There are many different types of cookies, from thin and crunchy to soft and chewy, and several variations in between.  You can have cookies that are crumbly and dense right through, or ones that are light and airy, or others that are crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.  Here are some examples of different types of cookies:

 

Drop Cookies

These are easy cookies to make.  They are a great cookie for children to help with.  For these cookies, the dough is scooped up in a spoon and dropped onto a baking sheet, with space between each cookie for expansion.  The dough is loose and usually slightly moist.  Any cookie can be made into a drop cookie, simply by adding a little additional liquid to the dough to make it a little less dense and more runny.

With drop cookies, the size of the cookie should be kept as uniform as possible.  You can use a measuring spoon to help ensure this.

When baking, your first batch should be your trial batch, to see if you have the dough texture correct and the right oven temperature.

 

Avoiding Problems with Dropped Cookies:

If your dough spreads out too much while baking, you can correct it by:

*  chilling the dough more before using

*  not greasing the baking pans as much (do not grease the cookie trays unless the recipe calls for it)

*  making sure the baking pans are not too hot when you put the cookie dough on them.  This tends to melt the dough before they start baking.

*  making sure the butter is of the right consistency before using it in the dough.  Butter should not be melted or runny, but should be firm and soft.

 

Rolled Cookies

Typically made from a stiff dough, rolled cookies can be made into many fun shapes.  These are great cookies for children to have fun with.

The rolled cookie dough is first chilled in order to relax the gluten.  When the chilled dough is firm enough, it can then be rolled out and cut into various shapes with cookie cutters, or with a knife.  The cookie shapes are then baked in the oven.

 

Tips for Making Rolled Cookies:

*  Put the entire batch of dough into the refrigerator to chill for at least 20-30 minutes.

*  It is best to work with small quantities of dough at one time, keeping the remainder of the dough in the frig until needed.  Dough that is warm will be too soft and will stick to the rolling pin.

 

Brownies and Bar Cookies

Although these are not really known as cookies, they are classed as cookies in many cookbooks.  These types of cookies tend to be softer and more cake-like than other types of cookies.  They are baked in greased sided pans, where the sides are at least 1 ½ inches deep.

 

Tips for Making Brownies and Bars:

*  The batter should be lightly beaten, that is beaten just enough to blend the ingredients together well.  Over beating or blending will cause them to rise too much and too fast and will result in a fallen and cracked product when they cool.

*  It is important to use the correct pan size, according to the recipe directions.  If the correct pan is not used, brownies (for instance) baked in a pan that is too large, will be dry and brittle, or if baked in a pan that is too small, will be more like a cake that is gooey and chewy.

*  It is also important to pay attention to the baking times.  Over-baking will dry out the brownies making them dry and crumbly.

 

Making Perfect Cookies:

  1. Gather all your ingredients before your start.
  1. Measure accurately, dry as well as wet ingredients. For dry ingredients, always use a measuring cup made for dry ingredients.  Spoon the ingredient into the measuring cup and level the top with the back of a knife.  Liquids should be measured in a liquid measuring cup and the liquid should be checked by placing the cup on the counter and checking the level at eye-level.
  1. The butter used in the recipe should be at the correct temperature, neither too hard or too soft. The butter should be at room temperature, soft but still with a slight firmness to it.  If you use butter that is too soft, your dough will be runny and will make the cookie spread too much on the cookie sheet.  A successful cookie is dependent on the temperature of the butter.
  1. If you cookie dough is soft or runny, put the dough in the refrigerator for about an hour before baking. If the dough is still too soft even after chilling, you can add a little flour to the dough until it reaches the desired consistency.
  1. Each batch of cookies should be of uniform size and thickness to ensure cookies are all baking the same in the same amount of time.
  1. Leave enough space between cookies for them to expand on your baking sheet. As a rule, about 2 inches between cookies should be sufficient.
  1. Always ensure that you preheat your oven to the indicated temperature in the recipe.
  1. Baking time is important. Even one minute can make the difference between a burnt cookie and one that is correctly crispy.
  1. Measure the flour correctly. Too much flour will make your cookies tough and dry.
  1. Do not over-mix the dough. Blend until just the flour disappears.
  1. Use a silicone rolling pin. Although wooden rolling pins have been used in the past, using the latest in a product like this will allow your cookies to be more tender because you won’t have to use too much flour.  You can also use a rolling pin cover and cloth.  You rub flour into the rolling pin cover (also called a stockinette) and the cloth set out on your work surface.  This is good for helping the dough not stick.  This method also reduces the amount of flour you may use.  Marble rolling pins can also be helpful.  Chill this rolling pin to help keep the dough cold while you are working with it.
  1. Use a combination of powdered sugar (icing sugar) and flour on your work surface instead of just plain flour. This can also help your cookies remain tender.
  1. Use an oven thermometer to ensure your oven temperature is correct. You may want to lower your oven temperature a little less than the recipe calls for to ensure your cookies do not over-bake or brown too much on the bottom.  For example, if the recipe calls for a 350 degree oven temperature, lower your oven temperature to 345 degrees.  Also, check your oven temperature for each batch of cookies you bake.  The baking time should be reduced with each batch because of the increased humidity in the oven from the cookies.
  1. Bake your cookies in the lower third of your oven for best results.
  1. When you remove cookies from the oven, it is best to remove them from the cookie sheet and place them on a wire rack to cool to prevent them from baking further. Cookies left on a hot baking sheet will stick to the sheet as they cool and can be difficult to remove without breaking them.
  1. Completely cool your cookie sheet before using them to bake the next batch. If the cookie sheet is still hot, the dough will melt and spread and the cookie will not turn out right.

 

Types of Sugar

* granulated, white

* all-purpose fine

* brown sugar

* demerara sugar

* crystal, made from sugar

* cane sugar

* sugar beets

* icing sugar or powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar

 

Baker’s Sugar: This is a  professional-grade, ultra-fine cane sugar made for baking. It is cleaner, with fewer impurities than regular granulated sugar. Good for baking, meringues, spun sugar, candy and ice cream.

Superfine or caster sugar:  This is the finest granulated sugar. In England it is called caster or castor because of the container it comes in. Good for baking, and it  dissolves easily in cold drinks.

Powdered or confectioner’s sugar: Finely pulverized sugar with 3 percent cornstarch added to prevent clumping and keep it powdery. Good for icing, dusting and decorating.

Brown Sugar (light and dark): sugar crystals coated in a molasses syrup with natural flavor and color. Dark brown sugar has a stronger molasses flavor than light brown sugar. Light brown sugar is good for baking and making butterscotch, condiments and glazes. Dark brown sugar has a rich flavor that is great for gingerbread.

Demerara Sugar: a light brown sugar with large, sticky crystals.  Popular in England, it is used in tea, coffee or on top of hot cereals. This sugar does not dissolve as easily as regular brown sugar and can create a ‘grainy’ effect in baked goods like cookies.

Muscovado or Barbados Sugar: a British specialty brown sugar, slightly coarser than brown sugar, very dark brown with a strong molasses flavor.