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Dropped or Drop cookies are the easiest and most basic cookies you can make. Their dough is generally made from old-fashioned, simple and homey recipes. Some of the most popular ones are chocolate chip, cowboy, or oatmeal raisin. They are the type of cookie that I made when I first learned to bake, and are still my favorite recipe's today.
SARAH SAYS: We classify Whoopie Pies as a cookie, although they are technically made from dropped cake batter.
Dropped cookies are made from a free-form piece of dough, generally about 1 tablespoon's worth, that is dropped from a spoon or two or a small scoop onto a prepared cookie sheet. Other drop cookies come from a small piece of dough that is rolled into a ball first. They are then flattened with the bottom of a flour dusted glass into wafers before baking. Usually drop cookie dough is spaced between 1 to 2-inches apart. After baking and cooling, drop cookies are ready to eat, as is. Most drop cookies are sturdy, freeze well and are great for mailing.
Dropped cookie dough varies in texture. Some fall easily from the spoon and are baked as is. Stiffer dough needs a push with a finger or the use of a second spoon to release them. Others, such as a shaped, tuile-type (French for roof tile) cookie, are formed after baking by draping around a rolling pin to make them curve.
Some dropped cookie dough is best refrigerated for up to two days: place cookies close together on a baking tray and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Before baking transfer cookies to the baking sheet.
You can freeze drop cookie dough. My favorite way is to make a large batch, form into balls and freeze on a cookie sheet. When frozen, put dough balls into zip lock bags and store in freezer. Later, just remove amount needed from freezer, place on cookie sheets and bake while still frozen. This way you will always have a variety of cookies on hand.
Although drop cookies come from some of the easiest and most basic recipes, chocolate chip can be problematic for some, to get the right chewy or crispy texture.
1. DO NOT over cream the fat and sugar when making a drop cookie dough recipe because it aerates the cookie dough too much. This causes them to puff up in the oven and then fall into a flat, greasy pancake-like cookie. When creaming, it's important to use room temperature butter. Also, do not overmix the dough, as well, especially if the recipe begins by the creaming step. I believe that this is the most problematic area in cookie baking.
2. Drop the dough size specified in the recipe from two spoons or a cookie scoop. Cookie dough can be sticky, so first spray each implement used with vegetable oil. Some use spring-action scoops manufactured in the United States with a standardized scale of sizes. A #40 scoop is the most common one used and holds 1 tablespoon or so of dough.
3. Leave enough space in between cookies. Unless the recipe specifies, a good rule of thumb is to place them an inch or two apart.
4. Always refrigerate unused cookie dough while the rest bakes.
5. After baking, place cookie sheet on a wire cake rack for 10 minutes, and then remove cookies to the rack for complete cooling, unless otherwise specified.
QUESTION: Can I slice the dough instead of spooning it?
SARAH SAYS: Yes, slicing the dough will produce crisper cookies than those made by spooning the dough. Always use well-chilled dough. I don't recommend slicing cookies containing nuts or chocolate chunks, as it is difficult to cut through these ingredients.