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Cookies — some are round, some are square, some are chewy, and some are crunchy, but no matter what they look like, cookies consistently top the list of America’s favorite baked goods. For many of us, cookies are the very first thing that we learned to make in the kitchen; because they don't require the use of sharp objects or direct heat, they’re safe for young, beginner cooks. Not only are cookies relatively simple to make, but baking a batch can teach us important basic foundations and principles about cooking and baking in general.
Click here to see the 10 Easy Recipes for America's Favorite Cookies Slideshow
Cookies taught us to be precise in the kitchen: Many of us learned that if we were not careful in preparing the ingredients for a cookie recipe, the results were unsatisfactory — too much flour would result in a thick and cakey cookie, while butter that was too soft would cause the cookies to run all over the sheet pan. Cookie recipes taught us to be observant and careful: When blending the ingredients for a cookie together, which for many of us was in a stand mixer, we were taught to do it under a watchful eye, looking for indicators in the dough to know when it was ready, and to do it slowly so that each of the ingredients was carefully mixed in and the flour didn’t spray everywhere.
Cookies taught us to be consistent. The final step of making cookies is placing them on a sheet pan and whether you’re making chocolate chip cookies or gingerbread men, the goal is to be consistent so that they bake evenly. Lastly, cookies taught us to be appreciative of cooking. Can anyone object to the fact that there’s often nothing better than a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, warm and soft and dripping with melted chocolate chips? Cookies demonstrate to us that sometimes, some things are just better when they're homemade, and this is a sentiment that the Cook editors carry with us every day as we develop new recipes and cooking techniques to share with our readers.
There are many archetypal recipes that fall under the cookie category and here we have outlined the best versions of classic cookie recipes to honor cookies and everything they’ve done for us. If you are craving a beloved snickerdoodle, cookie queen Kathleen King of Tate's Bake Shop has what you're looking for — moist with the perfect amount of spicy. And for sugar cookie lovers, pastry chef Nancy Olson demonstrates that a few simple ingredients can create bold and flavorful results. There’s even something a little unconventional, a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie from award-winning baker Nancy Bagget's cookbook Simply Sensational Cookies that gets its rich taste from browned butter and toasted nuts. Along with their recipes, these cookie experts share their tips on how to craft the perfect cookie, whether you're following a traditional recipe or making a new one of your own.
Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce
This post was originally published on October 17, 2012.
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Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies
Combining butter and sugar doesn't get much better than this. These popular homemade cookies are perfectly soft and chewy in every bite. To change up the flavor a bit, try using brown sugar or maple sugar. We've perfected our recipe for cut-out sugar cookies as well if you want to break out the festive shapes.
Test Kitchen Tip: Look and listen to determine when your favorite cookies are done. These cookies should darken slightly and crackle audibly when nearing the finish.
This would be such a fun recipe to use for a “family night” activity. Have all the kids make their own recipe creations by dividing up the dough and letting them choose which Christmas candies they want in their Elf Cookies. Have all the Christmas candy out in bowls and give them an allotted amount of “scoops.” So many possibilities! Kids love being able to come up with their own creations in the kitchen. This is the perfect opportunity to let them do just that!
Not only would this be a fun “family night” activity, but a fun activity for a birthday party or holiday party for kids or teenagers. Make sure to offer lots of choices so they can be creative: chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, toffee bits, crushed chocolate cookies, chopped up candy bars, marshmallow bits, chopped graham crackers, etc. Everyone loves homemade cookies, especially when they are warm out of the oven. Serve them up with a tall glass of cold milk, or a hot mug of cocoa. Does a party get any better than that?
This recipe can be made a day or two ahead or frozen for later use, which makes it even more convenient for holiday gatherings or parties.
*This post has been sponsored by Country Crock ® but all opinions and recipe mix-in ideas are our own.
30 Delicious Mother's Day Cookies to Make for Mom
Show your love with a sweet dessert that's baked from scratch.
Mother's Day is on May 9, and if you really want to get Mom (or your grandma, aunt, MIL, sister) a gift you know she'll love, you can't go wrong with a baked treat. That's right, a fresh batch of Mother's Day cookies are essentially one of the best homemade gifts you can give, not only because they are so tasty, but because it shows that you've taken extra time out of your day to make her day extra special. Another thing to think about, especially if you're social-distancing or live far away from the special mom in your life, is that cookies can easily be hand-delivered or shipped and arrive at her front door just in time for Mother's Day (just wrap them up in a lovely tin).
