix cookies. The cookie has a bite out of it.
Brownie mix cookies

Have you ever wondered how to make snickerdoodles that come out perfectly? My video will help guide you along!

Snickerdoodle bars stacked on top of each other. They are on top of parchment paper.
Snickerdoodle bars

Are peanut butter and chocolate your ultimate combo? Then you won’t want to miss this peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe. 

Chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter sitting on parchment paper.
Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Soft, chewy, crunchy, and full of goodness, Texas cowboy cookies combine coconut, pecans, oatmeal, and raisins for an amazing all-around cookie everyone loves.

Picture of cookies on parchment paper and a plate
Texas cowboy cookies

Drop everything because you’re going to want to make these chocolate-drop powdered cookies for everyone you know. They’re thick and rich and utterly delicious!

Chocolate Drop Powdered Cookies are a great holiday dessert recipe. They are easy to make and you will have plenty to take to all of your holiday parties.
Chocolate drop powdered cookies

More Types of Cookies

Get on a cookie kick! Whether you just want a snack or dessert for your family, or you have to whip up something for a bake sale or party, these cookie recipes will have you covered!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Double your pleasure with easy double chocolate chip cookies, perfect for every chocolate lover. Or add a little fruity contrast with cranberry chocolate chip cookies.

Easy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies are the perfect dessert for any occasion. They are perfect for cookie exchanges, and gifts. They are made from scratch and have a rich flavor. The homemade double chocolate chip cookies are a delicious dessert.
Double chocolate chip cookies

If you prefer white chocolate, these white chocolate chip cookies will certainly please, while my caramel chocolate chip cookies give you that chocolate and caramel combination.

White chocolate chip cookies on a counter.
White chocolate chip cookies

Can’t decide on chocolate chips or white chocolate chips? Why choose?!? You can make double chocolate chip cookies with white chocolate chips and have the best of both worlds!

Caramel chocolate chip cookies on the counter. Some of the cookies are on a white plate.
Caramel chocolate chip cookies

For something a little different, try combining chocolate and bananas for these chocolate chip banana cookies

Nut lovers will enjoy chocolate chip pecan cookies, but if you really want a bit of everything, the kitchen sink cookie is the ultimate way to satisfy all your cookie cravings.

Cake Mix Cookies

I mentioned one of my cake mix cookies earlier, and if you’ve fallen in love with the idea of using cake mix for cookies, here are some more!

Red velvet cake mix cookies are the best of everyone’s favorite cake in a portable cookie format, while cake mix cookies with butterscotch chips are for the butterscotch lover. 

Some people find cookie bars are much easier to make and serve. You can turn just about any cookie into a cookie bar, but here are my recipes devoted to making your favorite cookies into bars:

  • Snickerdoodle bars
  • M&M’s bars
  • Brookies
  • Cookie bars with frosting and sprinkles (very festive and perfect for birthday parties!)
Brookies stacked on top of each other
Brookies

Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies are a true classic and a favorite around the holidays.

Shortbread pecan sandies sitting on a white plate.
Pecan sandies

And for a twist, add Twix with easy shortbread Twix thumbprint cookies. 

Cookies cut up and stacked on top of each other.
Shortbread cookies

Holiday Cookies

Of course, any holiday is perfect for making cookies.

Show them love with M&M’s Valentine’s cookies, or go wild with all kinds of holiday cookie recipes you can use for a cookie exchange, gifts, or simply to add to your dessert table. 

Bake up batches of classics including:

No Bake Cookies

Whether it’s hot outside and you just don’t want to heat up your kitchen, or you’re not in the mood to bake but want cookies, a no-bake cookie is the perfect solution.

Haystack cookies on a cookie sheet
White chocolate haystacks

With chocolate haystacks, you’ll have a yummy treat in no time. These cute no-bake cookies are delicious and a smash hit with kids too. 

Gluten-Free Cookies

For those that can’t have gluten due to celiac disease or other sensitivities, you can swap gluten ingredients like flour and baking powder for gluten-free options.

Most times, the swap will work out fine (though depending on the flour used, you may need xanthan gum), but if you’re new to baking, you may simply want a recipe designed to be gluten-free from the start. 

These gluten-free peanut butter cookies are right up your alley and completely gluten-free. You won’t have to try to make substitutions to fit your dietary restrictions. Plus, they’re so good. Everyone else will want to try them too!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies with White Chocolate Chips is the perfect homemade dessert.
Flat and chewy double chocolate chip cookies

If you’re new to baking cookies from scratch, the best cookie recipes to start with are the most simple and standard, like the humble chocolate chip cookie.

Making a mug cookie is also really easy and a great idea if you’re in a dorm room or hotel with a microwave.

Then there are skillet cookies which are really easy to make.

It’s like one big giant cookie in a cast iron skillet, so you don’t have to worry about dropping the dough. 

Why Do My Cookies Come Out Flat?

