If you're a newbie to baking, you don't have to go into it blind! There's no need to feel alone; I know from experience that it's easy to mess up recipes when you first try them. For me, nailing a sugar cookie recipe has taken a lot of time and effort. However, after much trial and error, I've finally come up with the best sugar cookies I've ever tried!

I'm so excited to share my tips and tricks that will help you understand the art of baking a little better. If you want to follow along, here is a recipe I found on how to make "Easy Sugar Cookies", however, we're going to tweak it just a bit. Want to know how to make the perfect cookies? Let's dive in!

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Josi Miller

1. All About the Butter

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Caroline Ingalls

The butter is the first thing that is put into the bowl, making it very important. However, what a lot of people don't know is that the state of your butter makes a difference in your final product. Here's a cool trick: if you're a fan of chewy cookies, you might want to consider using melted butter for your recipe, instead of softened butter. On the other hand, the colder and stiffer the butter, the less chewy the cookie; instead, your cookie will have a more cake-like consistency. The way you prepare your butter can be the difference between a dry or soft, chewy cookie.

2. Using Self-Rising Flour

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Jocelyn Hsu

For someone inexperienced in the kitchen, the use of baking powder might seem very intimidating. Since baking powder determines the success of your cookie, it can be a headache to deal with. Without baking powder, your cookie will not rise and will come out looking like a flat piece of cardboard. And guess what? A very common mistake is that people forget to even add it into their bowls! Since the recipe for sugar cookies requires such a small amount of baking powder -- and other major ingredients such as sugar and flour tend to be regarded as more important -- people always forget to add it. A solution to this problem? Buy self-rising flour! Self-rising flour already contains baking powder, and leaves you with one less step to do! So next time you see a recipe that calls for all-purpose flour and baking powder or soda, don't be afraid to substitute it for self-rising...it is easier and more cost effective. 

3. Using Egg Yolks 

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Spoon Csu

When making sugar cookies it is always a good idea to use only egg yolks as opposed to the whole egg. This is because egg yolks have a lot of fat, which add more flavor and tenderness to your cookies. Instead of using one whole egg, try using two egg yolks. This will give your cookies extra moisture and more chewiness. It will also give your dough a richer color.

4. Trust the Time

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Natalie Beam

Cookies are very easy to burn. People simply don't trust time! If your cookies are average-sized (the size of a ping-pong ball), they should not spend more than 15 minutes in an oven heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The cookies are going to be soft, and may even look raw at first, but once you take them out and leave them to cool, they will harden and even cook themselves from within out of the oven; this is called carryover cooking. The best advice is to trust the time! If you see a recipe that instructs they stay in the oven for 10 minutes, then that is what you do! 

5. The Cooling Process

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Spoon Csu

This has to be the hardest part of baking, mainly because you're so hungry, all you want to do is eat the cookies fresh out the oven! The cooling process is important if you want a cookie that is going to remain intact. When you bake cookies, it is always a good idea to put parchment paper or a silicone sheet on top of your sheet pan to prevent them from sticking, but even this can't prevent you from breakage. That's why patience is key in baking. It is important to allow your cookies time to cool down before trying to scrape them up with a spatula. If not, they'll crumble and break, and you'll end up with a cookie disaster.

Sabrina Fernandez

Above is an image of my delicious sugar cookie! Chewy, moist, soft, just how I want it! If there's anything you take away today, don't forget that melted butter, egg yolks, self-rising flour, patience, and proper cooling will be your BFFS next time you bake. Life is better with fresh baked cookies, especially when done right!