Measure all ingredients carefully and use the appropriate type of measuring cups. For dry ingredients, use nested cups with a flat top edge so you can level them off with a knife. For wet ingredients, use a glass measuring cup with a spout, set the filled cup on a flat surface, and bend down to the cup level to read the measurement line.
Prepare the cookie sheets. Grease the cookie sheet only if the recipe calls for it. Use butter or solid vegetable shortening, but don’t grease with cooking oil because it will bake on to form a hard-to-remove coating. Grease sparingly… too much grease will cause the cookies to spread too much. A better alternative… use parchment paper.
Make each cookie about the same size and thickness so they will bake evenly. To make drop cookies all the same size, fill a spoon or a small ice cream scoop.
Leave space between each cookie on the cookie sheet. I like to bake twelve cookies on a sheet, four down, three across, evenly spaced.
Let the cookie sheets cool after baking. It is easier to work with two or three cookie sheets, but if you have only one, let it get cool before you put more unbaked cookies on it… otherwise the heat still left in the pan will cause the cookie dough to spread.
Make sure your oven temperature is accurate. Purchase an inexpensive oven thermometer and check your oven, especially if you are using the recommended baking temperatures and your cookies are taking more or less time than the stated baking time.
Always bake cookies on the middle rack of your oven, or rotate two pans from the top to the bottom racks.
Bake cookies for the correct amount of time. Just before the stated recipe baking time is up, check the cookies for doneness by gently touching the top of one cookie with your finger. If you leave an indentation, the cookie needs to bake longer. If the cookie feels firm and no impression is left, the cookie is done.
When the cookies have finished baking, use a wide metal spatula to remove them from the cookie sheet. Do this immediately and the cookies will not stick. Place the cookies on a wire rack for cooling.