0. Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
I consider these a very good starter cookie, in that you can swap out the chocolate chips for whatever, mess with extracts, use a Hershey’s kiss in the middle instead of smaller chips, etc., and the result is still guaranteed to be at least pretty tasty. They’re not ground-breaking – most people making chocolate chip cookies are probably using this recipe or something very similar – but the recipe is useful to have on hand nonetheless just for the classic taste and simplicity. Or you can just freeze the dough and eat that.
Hardest part: not eating all the dough first
1. Pumpkin Cookies:
These are pretty good, though texturally a bit different than your average cookie. It’s probably easier to think of them as cookie-sized Starbucks’ pumpkin scones.
Hardest part: making the frosting look nice
2. Machine Learned Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies:
These are pretty straightforward, combining two generic versions of peanut butter and coconut cookies. Note that they don’t come with more than an ingredients list, but you can usually assume for drop cookies like these that you 1. mix wet ingredients and sugars in a large bowl, 2. mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl, 3. add dry to wet gradually and stir, and then 4. add extras (e.g. coconut) before 5. baking at around 350 for 8-10 minutes or until cookie-shaped and structurally sound.
Hardest part: figuring out the recipe
3. Andes Chunk Cookies:
Nothing quite like taking a straightforward cookie recipe like chocolate chip cookies and making them excellent. This has a bit more complexity than the usual drop cookie base, but the result is awesome. That said, if you’re not into the complexity, you can just substitute smashed Andes mints in the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip recipe (my go-to base cookie recipe) and get a similar result.
Hardest part: separating an egg. I would have said smashing Andes, but everyone loves that part.
4. Soft Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies:
This makes for a super nice, thick dough – the sort that’s fun to play around with but will make your cheap handheld mixer smoke if you’re not careful. It’s a good sweet generic party cookie that’s likely to go over well but nothing remarkable or memorable.
Hardest part: letting the dough chill and keeping it cool. I did a lot of moving the dough back and forth between the fridge and by the oven.
5. Almond Cookies
These are awesome if you’re into almond. That said, I might add a bit to the recipe by recommending that if you’re using almonds (or any nuts), you usually can stand to gain flavor-wise by toasting them a bit. But they’re great even if you don’t.
Hardest part: grinding almonds
6. Caramel Apple Cider Cookies
These guys are sickly sweet, but if you’re okay with that it’s worth a shot. I had a bit of trouble getting tiny little caramel balls, so I ended up melting a small caramel cube on top of each cookie instead, which still had the desired effect flavor-wise.
Hardest part: baby caramel balls
7. Vegan Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cookies
These are a pain in the ass and, in my opinion, not close to tasty enough to be worth it. That said, they’re vegan, gluten free, and sugar free, so if you’re in a dietary restrictions fix or just trying to cut down then it’s not a bad idea. That said, I would never choose this over real cookies.
Hardest part: getting into a contiguous form if you don’t have a good food processor
8. Lemon Meringues
Meringues are hard. Lemon curd is hard. Together, they make really, really complicated cookies. They’re great if you get them done, though, and the leftover lemon curd is usable as spread and keeps pretty well. If you have a stand mixer and a steady hand, they’re well worth it.
Hardest part: waiting for hard peaks on your meringue
9. Peanut Butter S’mores Cookie Cups
These are a bit labor intensive and very sweet but they’re also fun and rich cookies. They also feature Nutella, which really deserves to be in many more recipes than it is. My main tip from these is not to try to substitute marshmallows for marshmallow fluff – they tend to condense to the point of being impossible to distinguish.
Hardest part: forming the cookie layers
10. Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies
This is the sort of recipe that’s worth keeping in a back pocket – easy, looks beautiful, tastes great, and easy to modify. My advice on these is to look at the comments to find ideas on how to get the recipe from pretty delicious to amazing – sometimes a slight change can make a big difference is a shortbread cookie’s overall taste. That said, enough chocolate will make that subtlety unimportant.
Hardest part: melting chocolate
11. Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies
Unmodified, I think this recipe is so-so, but it does have a lot of potential and serves as a friendly reminder that cake mixes are great bases for easy fluffy cookies. I might skip the white chocolate – it doesn’t add much to the flavor here. But the red velvet and cream cheese parts both turn out pretty well.
Hardest part: making non-leaking consistently-sized filled cookies
12. Easy Lemon Cookies
This is perhaps a better example of the cake-mix-base cookie turning out as a success. Seriously, I can’t recommend this enough – it saves a ton of time and usually gets a very fluffy cookie, which is especially fun for a crackle cookie like this (cookies that you roll in powdered sugar before baking leaving a cracked pattern on the top after). These are easy, delicious, and impressive-looking.
Hardest part: powdered sugar coating
13. Brownie Crackle-top Cookies
If the people eating your cookies like chocolate (I pity those that don’t) these will be a success. The crackle-top thing I talked about before looks extra-good and provides a nice lighter sweetness on top of very, very rich chocolate cookies. The best part is that they are much easier than they look.
Hardest part: powdered sugar coating
14. Orange Cookies with Glaze
One of the lessons you learn with citrus cookies over time is that getting the flavor you want from a fruit is a lot easier said than done. Orange juice, orange zest, and orange extract all have different effects on flavor which change after you bake a cookie. This has a lot of orange countering that, for pretty good results, but I was still disappointed that it wasn’t a bit more orange-y.
Hardest part: zest-infused sugar
15. Homemade Oreos
These aren’t really homemade Oreos – they’re more like whoopie pies in effect, as the cookie part is a lot softer than an Oreo. They’re very sweet, but you can play around with the flavoring if you like (as Oreos often do) for fun results. I really enjoyed the mint ones I made.
Hardest part: getting the cookies the right shape
16. Chewy Coconut Cookies
These are generic coconut-y cookies, and they’re pretty good if pretty basic. I found the dough to be a bit thin but you can look more in the reviews to get some tips for how to deal with that and otherwise improve on these.
Hardest part: getting nicely-shaped cookies (round and not too flat)
17. Lavender Cookies
These are far and beyond my favorite cookies I’ve made – they’re a bit salty and complicated but highly addictive and really well-balanced as well as attractive at the end. Aside from the egg wash (which, let’s be honest, isn’t that important here) it’s a pretty straightforward shortbread cookie with some lavender in it, which is part of what makes it great. This is the one I think people remember the most, and while it’s not an easy everyday cookie it’s worth trying at least once.
Hardest part: grinding up the lavender
18. Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies
I tend to get bored by generic oatmeal cookies, but adding just a little extra change from the sugar + oats combo can help a lot. This recipe is pretty durable if not super innovative. I would say that I think they suggest overbaking these a bit, and would suggest keeping an eye on them for the first couple of batches starting at 10 minutes.
Hardest part: waiting for dough to chill
19. Lime Sugar Cookie
These are a bit problematic when there’s a lime shortage and a little more complicated than they needed to be but the taste result is pretty good. As always, I was a little disappointed that they didn’t taste more lime-y, but that’s how this always goes.
Hardest part: separating eggs
20. Homemade Samoas
They taste right, and if you follow the directions, they look right, too. That said, these take a lot of steps and really require you to have many hours free between the rounds of cookie-making and cleanup. But for the ability to control your supply of Samoas, it may well be worth it.
Hardest part: making the caramel coconut topping (double boiler of caramel + toasting coconut = giant mess)
21. Pink Lemonade Cookies
This was one of the more disappointing strikeouts on the citrus cookie attempts. The resulting cookies were sweet and pink and had no lemon flavor to speak of. I tried to compensate by using some leftover concentrate to make frosting instead of settling for “brushing with the remaining lemonade” and the result was sour enough but way too sweet and not smooth to the taste at all.
Hardest part: getting the lemonade taste
22. Chocolate-Dipped Orange Cookies
These didn’t taste much like orange but did get enough to taste better than a generic sugar cookie with chocolate in it. They’re good for the holidays if not earth-shattering.
Hardest part: dipping in chocolate
23. Reese’s Pieces Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies
These are sweet, fun, and super easy, as cake mix recipes should be. I’m going to take this opportunity to mention that if you do use a cake mix in a recipe, it’s a good idea to sift the cake mix first, as there are often dense clumps of cake mix that don’t separate out well and will be hard to smash down once in the bowl.
Hardest part: stirring
24. Jello Cookies
My enthusiasm for these cookies knows no bounds – after having experimented with a variety of festive-looking cookies and citrus-flavored cookies I found this to be far and beyond the easiest and most successful way to get a summer cookie. Seriously, if you want a cookie that tastes a little sour or fruity instead of just sweet and vaguely fruit flavored, or if you want a cookie that looks actually blue or purple instead of just muddy brown, this is how to do it. I tried raspberry and lime; the raspberry was perfect, the lime a tiny bit less so but still my favorite citrus cookie so far.
Hardest part: kneading color into dough
25. Sea Salt Nutella Cookies
These are tasty, though I might suggest being less aggressive than I was about the salt – the flavor contrast is fun but there is such a thing as too salty. They also weren’t as fluffy as I would have liked. That said, this recipe suggests the possibility of a flourless version, which might be great for the gluten free people you know.
Hardest part: getting the sea salt balance right
26. Blueberry Drop Cookies
These aren’t really drop cookies; texturally, they’re more like muffin tops. But golly gee are they good. I might also advocate frozen blueberries: they’re less likely to pop when you’re stirring the mix together and by the end of the chilling process everything will be around the same temperature.
Hardest part: mixing in blueberries
27. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
When I made these, I skipped the walnuts, because I don’t find them tasty and oatmeal cookies have enough going on texturally that it seemed unnecessary. That said, you should do what you want to do. I think these came out sweeter than expected but not offensively so. I also found these to flatten out way more than I was expecting – keep the dough chilled and maybe add more flour if you want to experiment with that.
Hardest part: dropping evenly-sized rounded tablespoons
28. Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies
These are just so wrong. So, so wrong. But so delicious.
Hardest part: homogenous crushing of Oreos
29. Gluten Free Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe was trying to be too much at once, and I should have seen it coming. The cookies barely held together (a common symptom of gluten-free cookies) and the taste of the coconut oil overwhelmed everything else, making it taste grossly sweet for what’s supposed to be a savory cookie. I would use actual butter in these instead of targeting the dairy-free property of coconut oil, and I might make sure to chill the dough first. But hey, bacon.
Hardest part: maple bacon
30. Nonna’s Biscotti
This a great and not-too-sensitive recipe – you can mess around with different flavors and additions to the basic biscotti part and still wind up with a good flavor. I used some Disaronno in place of brandy and dipped them in chocolate with amazing results.
Hardest part: lightly toasting almonds