TYPES OF COOKIES
Drop cookies are perhaps the most well known type of cookie. They are formed by portioning the dough with a spoon or disher. As they bake, they spread, so place them an adequate distance from each other on the baking sheet.
Examples of drop cookies: Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, white chocolate macadamia nut
Rolled cookies are made by flattening a dense dough with a rolling pin and cutting out shapes with a cookie cutter. It is important to refrigerate the dough prior to baking so the dough does not overspread and lose its shape.
Examples of rolled cookies: Sugar, gingerbread
Ice Box Cookies
Ice Box (or Refrigerator) cookies can be made from almost any dough that can be used for rolled cookies. The dough is formed into a log that is refrigerated and then sliced into pieces of the desired thickness. One technique, as shown in the picture, is to roll two different types of dough together, forming a pinwheel-like appearance. Using a dough with chunky items in it (chocolate chips, nuts, etc.) is not recommended, as it does not form smooth, even cuts.
Examples of Icebox Cookies: Pinwheel, sugar, any cookie with a thick dough
No, these cookies aren't covered with an unappetizing green fuzz. Molded cookies are shaped by hand. This could be rolling them into a ball prior to putting them on a baking sheet, making an indention for filling as in the image above, or folding them into the signature shape of a fortune cookie.
Examples of Molded Cookies: Fortune cookies, thumbprints, peanut butter blossoms, almond crescents
Bar cookies are, as the name implies, cookies that are cut into bars. That means that, despite their cake-like consistency, brownies are in fact cookies.
Examples of Bar Cookies: Brownies, biscotti, lemon bars
Pressed cookies are formed by pushing the dough through some sort of form, whether a pastry bag like one might use for icing a cake or a spritzer, a tool with different attachments that create different shapes when the dough is pressed through
Examples of Pressed Cookies: Spritz cookies, shortbread
To achieve crispy cookies, use a higher proportion of white sugar to brown sugar, butter as the fat, replace most or all of the eggs with milk. This will increase spread and produce a crispier cookie.
For soft, cake-like cookies, use more brown sugar, shortening as the fat, baking powder, and all eggs (no milk).
For chewy cookies, use bread flour, baking soda, more brown than white sugar, replace some of the eggs with milk, and chill the dough prior to baking. Cold dough does not spread as much, which produces the chewy texture.
Sugar is best known for giving a cookie its beloved sweetness, but it is much more important than that. Sugar helps to tenderize the product, and, through the process of caramelizing, it gives cookies their golden brown color. There are several different types of sugar, from your standard white table sugar to dust-like powdered sugar to molasses-sweetened brown sugar. Each has its own place in baking. White sugar helps to form crisper cookies, brown sugar adds moisture to a cookie, giving it a softer, chewier texture, and powdered sugar is typically used to dust baked goods after they are baked for a final burst of sweetness. There are other sweeteners out there, including honey, corn syrup, and molasses. These give cookies their sweetness and add a lot of moisture to the dough. For most cookie recipes, only white and brown sugar will be used.
It's always important to keep safety and sanitation in mind while cooking. When making cookies that contain egg, crack the egg into a separate bowl rather than straight into the forming dough. This way, if any shell is left in the egg, it is easier to detect and remove. Also, as always, be sure to wash your hands after handling raw eggs. Yes, the risk of catching salmonella is fairly low, but why chance it?
When baking the cookies, be sure you don't confuse parchment paper with wax paper. Parchment paper is a wonderful, nonstick lining for baking sheets, but wax paper, though similar in appearance, is not good to use. Wax paper smokes and produces a foul odor in the oven.
COOLING AND STORAGE
Cookies should be moved from the pan to a cooling rack as soon as they have set, as the heat from the pan can continue to cook them. This is why cookies should be removed from the oven when they look slightly underdone. Cookies should be stored in an airtight container such as a ziplock bag or wrapped securely and put in the freezer. At room temperature, they can keep for a few days. In the freezer,mr hey can keep for over a month as long as they are wrapped so no air can get in.