As a child I was always confused when my friends would come over and ask me how my mom 's cookies were so soft? My response was, "why are your mom's so hard and crumbly?"
You see, I took for granted that there is an art to cookie baking, and most people just haven't figured it out, but lucky for me, my mom had....and she passed the knowledge onto me.
In my opinion, there is nothing worse than an over baked, dry, crumbly cookie. I mean, why go to all the trouble of placing those little balls on multiple pans if you are ruining them?
So I'm going to give you some hints, and hopefully, you will not be an overdone cookie offender.
First of all DO NOT use a dark pan or cookie sheet...dark pans always cook the bottoms faster, that's why cookies, cakes and biscuits are burnt on the bottoms. I only use airbake cookie sheets.
Second, USE parchment paper. Not only is this extremely helpful and time saving, it assures the cookies a nice and easy transfer. - I recently started using this, my mom did not teach me this trick, but I wish someone would have years ago.
Third, DO NOT over bake. If the time says 12 minutes, set the timer for 10! You can always leave them in an extra minute if needed. Once the cookies START to turn golden brown on the edges or top, it's time!
Cookies will continue to bake slightly after they are removed. I let them sit for a minute or two on the pan.
Next, I slide the parchment paper right onto my counter top. Then I slide the next batch (that I balled out onto parchment while the others were baking) onto the pan for a speedy turn around. Plus, this way you are not putting your dough on a hot cookie sheet, watching the first balls melt as you fill up the pan.
After the cookies are mostly cooled on the counter, I move them to a cooling rack.
These are Peanut Butter Cookies with chocolate chips...I will post the recipe at the end.
If your cookies are totally brown or look 'done' in the oven, you have over baked them. If baked correctly, they will seem very soft and gooey to you when you take them out, but that's because of the butter used, once they cool, they will be firm enough to move and hold. - notice the few dark spots, those are the 'indicators', many people leave them in till the entire cookie is that color.
Another tip, if it's been a few days and they are starting to get stale or crumbly, put a couple slices of bread in the container. The cookies will pull the moisture from the bread.
If you want them to stay fresh, and it's a few days before you will serve them, FREEZE them as soon as they are cool. I like to use ice cream containers, with layers separated by the parchment paper I used during baking. Take them out an hour before you need them, and they will taste as fresh as the day they were baked.
Recipe for Peanut Butter-Chocolate chip cookies
1 cup butter (use real butter)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semi sweet morsels
mix first 6 ingredients, add in the rest except for the morsels and beat well, fold in morsels
use a cookie dough scoop, and put one level scoop, 3 across on cookie sheet, make cross marks with a sugar dipped fork. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes