Preheat your oven—so your first batch will look as good as your last!
Be sure to use what the recipe calls for, whether it is butter, shortening or margarine and never use margarine that is whipped, soft spread or reduced fat. Your cookies will spread everywhere if you do.
It is best to bake only one sheet of cookies at a time but if you must do more, leave a couple of inches around the sheets for air circulation.
Let the baking sheet cool between batches because placing dough on a hot sheet can make the cookies spread too much.
If your recipe calls for oatmeal or nuts, toast them before using them.
Fill a container that has large holes (like a sugar shaker) with flour to sprinkle your board before rolling out cookies.
Make sure when you roll out cookies to cut that they are all the same thickness. Each individual cookie must not have thin or thick spots either or they will bake unevenly.
If you don't have cookie cutters or enough time to use them, just roll out your cookies and cut in squares or diamond shapes with a pastry cutter or pizza cutter. Sprinkle with colored sugar and bake. Use a wire cheese cutter to slice chilled refrigerator cookie dough.
If you are making huge batches of cookies and do a lot of baking, you might try using old oven racks to cool them on. Just place something under each corner to make sure it is raised up slightly off of the table.
Always completely cool cookies before storing and never store crisp cookies and soft cookies together. Store soft cookies in an air tight container and crisp cookies in a container with a loose lid. You can freeze cookies up to 3 months.
Cookie ingredients can be very expensive, especially for Christmas cookies. If you need to save money, choose your family's favorites that have the least expensive ingredients.
Another way to save on ingredients is to use less of things like nuts and baking chips. You really can get by with putting half a bag of chips instead of a whole one into chocolate chip cookies. The same goes for nuts. If that same recipe calls for 1 cup of nuts, use just 1/2 cup.
When giving cookies as a gift, make them look more attractive by putting them in cellophane bags and tying with a ribbon.
Instead of just putting cookies out on a platter for your Christmas dinner or party, add a couple of votives or one large candle in the center of the platter for a more festive look.
Save those dried out cookies or that handful of leftover cookies. Freeze them and use them in place of any recipe or dessert that calls for a graham cracker crust.