The Perfect Cookie Book Offers The Best 250 Recipes

People are passionate about their cookies, Julia Collin Davison learned as she worked on The Perfect Cookie book. The executive editor of books and host of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country had heated discussions with her team over which cookies would make it into the final book and which ones had to be cut from the line-up. “Every cookie — no matter how weird — has a serious fan out there somewhere,” says Davison . “I think cookies tug at our heartstrings a bit harder than other kinds of food because they remind us of our childhood and often, of our family’s heritage.”

If your kitchen area is anything like mine, there are cookie recipes everywhere. In the pantry, in the bookcase full of cookbooks, in the bedroom (because you were reading a cookbook), on your phone (since you took a photo of a recipe you saw in a magazine while waiting to see the doctor). To help stop the madness, America’s Test Kitchen created the definitive guide to cookie baking- The Perfect Cookie. The 448-page tome includes tips and tricks throughout, and insight on everything from what makes a cookie crunchy vs. chewy, to equipment and ingredients that set you up for success. It also includes 250 kitchen-tested recipes with color photos and detailed instructions. Drop cookies, sandwich cookies, bar cookies, no-bake cookies and an entire section of gluten-free cookies – they’re all in this book. The result? To help you bake the perfect cookie, every time.

When did our love affair with cookies begin? We may have the iconic NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookie to thank.

Carl Tremblay

America’s Test Kitchen created the definitive guide to cookie baking – The Perfect Cookie. The 448-page tome includes tips and tricks throughout, and insight on everything from what makes a cookie crunchy vs. chewy, to equipment and ingredients that set you up for success. It also includes 250 kitchen-tested recipes with color photos and detailed instructions.

The Toll House Cookie’s Rise to Success

Many of us have fond memories of a loved one baking Toll House cookies and begging to eat the raw cookie dough that lined the bowl. Why did the Toll House cookie become the go-to recipe for so many home bakers? “Well, for starters, it’s delicious!” admits Davison. “Also, this All-American recipe has been around since 1938 (it gained widespread popularity after WWII), so it’s been a standard for several generations.”

The recipe hasn’t really changed since it was first printed, so bakers can depend on it tasting the same every time, Davison adds. Not to mention, you don’t have to go digging around for the recipe when you want to make a batch, because it’s printed right on the back of the bag.

But its long-standing appeal goes beyond convenience. It does taste good and part of the reason is the way it’s prepared and it’s not as dependent on specific kitchen equipment. “It’s a solid cookie recipe with a standard creaming mixing method, which whips air into the batter so that the cookies have a light texture and crisp edges,” Davison explains. “It also cuts the white sugar with an equal amount of brown sugar, which gives the cookie a chewy center along with a lovely caramel flavor. Most importantly, however, the dough has proven to be very sturdy throughout the decades and the cookies turn out fairly consistent regardless of what kind of kitchen equipment you’re working with.”

Joe Keller 

Almond and raspberry are a winning combination, especially in these tender, sugar-coated cookie sandwiches. Try your hand at making them using the recipe below.

Best Cookie Tip and Trick

Davison and her team pack the book with tips and tricks throughout. Sidebars feature step-by-step photography to help those ready to try their hand at cookies requiring more advanced techniques like rolling paper-thin cookie rounds into neat Tuile Cigars. Each recipe also includes a “Why This Recipe Works” explanation, which helps us better understand why certain ingredients should be used or why a certain technique is preferred. We asked Davison for her number one tip and trick for baking the perfect cookie.

Cookie Tip: A standard home oven can vary by up to 50 degrees from the center to the sides, top, and bottom. This means that cookies will bake up differently (and possibly even scorch in some places) depending on their location in the oven. Therefore, it’s crucial to rotate the cookie sheet halfway through baking. And if you’re baking two trays at the same time, you’ll need to switch the trays halfway through baking as well.

Cookie Trick: Invest in a spring-loaded portion scoop which holds about 3 tablespoons (size of a standard drop cookie) . It will not only make the task of portioning out the dough go more quickly, but the uniformly sized cookies will bake more evenly too. Best of all, they cost less than $20.

Another thing to keep in mind is unless the recipe denotes otherwise, the term ‘flour’ refers to white flour (either bleached or unbleached). “Wheat flour can not be substituted for white flour in most recipes, or else the flavor and texture of the finished baked good will change dramatically,” she explains. “The reason for this is because wheat flour does not create gluten as readily as white flour, and gluten is key to the structure of a baked good. This is why all-wheat flour baked goods often have a dense, hard texture. In terms of white flour, we much prefer the heartier flavor of unbleached white flour to the pale, bland flavor of bleached white flour.”

She’s surrounded by great baking every day so what’s Davison’s favorite cookie? “My favorite cookie is a Nut Crescent Cookie, which also goes by the name Mexican Wedding Cookie, Italian Wedding Cookie, and Italian Snowball Cookie,” she shares. “It’s made with lots of finely chopped nuts (commonly almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts) and has a delicate, melt-in-your mouth texture that I just love.”

Below is one of the recipes from the book for almond-raspberry sandwich cookies. Who’s ready to start baking?

Almond-Raspberry Sandwich Cookies Recipe

Why This Recipe Works

Almond and raspberry are a winning combination, especially in these tender, sugar-coated cookie sandwiches. The generous amount of almonds in the dough doesn’t just flavor the cookies; it also tenderizes them for a rich melt-in-the-mouth texture. Sandwiched with sweet-tart raspberry jam, these cookies were delicious, but we went one step further to make them extra-special: We coated the sandwiches in granulated sugar for a sweet crunch and bit of sparkle. Filling the cookies with jam and coating them with the sugar while they were still warm helped the sugar stick to the baked cookies once they had cooled. The dough scraps can be gathered and rerolled; wrap them and refrigerate them briefly if they become too difficult to work with. Jams and preserves have superior berry flavor; do not fill the cookies with jelly. Our favorite is Smucker’s Red Raspberry Preserves. Sliced blanched almonds can be substituted for the slivered almonds.

Makes about 24 sandwich cookies

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups slivered almonds
  • ½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar, plus ½ cup for coating
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raspberry jam

1 Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Process 1 cup flour and almonds in food processor until almonds are finely ground, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup sugar and remaining 1 cup flour and process until combined. Add butter and vanilla and pulse until dough forms.

2 Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and roll to ¼ inch thickness. Using 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut dough into circles; space circles 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Gently reroll scraps, cut into circles, and transfer to prepared sheets. Bake until edges are light brown, about 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

3 Place remaining ½ cup sugar in bowl. Working quickly, spread 1 teaspoon jam over bottom of half of warm cookies, then top with remaining cookies, pressing lightly to adhere. Gently toss cookies in sugar to coat and transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before serving.