Baking the perfect cookie

Do you find yourself searching for a jackhammer to "coax" your chocolate chip cookies off the baking sheet? Do your sugar cookies spread out like a leftover from the Chernoble meltdown? Here are some tips:

* Salted butter may be used in place of unsalted butter and vice versa. It is not necessary to add more salt to the recipe when using unsalted butter.

* Oversoftening the butter can cause cookies to spread. Refrigerate cookie dough one to two hours before baking. If the dough is still too soft, try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour. Always cool cookie sheets between batches.

* If dough is too dry or crumbly, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cream to soften it.

* All cookies on a cookie sheet should be the same size and thickness before baking. If some are small and/or thinner, they will bake faster. Also, rotate the cookie sheet halfway through baking. Use shiny aluminum cookie sheets without sides.

* Store soft cookies in a container with a tight-fitting lid and crisp cookies in one with a loose-fitting top.

Land O' Lakes holiday bake line: (800) 782-9606.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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