Cookbooks usually classify cookies according to the way they’re made. The basic types are:
- Drop Cookies: The easiest—the dough is dropped onto the baking sheets in spoonfuls. Most popular varieties, chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter.
- Bar Cookies: Baked in a solid sheet In a square or rectangular pan, then cut into bars or squares. Brownies are the best known.
- Rolled Cookies: The dough is chilled, then rolled out thin with a rolling pin and cut with a cookie cutter or a knife. Although they are sometimes considered more trouble to prepare (you have to wait while the dough chills), rolled cookies are also handy. You can roll out just part of the dough, and keep the rest refrigerated (or frozen). That way, you can roll out and bake a few cookies in minutes, any time you want them freshly baked. Popular examples: sugar cookies, many holiday cookies.
- Refrigerator Cookies: The dough is formed in cylindrical rolls and chilled (or frozen), then sliced and baked. Easy to do, and like rolled cookies (above), once you’ve got the dough on hand, you can slice and bake a few any time you like.