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There aren't many desserts that can top a well-executed cookie. Cookies are a versatile treat, encompassing everything from the crowd-pleasing chocolate chip cookie to elegant macarons. Chewy or crunchy, simple or artfully decorated, cookies are appropriate for almost any occasion. Plus, cookies are a great choice for entertaining since they are easy to transport and can be held easily in one hand. All of these are reasons an aspiring baker needs to have a great cookie recipe on hand. Try these ten classic cookies for a great start to becoming a cookie master.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture, then stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

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Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar (additional for rolling)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Next, cream the butter in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light in color and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined - careful not to overmix! Gently dough into tablespoon-sized balls, then roll each ball in the additional sugar to coat. Drop onto lined baking sheets.

cookies recipe classic joshblake / Getty Images
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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions: Cream the softened butter and both sugars together, then add the eggs and mix until combined. Next, add the vanilla and molasses and stir until combined. In a separate bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Beat in the oats and raisins to create a thick, sticky dough. Chill the dough for 30 to 60 minutes. When chilled, roll 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough into balls and place on baking sheets. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 12-13 minutes.

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Jam Thumbprints

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup jam

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, whip the butter and the sugar with a hand-held mixer for about five minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until just combined, then slowly beat in the dry ingredients. Scoop the dough into one-inch balls. Place about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press a thumbprint into the center of each and fill with jam. Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until just browned.

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Snickerdoodles

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and stir until combined. Shape dough by spoonfuls into balls. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix the 4 tablespoons granulated sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place dough about 2 inches apart on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes.

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Cut-Out Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Tinted frosting, colored sugars, edible glitter and nonpareils

Directions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill for 1 hour or until firm.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in thickness. Cut out with Christmas cookie cutters of your choice. Using a floured spatula, transfer cookies to greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire racks.
  • Decorate cookies with frosting and colored sugars.
classic cookie recipe YinYang / Getty Images

Florentines

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups sliced, blanched almonds
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat to 350 degrees. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, but not mealy. Stir together the nuts, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl. Meanwhile, place the sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour mixture into almond mixture and stir just to combine. Set aside until cooled, then scoop rounded teaspoons onto a baking sheet, leaving 3 to 4 inches between cookies. Bake for 10-11 minutes.

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Meringues

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large, clean, completely grease-free bowl (moisture or fat will keep your meringues from turning out properly!). Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer, stir on low speed until mixture becomes foamy. Increase speed to high, then gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time, waiting for sugar to dissolve before adding the next spoonful. Beat until mixture is thick and shiny with stuff peaks. Stir in the vanilla, then fit a piping bag with a tip and fill the bag. Pipe onto a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for one hour, then leave in the oven until completely cooled, about 1-2 hours, before removing.

cookies thelinke / Getty Images

Italian Wedding Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar, with extra for rolling
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter in a bowl, then gradually add confectioner's sugar and salt. Beat until light and fluffy, then add the ground almonds and vanilla. Finally, blend in flour gradually and mix well. To form each cookie, roll about one teaspoon of dough into a ball. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, and bake for 15-20 minutes - make sure not to let them brown. Cool slightly, then roll in the extra confectioners' sugar for a sweet finish.

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French Macarons

Ingredients: Tip: Weigh your flour and sugar to get this tricky recipe just right!

  • 100 grams almond flour
  • 100 grams powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup room temperature egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup sugar

Directions: Sift together almond flour and sugar. Beat the egg whites on low until foamy. Add cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium. Slowly add sugar one tablespoon at a time, then increase to high speed until hard peaks form. Sift in flour mixture, and gently fold until batter is combined. Transfer batter to a bag. Pipe 1.5-inch rounds one inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets firmly to remove air bubbles. Let the macarons sit out for at least 15 minutes. While waiting, preheat the oven to 300. Bake the macarons for 18-20 minutes, then cool for 10-15 minutes before removing. Fill with jam or buttercream frosting.

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