When I was a kid I didn't know cookies were round, until I went to Kindergarten. My mother could never bring herself to scoop cookies, so we always had bar cookies. She often tells the story about how I came home from school and said, "guess what mom, we had round cookies today!" I was totally amazed. Still to this day, she refuses to scoop cookies. I on the other hand, could never do bar cookies (unless that's the way they were intended to be made).
I've always liked making cookies. A small part of me has always wanted to go into the business some day. I actually use to make cookies for a living, before I went to the ER.
Tonight, I thought I'd give you a few helpful hints to making perfect (or almost) cookies. If you don't believe me, look at the pic above. I made those tonight!
Always, always, always use cold dough. After you mix-up the dough, put it in the refrigerator while the oven is preheating (or even longer). When you do this the dough shapes much nicer.
This one might be controversial to some. I always use cold butter. I never let it sit a room temperature. Many will disagree, even Martha Stewart. This just goes back to tip #1, cold is better. Have you ever bought frozen cookie dough? Look how much better shaped the cookies are.
Ball all cookies, unless they are cake like cookies. Just like PB cookies. This will give a smoother appearance.
Pat or press dough down after they been shaped into balls.
I usually only bake one tray at first, to determine how much I need to press down the dough.
Bake for the exact time instructed. If they don't appear done, gently with a spatula lift and look at the bottom of the cookie (not the top). Once it just barley turns golden, that means they are done. Sometimes if I'm in doubt, I leave them on the pan a few minutes (out of the oven).
If a cookie is misshaped when taken out of the oven, quickly with a butter knife mold it back into shape. The worst cookie can end-up looking great.
One last thing. Invest in a good scooper, small ice cream scoopers are the best. Also, try to scoop even mounds of dough.
I hope this has been helpful!