The recipes below include sugar cookies, coconut macaroons, lemon Madeleines, and a whole bunch of great concoctions. And while some are straight forward with design, others have cute little touches. It doesn't matter which you choose to make, they'll all be a hit. And if you really want to go the extra mile, make a Mother's Day dinner or bake a cakes to go with the cookies.
Peppermint Chocolate Cookies
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!
Whether it's the holiday season or not, these peppermint chocolate cookies will always hit the spot—especially when paired with a cup of coffee. Or a glass of red wine—we won't judge.
Get our recipe for Peppermint Chocolate Cookies.
What Is ‘Aging Your Dough’?
Aging cookie dough does two things, develops more pronounced flavor and gooey-er texture. As the dough chills, it gradually dries out, concentrating the flavors of all the ingredients.
Aging also changes the texture. The drier the dough, the more concentrated the sugar. Just cover the dough with cling wrap in your bowl and they’ll keep just fine in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
If you don’t want to age it, you can just chill your dough for a minimum of an hour. Chilling your dough helps keep your cookies from spreading while baking. Also, at this stage, you can freeze your dough in balls or rolled into a log and wrapped in cling wrap. It keeps well in a freezer for up to twelve weeks.
This Map Shows People's Favorite Holiday Cookie by State, and There's a Lot of Variety
Classic chocolate chip cookies only reigned in popularity in one state!
The holiday season is considered the most wonderful time of the year for many reasons, only one of which is the delicious, festive desserts. From Christmas cookies, to holiday-themed cupcakes, to elaborate gingerbread desserts, the treats are endless. But across the country, go-to holiday sweets vary. Instagram rounded up America's favorite holiday cookie by state, and it turns out a lot of people like sticking to the basics: shortbread, sugar cookies, snickerdoodle, etc.
The social media platform collected its data based on the likes and mentions of different cookies over the past month from in-feed and Instagram story posts, a press released explained. Based on the number of votes for each cookie, Instagram concluded that peanut butter and sugar cookies tied for the most popular holiday cookie, each with 10 states that preferred them others. Shortbread, crinkle, oatmeal, gingerbread, snickerdoodle, and classic chocolate chip cookies were also included in the survey.
After peanut butter and sugar cookies, shortbread came in second with eight states &mdashArkansas, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, and Montana, just to name a few &mdash choosing it over any other cookie during the holiday season. Crinkle cookies and gingerbread cookies followed with six and seven states, respectively, preferring to keep a little holiday spirit alive in December. Gingerbread cookies were popular up and down the east coast, whereas the crinkle cookie-lovers were more spread out, in places like Idaho, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and New Mexico.
Coming in at the bottom of the list, with a lower amount of state votes, are oatmeal cookies and snickerdoodle, both of which four states turn to for their sweet fix during the holidays. Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, and Rhode Island are all about oatmeal cookies, while Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Virginia are die-hard snickerdoodle fans. Surprisingly enough, only one state's residents chose chocolate chip cookies as their favorite &mdash shout-out to Illinois.
Want to make your holidays shine? You&rsquore in luck! Subscribe to Woman's Day today and get 73% off your first 12 issues. And while you&rsquore at it, sign up for our FREE newsletter for even more of the Woman's Day content you want.
Homemade Cheese Straws
America's Test Kitchen and its other publications like Cooks Illustrated and Cook's Country are my most trusted sources for recipes. ATK prides itself on testing and retesting its recipes and cooking methods until it has achieved perfection. Though most of ATK's recipes are only available through subscription (totally worth it, BTW), you can get a free taste through the following recipes. Once you've tried them yourselves, prepare to become an ATK follower for life. Enjoy!
Looking for more great America's Test Kitchen recipes? Sign up for a free trial of America's Test Kitchen's 2-week all-access membership. Membership includes recipes (tested by 60,000 at-home cooks!), unbiased equipment and ingredient ratings, innovative techniques, and how-to videos every month.
