When I was still a kid, my mornings were preoccupied with watching Sesame Street. I guess I liked the colorful puppets, the funny voices and the random song and dance productions. I especially liked to watch the Cookie Monster with his cookie personality (pun alert!), especially when he gobbled up the cookies. Back then I really thought the puppet had a mouth passage somewhere where all those cookies go, which is of course not true. But always I thought that the puppet had a nice job, gobbling up cookies to entertain kids. So yeah, I did want to be like the Cookie Monster with his bright blue fur. Well, except for his eyes which always seem to be looking in different directions.
And who can blame the Cookie Monster for loving cookies? Cookies are amazing. Like I’ve said before, when I started baking, cookies were the first things I made. I don’t know but there’s just something so comforting about a pile of warm, chewy cookies with milk or tea. It’s like I can simply nibble on cookies, grab a good book and lie leisurely on my bed the entire day reading. Although I do blame cookies for some of my friends teasing me with the nickname Mrs. Dale’s, in reference to the popular cookie icon.
There are several kinds of cookies I have tried making in the past, and I found that the kind of cookies I make depend a lot on my mood or the effort I want to put into my baking. When I am particularly lazy, nothing can beat a simple drop cookie recipe like Peanut Butter Choco Chip Cookies or Oatmeal Cookies. Just get everything together, spoon the dough out into a sheet and bake. I even get some cookie dough to lick while I wait for them to bake. If I want to put in a little extra effort, I make Butter Cookies with a cookie press, which are easy to prepare but with beautiful results as the cookies come in nice shapes and are the same size every time. For really special occasions I make Sugar Cookies, the type you roll out and then shape with cutters. I make them with icing so they take the most effort. In the near future I also want to try out Icebox Cookies. They’re the kind that bakers freeze into logs, and then simply slice before baking, so about medium effort. But the result is they get fresh cookies every time.
Part of my quest to reach my goals of Cookie Domination is to find a basic drop cookie recipe. I want it to produce nice, chewy cookies, not be overly sweet, bake well most of the time, prep really easily, and is a great canvass to create my own cookie flavors. And I think I’ve got one this time. The following cookie recipes are ones I have asked my friends to try out, with amazing results. They loved them cookies, which is very nice for this novice baker. They’re made from the same cookie base, differing only in flavors. 🙂
Basic Cookie Recipe
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sugar (brown or white, depending on cookie recipe)
- 1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cream the softened butter and sugar with a hand mixer or stand mixer at medium speed. The butter needs to be softened, but not melting. Add the vanilla extract and mix on high speed for around 15 seconds. Add the egg.
Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Combine the dry ingredients to the creamed butter. Mix on low speed just until no dry streaks remain. Be careful not to over mix.
Depending on your cookie variant, add the remaining ingredients.
Drop 1-inch sized cookie dough balls onto a greased cookie sheet, or one lined with either Silpat or parchment paper. Give the cookies a space of 2 inches between one another.
Bake them for around 8-10 minutes. They should be lightly browned along the edges, but still soft in the middle.
Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
Now to give a little personality to your cookies, you can add nuts, chocolate chips, even candies. Another good idea is to add peanut butter, lemon zest or almond extract, to name a few, to add flavor to your cookies. Refer to the three cookie flavors below for some ‘cookie’ ideas.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
To make peanut butter dough, cream 1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter along with the butter and sugar. Use light brown sugar. The peanut butter will add additional fat and the light brown sugar provides moisture, so expect chewier cookies. The mild molasses flavor from the brown sugar also works well with this cookie. Add 1/2 cup of milk chocolate chips as well into the dough before dropping them onto the cookie sheet for baking. Simply fold them in, and do not use the mixer.
White Chocolate Chip Cookies
To make chocolate cookie dough, sift 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder along with the flour mix before adding it to the wet ingredients. Then, just fold in 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips before dropping dough onto the cookie sheet. Use light brown sugar.
Lemon and Walnut Cookies
When making these cookies, use white sugar. Add the zest from one lemon and 1/2 tsp of lemon extract along with the vanilla. Fold in 1/3 cup of roughly chopped walnuts into the dough before spooning it out onto the cookie sheet.