You made your cookie dough and baked it, and now your cookies are flat. What gives? There could be several reasons why your cookies didn’t get all fluffy. 

One common problem is butter that is too soft.

You may notice in some cookie recipes that you need softened butter.

But to get properly softened butter for cookies, it should only sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes up to one hour. It should be softer yet feel cool in temperature.

So, if your butter is too warm, it’s not going to incorporate enough air pockets into the dough when you cream it together with the sugar. 

On top of that, butter that’s too warm will melt too quickly in your oven, causing the dough to spread out. Chilling the dough until it feels a bit firm (about an hour or 2) will fix things. 

Another place to look is at your baking sheets when making multiple batches.

If the first batch came out fine and the next one was flat, it’s because your baking sheets are too hot. You’ll need to allow them to cool between batches to avoid that dreaded spreading. 

The oven could be too hot, too, so try lowering the temperature by a few degrees and adding a few minutes to the baking time to adjust things accordingly. 

If it’s not a question of too-hot ovens or baking sheets, and your butter is at the right temperature, you may need to take a look at how you measured everything out.

Getting the ratio of flour, butter, and sugar right makes all the difference. Measuring off can affect the recipe and cause the cookies to spread.

Make sure you’re following the recipe measurements to avoid this problem. 

Picture of Christmas wreath cookies
Christmas wreath cookies

Why Are My Cookies Hard?

With baking, you have to be precise when you measure. Often, this is the most common reason that cookies will turn out with a hard texture.

If you think you chipped your tooth while taking a bite, it’s probably due to too much sugar. Not only does too much sugar make your cookies flat, but it also hardens.

But if you measure precisely, another factor is over-mixing. Flour develops gluten as you blend it with the other ingredients.

Picture of amish butter cookies on a plate.
Amish butter cookies

Too much of it makes for tough cookies, so as soon as you can’t see any flour streaks, stop mixing. 

Most cookies require all-purpose flour in the recipe, so if you’ve used a different kind of flour, this could be the cause of hard cookies.

You can fix any hard cookie by adding a slice of white bread to the container with the cookies to draw in moisture and still be able to enjoy the batch!

Kitchen Sink Cookies on a counter.
Kitchen sink cookies

What Is the Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder in Cookies?

Both baking soda and baking powder are known as leaveners, which means they help things rise. They are also both made from sodium bicarbonate.

When this chemical is mixed with an acid, it creates carbon dioxide gas that lifts your cookies in the oven. 

The difference between them is that baking soda is purely sodium bicarbonate. To make that carbon dioxide, it needs something acidic added so it can neutralize it.

This is why baking soda tends to be used in recipes that have buttermilk, lemon juice, molasses, or yogurt.  

Baking powder is most commonly used in cookies because it has a powdered acid added to the sodium bicarbonate. It only needs some moisture and heat to get things going. 

Easy Homemade Cookies with brown sugar, pecans, and chocolate chips
Chocolate chip pecan cookies

What Are Some Tips For Making Perfectly Round Cookies? 

Sometimes, we want everything to be perfect, don’t we? No judgment! But how do you get cookies perfectly round?

Well, if they’re hot out of the oven and still on a baking sheet, you can take a biscuit cutter or even a glass and put it around the cookie.

Don’t push down on the edges of the cookie – you’re not cutting anything away. Instead, you’re going to encircle the cookie and swirl it around on the baking sheet. 

This only works while the cookies are still hot, so move quickly, and you’ll see the edges shape up so they are perfectly round. 

Thumbprint cookies with sprinkles on the counter.
Chocolate thumbprint cookies

How to Store Homemade Cookies

You baked your cookies and ate your fair share…now how do you keep them tasting fresh-baked? If you find your soft cookies are turning hard and crispy ones are going soft, here are a few tips!

For starters, if you’ve got way too many cookies (I know, I know, what a problem to have!), keeping them fresh for the long haul is best done by freezing them.

You should wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in an airtight container or freezer bag with the date on them. They can last this way for 8 to 12 months. 

But if you want to keep a stash on hand, consider the original cookie texture first. Soft cookies like chocolate chip should be kept away from any crispy cookies.

A slice of white bread added to an airtight container will help keep your soft cookies soft.

As for crispy cookies, you want to keep moisture away. Do not put them with soft cookies, and keep them in an airtight container that isn’t fully sealed so air gets in.

For room temperature cookies, they will be freshest for three days. Make sure you wait until they’ve completely cooled before putting them in containers. 

I’ve tried to cover all the bases in regards to cookies. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments!

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4 Comments

  1. Cracker treats seem to soft and not crisp after adding chocolate topping. What can I do?

    1. Julie Pollitt says:

      Hi Linda,

      Which recipe are you talking about?

  2. With prepackaged cookie mixes,how long can you keep them in the fridge after mixing?

    1. Julie Pollitt says:

      Most prepackaged cookies have a lot of preservatives in them, so it’s probably several weeks. But I would check the package to make sure.