Frequently asked Cookie questions

Your Cookie Questions

Leah asks…How do you get coookies so brown soft and tasty and get them well done without burning them. And how to you even get them to be so soft like millies cookies?
You do ask the tough cookie questions!
Lets look at your questions in reverse order.

How to get them soft?

Firstly use recipes that use sugar in liquid form; honey, golden syrup or molasses. Moisture is retained better through the baking process. Secondly cook them at a lower temperature than recommended. Try lowering it ten degrees at a time as you test them out. Thirdly, remove them from the oven when the edges are just golden, not dark, brown and the centre still looks a bit on the raw side. They will cook on for a minute or two, depending upon their thickness and density, so that you get them just right. The problem is that every oven varies so it is a mater for some experimentation. Oh, and if the recipe calls for eggs use two egg yolks rather than one whole egg.

Cookies bake fast, around 10 minutes is typical, so even an extra minute is enough to burn the whole lot. I set my timer for two minutes less than the recommended time and then watch them carefully. Even then I get it wrong from time to time.

As for getting them brown, there is a simple answer. Cheat. Use molasses!

Try this one for fun:-

Chewy peanut and raisin cookie recipe

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Happy baking!

Matthew asks…Can you substitute butter for shortening?
Yes you can, in general, and with good health benefits as well.
You will find some differences.

Shortening tends to help the cookie to hold its shape, so substituting butter will cause it to run a bit more during cooking. If you refrigerate before cooking you can prevent this.

Shortening prolongs the ‘shelf life’ of baked products, so butter ones won’t last as ling. Not that that is a problem in my house!

Shortening provides a smother ‘finish’ to the taste. Most cookie recipes won’t be troubled by this, it affects cakes and pastries more.

Why the health benefits? That’s because shortening uses trans-fats – these are manufactured from natural fats by hydrogenating them and make them more solid. Trans-fats are not good for you as they retain bad cholesterol and help block your arteries.

For the full story see:-



Part of the fun in baking is knowing something about the ingredients we use. It is so easy to pop down to the store and buy another packet of whatever it is you need, but there is a lot of work that goes into getting a fresh, reliable product on the shelf ready for your masterly creation. This section of the site looks at several of the ingredients we use helping you to appreciate what goes into it and, perhaps, giving you a tale or two to tell at the tea table!
Sugar and molasses


Fats and Oils

Butter & Shortening

All about Trans Fats & why butter is good for you.

Ginger, that most versatile of spices, has an interesting background. Ginger

The truth about oats and oatflakes and why home made oatmeal based cookies are good for you. Oats

Go to the top of this page to read about the ingredients used.

Coconut Cookie recipe

Wow – Jet propelled Coconut sugar cookie recipe
If you like coconut biscuits, sweets and cookies then this is the recipe for you. It uses only the whites of two eggs. To use up the spare yolks try the Virginia Cookie recipe.
If your friends are anything like mine then you will need to make double quantities – they leave the plate as if jet propelled!


Eggs Whites of two
Caster sugar 4 ozs
Desiccated coconut 6 oz
Rice paper

Electric mixer

Clean spoon

Baking sheets

Cooling rack

Set the oven to 325F/ Mark 3.
Grease two baking sheets and cover with rice paper, or cut twenty 2″ squares of rice paper and place on the baking sheet.

Whisk the whites of two eggs hard until very stiff.

Weigh out the sugar and coconut into a bowl and mix roughly by hand.

Fold in the sugar and coconut mixture gently.

Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the rice paper.

Place in the hot oven for 12 to 15 minutes. They should be tinged brown on the ends of the knobbly bits.

Slide the rice paper from the baking sheet and place on a rack to cool.

Make a nice cup of tea so you can enjoy the first one yourself.

Go to the top of this page to read the Coconut Cookie recipe.

Savory cookie and other miscellaneous recipes

Savory cookie and other miscellaneous recipes
This site is focused on information and recipes for sugar cookies. But, like any cook, we do make other food items, and this section has a random selection for you to try.
The first section is about cookies; but this time savoury ones. Some may not strictly qualify as ‘cookies’ but they do use the same style of baking. So pick your recipe and get cooking!

Savory cookies

Stilton and Sesame seed cookies
These are small, savoury biscuits and should be served as an apetizer with your aperitifs. Stilton is a classic, blue veined, semi hard English cheese with a fairly strong taste and quite salty. You can use other cheeses to replace it. Do choose ones with a distinct flavor and that are soft enough to mix in to a smooth paste. Click here for the stilton & sesame recipe
Posh fish cakes
Whoever said fish cakes were only for kids hasn’t tried these ones. Packed with flavor – and a homemade tartare sauce – these are a great Friday evening treat. Click here for posh fish cakes
Favorite family recipes
My friend, John Oliver, writes up his favorite recipes from time to time for all to share. I’ve been a guest at his table many a time and can vouch for the cooking. Give them a try. Click here for Family favorite recipes
International Section
This section holds a variety of miscellaneous and cookie recipes from around the world.
Lets start with an Italian flavor. Small, crisp star shaped biscuits just cryingout for a good cup of coffee to accompany them. Italian Crispy Star Cookie recipe
Moving East we visit Greece for a family celebration favorite, Greek New Year bread.

Basic easy sugar cookie recipe

This recipe is in the short form style and is for baking great sugar cookies using American style measures and for small quantities. It makes about 18 to 24 cookies – depends upon how you thin you roll it out and the size of your cookie cutter. If you want to make more, just double all the quantities.

Sugar Cookies Good sugar cookies should be lightly browned by the cooking process, sweet from the sugar in them and used for decoration, and crisp to the bite but not dry. They are just right when they break into two pieces with a gentle snap and a small shower of crumbs if stressed along their middle.

Have you read our introduction to baking sugar cookies from the previous page? If you are a newcomer to baking go there first then follow the link back here.


Unsalted butter (softened out of the fridge for two or more hours) –1 stick, 4 oz

Caster sugar – 4 oz plus extra for decoration

Salt – ¼ teaspoon

1 egg (large)

Plain flour – 2 cups plus a bit – (see method) plus extra for rolling)

Baking powder – ½ teaspoon

Vanilla or almond flavouring – 2 teaspoons


Electric mixer


Two non-stick heavyweight baking sheets

Rolling pin

Cookie cutter to suit (8 cm diameter)

The Method

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F , Gas Mk 4 (hot oven)

Put the butter and sugar in an electric mixer. Beat on a fast setting until light and fluffy.

Add the salt and flavouring then add the egg. Add half the flour and the baking powder.

Add the remaining flour slowly. Stop adding flour when the mixture gets heavy and can just lift off the mixing bowl without sticking.

Pull the dough together into a ball, put it into the refrigerator for an hour. If you have not got time, you can skip this step.

Roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness, cut the individual cookies, place on baking sheets with at least ½ inch separation.

Sprinkle with caster sugar.

Place in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until a delicate golden brown.

Leave the cookies to cool on the baking trays for about two minutes. Then remove and place on a wire rack to finish cooling.