10 Best Ribs Recipes for the Grill and Smoker
1. Hawaii — Huli Huli Spare Ribs
Our 50th state inspired these ribs, called huli-huli. Huli means “turn” in the language of the islands, and refers to the fact that these delectable bones are spit-roasted. (Lacking a rotisserie, they can also be grilled indirectly.) The glaze, made sweet with pineapple juice, brown sugar, and honey, salty with soy sauce, and spicy with chili sauce and fresh ginger, is painted on the ribs the last 20 minutes of cooking. Tip: Make starter holes in the rack of ribs with a metal skewer or paring knife so you can more easily thread the ribs on the spit.
2. Missouri — St. Louis Ribs with Vanilla Brown Sugar Glaze
St. Louis-style ribs are spare ribs that have been trimmed to a neat rectangle, the tips, skirt, and smallest bones removed for the best presentation. (If you decide to do this yourself, the trimmings can be used to flavor baked beans or other dishes.) Vanilla is the secret ingredient in the glaze.
3. Michigan – Cherry-Glazed Baby Back Ribs
Michigan is one of the leading producers of cherries in the U.S., harvesting over 200 million pounds of this popular fruit each year. These baby backs (featured on Steven’s TV show, Project Smoke), get a twin blast of cherry flavor from aromatic cherry wood (or you can use oak) and pork-compatible sweet-tart cherry syrup.
4. Arizona — Cousin Dave’s Chocolate Chipotle Ribs
I began working as Steven’s assistant in April, 2005. Within weeks, I was testing recipes in earnest for his book, Ribs, Ribs, Ribs—reprinted years later as Best Ribs Ever. There are some wonderful recipes in that book—truly unexpected combinations—but this one was and continues to be one of my all-time favorites. Reminiscent of Oaxacan moles, this thick, explosively-flavored sauce will have you licking your blender jar or food processor bowl. For me, the heat level is perfect. Cut down on the chipotles in adobo sauce if you prefer tamer bones.
5. California — Chinatown Ribs
Glossy pork ribs are a staple in San Francisco’s densely populated, food-centric Chinatown. These Asian-inflected ribs are dusted with five-spice powder (find in the spice aisle or international aisle of your supermarket), spritzed with rice wine, and lacquered with an easy barbecue sauce based on hoisin.
6. Tennessee — Memphis-Style Ribs
America’s favorite pork ribs—tender, well-marbled baby backs—rely here on a punchy dry rub for flavor it’s applied 4 to 8 hours before the cook to give the rub time to work its magic. Almost never sauced, Memphis-style ribs became well known to the rest of the country when the city began hosting the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (better known as Memphis in May), the largest barbecue competition in the world.
7. Texas — Salt and Pepper Beef Ribs
It happens to the best of us: Distracted by rubs, sprays, mops, and barbecue sauces, we sometimes forget how great meat tastes when seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and wood smoke. These bones, trimmed off the prime rib and known in butcher parlance as back ribs, will reacquaint you with the unadulterated taste of beef. Because they’re cooked relatively quickly (preferably over a wood or wood-enhanced fire), you can have dinner on the table in about 2 hours.
8. Florida — Baby Back Ribs with Guava Barbecue Sauce
Caribbean influences abound in Miami’s food scene, which explain why guava paste made its way into this recipe featuring island flavors like rum, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. Guava paste, also called membrillo, can be found in Spanish or Hispanic markets or online.
9. New York — Grandpa’s Pastramied Beef Short Ribs
When properly barbecued, beef short ribs are meltingly tender with a rich, unctuous mouthfeel. But coat them in the pastrami spices so well known on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and they’re transcendental. (Though we call for short ribs here, this treatment works beautifully with plate ribs, too—also known as dinosaur bones.) The meat will need 12 hours to absorb the flavor of the spices, so plan ahead.
10. New England — Maple- and Molasses-Glazed Baby Back Ribs
Some of New England’s iconic ingredients—apple cider and maple syrup, among them—make an appearance in these sweet and satisfying baby backs. (Echo the flavors by accompanying the ribs with Boston-style baked beans or bean-hole beans.) You can grill the ribs indirectly—they’ll take a couple of hours at 325 degrees—or smoke them low and slow, preferably over maple wood.
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10. Chocolate Peanut Butter Keto No Bake Cookies
If you're looking for a keto no-bake cookie recipe these are definitely one of the best you'll find! They have the perfect blend of chocolate, peanut butter, and coconut. With that being said, these low carb no-bake cookies are perfectly sweetened, crunchy, portable, kid approved, and make a wonderful ketogenic snack. Plus, each cookie has just 2.5 net carbs.