We’re heading back to the basics today, as in baking basics. I began this series a year ago with two goals in mind: (1) to share what I’ve learned in the kitchen and (2) to have these posts be a place where we can all chat about BAKING! Whether that is super science-y chemical reactions or simply my favorite baking pans, this series has been a space for me to deliver something a little more substantial than recipes: knowledge. I’ve really enjoyed writing these tutorials and rambles (um, thanks for reading all 2000 words in MY PIE NOVEL) this past year and I have even more up my sleeve for year #2. Grab a seat and stay awhile!
Today I want to dive into the world of cookie dough. Because before our beloved soft and buttery cookies become chocolate chip wonders, they start in a bowl with ordinary ingredients like butter, sugar, and eggs. If you have a few basic, super dependable cookie dough recipes under your belt– you’re set for life. Who doesn’t yearn for that kind of simplicity?!
I have 4 basic cookie dough recipes that I make more than any others. These are timeless favorites that have only been in my kitchen for 3 or so years, but I constantly go back to ’em. From these 4 favorite cookie doughs, I have created dozens of other cookies and desserts. Consider them your cookie smorgasbord starting point! They’re all versatile, simple, and straightforward. Not to mention, taste PHENOMENAL when baked. Since I’ve got big love for more than 4 cookies, I’ve got a couple runners-up at the bottom of this post. Cookies taking over the world!!
We’ll start with the head honcho of all cookie doughs.
Basic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
These are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. It’s the only recipe in this list using melted butter. Why? I love me some chewy chocolate chip cookies and melted butter helps achieve that chew. We also use an extra egg yolk (fat) for even more chewiness, a higher ratio of brown sugar to white for flavor and tenderness, and cornstarch for super soft centers. Chilling the cookie dough is imperative– in fact, the longer the better. I’ve chilled this dough for 3-4 days and the cookies have SO much flavor and bake up supremely thick. Try them with butterscotch or stuffed with Rolos. If you haven’t yet, you must! [click here for the recipe]
Chocolate Cookie Dough
So damn fudgy! That’s what I love about this cookie dough. It’s been everywhere from salted caramel and peanut butter swirled to peppermint mocha and double trouble. This is a very sticky cookie dough, so chilling it is crucial in order for the cookies to hold their shape. By the way, the cookies legit taste like brownies inside. [click here for the recipe]
Oatmeal Cookie Dough
Soft and chewy, hearty and healthy. That last one’s a lie, but who the heck cares when you’re eating old-fashioned style oatmeal cookies that taste nearly as good as grandma’s? This recipe is a mix of three other oatmeal cookie recipes I love (these, these, and these). I took what I enjoy about each one (including molasses!). And know what makes it all even better? RAISINS. [click here for the recipe]
Sugar Cookie Dough
Be still our rainbow hearts. This cookie dough produces buttery and super soft cookies. It’s a blend of a few sugar cookie recipes that are on my blog and a recipe that is in my 1st cookbook. The cream of tartar is key in this cookie dough– it helps activate the baking soda. You *could* just use all baking powder instead of soda + cream of tartar, but I’ve since tested this dough with enough baking powder to lift the cookies (2ish teaspoons), but found there to be a bitter aftertaste. Also! There’s an extra egg yolk for extra chew. And try them with frosting. And try not to smile when you eat one. [click here for the recipe]
All of these cookie doughs are for drop cookies, which are the kind I bake most often. Here are a few others I love, including cut-out cookies and slice ‘n’ bakes.
★ Runners-Up ★
Soft chocolate chip cookies – not quite as chewy as the ones above, but still ridiculously soft.
Snickerdoodles – my favorite! The dough is so sturdy and thick that we don’t have to chill it before baking. So this is a quick recipe.
Peanut butter cookies – nothing fancy, just in-your-face PB classics. Try adding 1 – 1.5 cups of chocolate chips or even chopped peanuts! You could drizzle the finished cookies with melted chocolate too. Or even sandwich some chocolate ice cream between two of them?! Someone stop me.
So tell me! What are your cookie staples? Are you more of a chocolate chip cookie family or is oatmeal/sugar cookie/anything-with-chocolate your standard cookie jar fave? I want to hear it all!