Have you ever met anyone who didn't like cookies? They do exist - but they are few and far between! Cookies are one of our favorite snacks and desserts; there are varieties for nearly every palate, including those who like less sweet but more savory treats.
Cookies are the ultimate go-to for holidays, events, bake sales, and just those days when you need a warm, gooey pick-me-up.
Many recipes are very easy and require very little in the way of supplies. Still, though, every devoted cookie maker must have a few essential baking tools in their kitchen. Here is a look at some great tools of the cookie trade!
Image courtesy of H is for Home on Flickr.
Look for cookie sheets that have either no edges or very low edges. Aluminum is preferred by most bakers, and they usually stay away from matte or dark sheets because they tend to overbrown - or just plain burn - your cookies.
You may have seen insulated cookie sheets or those with an "airflow" between layers. These are great if you are making gourmet cookies that need to be soft in the middle, though they can be difficult when your recipes have a large amount of butter in them.
A good baker is not deterred by a bad pan. If you have to use a pan with edges, flip it over and use the bottom. The edge keeps the cookie from cooking evenly.
Don't you hate getting cheap measuring spoons and having the measurements rub off with repeated use? Invest in a quality set of measuring tools so this doesn't happen. There is a big difference, for instance, between a tablespoon of baking powder and a teaspoon! You don't have to spend a fortune, but maybe upgrade from the cheapest option.
There is a slight difference between dry and liquid measuring cups. Dry cups have a smooth, flat edge (liquid ones will have a spout). This allows you to fill up the cup and then use a knife or spatula to shave off the excess so you have a precise amount.
These are a handy tool to have when you're making cookies. Transfer one batch to the cooling rack and free up your sheet for the next one. You can also use it when you frost or for other baked treats. The good news is that the cheap ones are just as effective as the expensive ones, so you can save a bit of room in your baking budget.
When you are making cut cookie favors, a rolling pin is invaluable. It rolls out the dough smoothly - and it's easier than using a can of soda or empty glass!
If you have a chance, wax or parchment paper is another handy tool to have with your rolling pin. It prevents the dough from sticking to the table or to the rolling pin.
Another must have for your kitchen is a metal spatula, which is perfect for removing cookies from the cookie sheet or for transferring cut cookies onto a baking sheet.
You can also find silicone spatulas that are great for getting every last bit of dough out of a bowl or the last trace of a condiment out of a jar.
These are a necessity, especially if you bake for children! Have a few standards (stars, hearts, etc.) on hand or invest in an inexpensive set of plastic ones that have a wide range of fun shapes.
Metal cutters are a bit more expensive, but they provide sharper, crisper shapes, so it may be a good idea for things like snowflakes or other delicate designs. Kids love making flower cookies, or even hearts. Give them something to work with!
I mentioned this above for your rolling pin, but this is wonderful for lining baking sheets or using on your work surface when you are decorating cookies as well.
You can also use parchment or waxed paper when packaging your cookies. It's a very nice kitchen item to have around!
This is not a "must." You can certainly get by without a mixer, and many people make delicious treats just fine by hand. If, however, you want to cut some time and make it easier to do things like cream butter, a mixer will be a godsend in the kitchen.
The most important tool is a healthy appetite for experimentation. There is no end of great recipes or variations adventurous bakers can try.
With these tools and some basic pantry supplies, you will never be at a loss for a sweet treat.