Me Old Nan used to tell me that "there are six basic types of cookie dough- drop, bar, rolled, molded, pressed, and refrigerator doughs." and I used to wait for the punch line, because she had the mouth of a sailor.
But apparently it was one of her more lucid moments and she really was trying to teach me something. Not like the time she gave me a big bag of flour when I brought my first high school date home, a rarther large lass, I really didn't understand what me Old Nan meant by "you'll have to roll her in it".
Drop-cookie dough is usually mixed in one bowl and dropped by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Bar-cookie dough is baked in a shallow square or rectangular pan; the cookies may be chewy or cakelike in texture. Rolled-cookie dough is rolled thin and cut with cookie cutters, a knife, or a pastry wheel. Molded-cookie dough can be shaped by hand into balls, sticks, or crescents; the shapes may be flattened with the bottom of a glass or tines of a fork. Pressed-cookie dough, usually a very rich mixture, can be forced through a cookie press into a variety of shapes.
Refrigerator-cookie dough is shaped into rolls and well chilled before it is thinly sliced and baked. Packaged refrigerator dough is ready to slice or shape and bake.
Cookie dough usually contains all-purpose flour, shortening, liquid (eggs or milk), and leavening; these ingredients vary in proportion to the type of cookie being prepared. Butter, margarine, or other shortening may be used; some butter is desirable because of its flavor. Recipes for rich cookies may require all butter.
Equipment and Baking
Cookie-making equipment should include standard measuring utensils, rolling pin, breadboard, cookie cutters, and baking sheets. An electric mixer may be used to mix soft doughs.
Cookies should be baked in a preheated oven, allowing sufficient space between cookie sheets or pans and oven walls for good heat circulation.
It is wise to bake a few samples first, to test for spreading. If they spread too much, the dough should be chilled or partially frozen before continuing the baking. Baking time must be watched closely. The cookies should be removed from the oven when they are rightly browned and set in the center and cooled immediately on a wire rack. Soft cookies should be stored in a tightly covered container; crisp cookies in a loosely covered container. Cookies may be recrisped by placing them in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes.