Of all the things to bake in the oven, cookies are not only one of the easiest, but the most fun, too. They’re one thing most people learn to make first, and you can bet that, when it comes a time, they’re some of the first to disappear.

Cookies might be fun and easy to make, but there are still a few tips and tricks to making them come outright. These include the ingredients and some of the tools that can be used to make them beautiful. These can include cookie cutters by Ann Clark.

Dough Basics

Most cookies are made from the same basic ingredients. These are all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. The sweetness in cookies comes from the sugar, whether brown or granulated. Fat comes from either butter, margarine, shortening, or oil. Vanilla extract or eggs are also used. The different flavors come from certain ingredients, including chocolate, nuts, cocoa, raisins, spices, oatmeal, or extracts.

Cookie dough is also made in much the same way, regardless of the type of cookie being made. Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium to a large mixing bowl, then cream the butter and sugars, add the eggs (slightly beaten) and vanilla. Then add the dry ingredients until they are well mixed. Next, add the flavorings. The dough preparation depends on the type of cookies you are making.

How to Bake Cookies

• Use only the freshest ingredients you can find whenever possible

• Use only large eggs

• Don’t substitute fats. If a recipe calls for butter, don’t use margarine, and visa-versa

• Measure the ingredients as closely as possible

• Make sure the dough is kept chilled between making batches

• Don’t put your dough out on a counter. Use parchment sheets to keep your cookie sheets from getting greasy

• Don’t sample cookie dough before cooking. You won’t have anything left to bake!

Storing Cookies

Whenever storing soft cookies, they should be kept in a container with a tight lid. If they dry out, just add a thin slice of apple to the container.

In the case of crisp cookies, they should be stored in a container with a loose lid, such as a cookie jar. If you live in an area that has a lot of humidity, add a piece of bread to the jar before closing. Bread will absorb excess humidity.

Making Different Types of Cookies

Drop cookies. Drop cookies are some of the easiest to make. With this type, just fill a spoon or a small ice cream scoop with the dough, then drop them on the cookie sheets

Pressed cookies. Pressed cookies are made by pressing or rolling the dough onto a sheet and using cookie cutters to create different shapes

Bar cookies. These are prepared by putting the dough into a rectangular pan and cutting them into squares. Most recipes can be converted to bar cookies by forming them in this way. These are easy to make since they can be made in several batches at a time.

Icebox cookies. Also called refrigerator cookies, these are prepared by shaping the dough into rolls, then refrigerating them. Once the dough is cold and firm, cut it into individual cookies. These are a great time saver since the dough can be made ahead of time and kept until they are needed.

Rolled cookies. These take a little more time in preparation. Roll them out with a rolling pin and cut them into shapes with a knife or cookie cutters.

Molded cookies. These feature dough that is formed by hand into different shapes such crescents, wreaths, canes, or balls.

No matter the shape or the occasion, these are all delicious. Bon Appetit!