If your cookies come out flat and thin, add a little extra flour to your dough. When the dough is a little more dry, the cookies come out more cake-like. If you happen to like your cookies crunchy and flat, add a little less flour.
If your cookies burn or bake unevenly on the bottoms you may need a thicker cookie sheet. All ovens vary slightly. I learned this when I was forced to replace my very basic old oven when it suddenly quit. I had used lots of different cookie sheets in my old oven and never had a problem, but with my newer, fancier double-oven unit, I suddenly had crunchy cookies that kept burning on the bottom. I was completely flustered and tried several things until I finally tried using a thicker, more insulated cookie sheet. This took care of the problem and my cookies went back to coming out thick and soft.
Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and your countertop with aluminum foil. This keeps the bottoms of the cookies from becoming too dry and crispy while baking and helps hold in the moisture when they are cooling off on the counter.
Experiment with your baking times and figure out the ideal amount of baking time for your oven. It may vary slightly from the recipe you are using. Pull the cookies out of the oven just before they begin to brown. They will look slightly under cooked, but as they sit they will slowly continue to bake internally without drying out. My personal “Magic time” for my cookies is 13 minutes. They look a little pale and still wet and doughy when they come out of the oven, but after a few minutes of resting on the countertop they are perfect.
Once you have your perfect cookies mastered, you will want to keep the leftovers fresh and soft so be sure to bag them up in a ziplock storage bag or an airtight container. If you put them away while they are still warm, you will have softer cookies. Just be careful that you don’t put them away when they are still hot or else they will stick together.
If you have a favorite tip or suggestion to share about cookies, please feel free to leave it in the comments. It would be great to hear other thoughts and ideas.