I Ask: How Do I Bake Cookies?

This week I remembered why I don’t bake.

But I don’t remember until after I said: HEY KIDS! LET’S MAKE COOKIES!

It was out of a box so I thought: How hard can it be?

Stupid hard.

We only had egg whites. We didn’t have frosting. And the dough was so sticky my daughter couldn’t use her fingers for thirty minutes.

She's terrified on the inside.

And after five of those minutes, my kids were ready to do something else.

There has GOT to be something more interesting than baking under this bowl

Or just eat raw cookie dough.

Tasted better before we cooked them. Seriously.

So here are my under-cooked, taste-less cookies.

Sad cookies. And those white flecks? Cookie box powder that did NOT magically turn into dough. Liars.

But I want to eat cookies! Probably with my kids but with enough left over to eat while they sleep. And I’d like to bake them because it makes me feel all awesome and productive. Or at least I think it will since I’ve never actually done it without a box.

So I ask: How do I bake easy, tasty cookies?

FYI: No chocolate (that isn’t white). Also, no vegetables. I’m looking at you carrot cake.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

26 thoughts on “I Ask: How Do I Bake Cookies?

  1. 1. Take oatmeal out of pantry.
    2. Read Instructions under lid.
    3. Do it.
    4. Eat tasty oatmeal cookies.

    Oatmeal cookies don’t have to be all round and even, When underbaked they are just chewy not crunchy. Which of course I like better.

    1. Easiest cookies known to mankind.

      1 box cake mix – any flavor works, but we really like lemon
      1/2 c. oil
      2 eggs

      Preheat oven to 350.

      Mix ingredients together and spoon in rounded balls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Sit back and prepare to be worshipped by an adoring family.

  2. Girl! Get the Pillsbury kind you just take off the paper and plop on the pan. They can work on placing them on the right spots, counting, AND they are freaking good cookies to eat. Buy store bought icing in a can if you want and let them decorate them (frosting, sprinkles, etc.).

    1. I was going to say this, too! Definitely the best option. You can’t screw it up (except for the burning part, as AKeo mentioned), and they are YUMMY! I’m sure they have the Christmas-y ones out by now. They are FUN!

      1. I also was going to say the kind in the tube by Pillsbury…and egg whites??? Seriously, no wonder??? I make a mean sugar cookie and it requires egg yoke not whites…there’s your biggest problem. And next time…if there is a next time you can always add a tbsp of milk to help if too dry

        1. This was my suggestion too and don’t bake them all, save some to mix with vanilla ice cream – homemade cookie dough ice cream! I hate baking cookies – it’s a big mess, it’s exhausting when you make pan after pan, and it takes forever to clean up. Another suggestion is rice krispie treats, not technically a cookie, but something to make with minimal mess.

  3. Oreo balls are delicious! They are cookies someone else made smashed up with cream cheese and then covered in white chocolate. No baking required. BUT they are pretty messy. AND they are not exactly cookies, so I guess that doesn’t really answers your question.

  4. I’m a cookie mess…but I make a mean banana bread. And banana pudding (with cookies!) so if you want either of those recipes, give me a shout. You know where to find me.

  5. I second Walt. The Quaker oatmeal cookie recipe rocks.

    Almost all cookies follow a simple procedure.
    Here are the essential things to know:
    Start with room temperature butter (cold is hard to mix, melted makes greasy cookies).
    Mix sugar into that soft butter really well. Beat an egg in too. Egg whites should be fine. Always add vanilla, even if it isn’t in the recipe.
    Mix all the dry stuff separately. (or not) Mix the floury stuff into the buttery stuff. If you’re adding oats and raisins or white chocolate chips do that.
    And bake.
    I have an awesome gingersnap recipe if you’d like. And you can always make classic tollhouse chocolate chip cookies with white chocolate and maybe some dried cherries… Dang, I’m hungry now. And there are no cookies in the house!

  6. Um … my friend – if you couldn’t make cookies out of a box, I don’t know what to tell ya. Maybe your kids will get a recipe when they (eventually) take home economics. They still do that don’t they?

  7. I get those ones that have the designs already in them. I slide them out of the plastic package and onto the cookie sheet. 13 minutes in the oven and they are YUMMY! I think they are sugar cookies.

  8. First of all: ditch the box. Second, only egg whites? How does that even happen? I think that was your main problem there, whites give you a completely different consistency than whole eggs.

    Go get a real recipe. I can’t understand why you wouldn’t use chocolate, but that’s your call. It is worth the mess to use chocolate. Check a basic cookbook (you can get something like Joy of Cooking at the library, I’m sure), or use the one on the package of your ingredient (like the oatmeal recipe on oatmeal, or the Tollhouse chocolate chip recipe which is also here: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/original-nestle-toll-house-chocolate-chip-cookies/Detail.aspx).

    A cookie is only as good as its ingredients, so make sure you have fresh, good quality stuff. You want a simple recipe to start: flour, sugar, oil/butter, salt, vanilla, eggs, maybe some kind of mix-in. A sugar cookie recipe might be ideal for the white ingredient factor. Mix the wet ingredients and sugar in one bowl, sift* the rest of the dry ingredients in another. Then you stir the contents of both bowls together just until combined and add any mix-ins, like oatmeal/raisins/nuts.

    Until you have successfully made a good batch of cookies, don’t deviate from the recipe at all. The possible exception is if you first consult a friend who makes good cookies, then get specific advice for ingredient substitutions. You want to have the satisfaction of a few good batches before you start experimenting with recipe changes, and you want to get a feel for how the dough should look (and maybe taste) so you know before you bake it whether you need to add something else.

    Now go make some cookies. You can do this. You might even try it without kids first, so you have a practice run under your belt (and backup cookies to eat if the kid-batch fails).

    * You don’t even really have to sift, but it does make the cookies better and helps get the dry ingredients well-mixed. I just use a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl, and scrape with a spoon to get everything through the strainer. Instead of sifting, you can also use a whisk to stir them up in the bowl. Just make sure your dry ingredients are well mixed so you don’t end up with a clump of salt in one cookie and a heap of baking soda in another.

  9. don’t ask me. I can’t bake. I can cook like gangbusters but bake? pshaw! no way. the last cookies I baked were the pre-made dough and I was on the phone with my bestie the whole time to make sure I didn’t eff up.

    thank god my roommate can bake. that woman is magical.

  10. Well, since I have a degree in baking and pastry you would think I could come up with something off the top of my head that was easy. The only problem is that I will think it is easy and you may not, since you can’t even make boxed cookies (neener-neener-neener!)

    I could give you the recipe to my FAVE cookies (Garbage Cookies) but that would mean I have to kill you afterwards (or just give it to you secretly because I love you) either way, I have nothing to offer you here at this moment. HA!

  11. 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies.

    1cup peanut butter
    1 egg
    1 cup brown sugar.

    Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a bowl til nicely blended. Drop from a spoon onto the ungreased cookie sheet. (About the size of a small egg.) Bake for 12-16 minutes.

  12. Break and bake cookies in the refrigerated section near the canned biscuits. They have sugar cookies and oatmeal. I NEVER do anything but those. Why slave over baking your own from scratch when they won’t taste as good?

  13. Definitely the Quaker oatmeal cookie recipe or the Tollhouse recipe, if you’re looking to enjoy mixing ingredients.
    A secret I learned from my old roommate re: baking without eggs, but I think it only works for cake from a box: a can of clear soda (I use diet Sprite).
    Otherwise, I totally agree with break&bake or just the place&bake. They’re really yummy and easy. The holiday sugar cookie ones are cute/colorful!!

  14. Um…we missed this in our cooking sessions I take it? Maybe we should try on Wednesday =) White chocolate macademia nut? I agree with what Kat said…i would stick to bars and then try cookies.

  15. Cookies are never easy and kids always lose interest before you get done. It ain’t fair. Suit yourself. My daughter says there’s nothing to it, just whip it together, why didn’t you do this with us? and I said I did do it with you, I remember. She said maybe the reason I don’t remember is because you thought it was so hard. Maybe so. I can tell you how to make really good chocolate chip (oops, no chocolate) cookies or brownies, another oops. See, if it isn’t chocolate I probably don’t make it. unless it’s the kind you make and chill and roll out and cut and repeat and make a huge mess and this is why I don’t make cookies. The grocery store does such a great job.

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