Welcome, cookie lovers! This post is just for you! In it, I’ll be sharing my Top 20 Must-Have Tools for Cookie Bakers, so lean in close for my secrets!
In an earlier post I listed my Top 20 Must-have Items for Cake Bakers. It was loaded with great information about how I bake and decorate cakes. But I’m equally as crazy about cookies, so today we turn our attention to all of the tools you’ll need to bake those cookies you love.
“What Sort of Cookies?” You Ask
Every sort of cookie!
The tools I’m going to suggest in this post will not only help you make Cut-Out Sugar Cookies and Easy Royal Icing, though most of my suggestions will come in very handy for those. I’m also providing some tools you’ll need for several other types of cookies, like my Chunky Oatmeal Craisin Cookies, my Mexican Wedding Cookies, Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies, Heavenly Snickerdoodles, and so many more.
What are we waiting for?
Keep reading to discover my Top 20 Must-Have Tools for Cookie Bakers.
1. A Good Stand Mixer
#1 on the list is a great stand mixer. Sure, you can do most cookies with a traditional hand-held mixer, but my Cut-Out Sugar Cookie recipe is pretty stiff and does better in a stand mixer. For sure, my Easy Royal Icing recipe does well in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. And once you start working with heavy doughs, like my Chunky Oatmeal Craisin Cookies, you’re safer with a stand mixer. (I’ve burned up a lot of mixers over the years with stiff doughs and batters.)
2. Measuring Cups and Spoons
It might sound silly to list such basic items, but I remember, as a young mom, how many times I needed measuring tools but didn’t have them. These days I have them in triplicate! No, really. I keep lots of extras on hand so that I can do multiple things at once.
I’m crazy about these Farberware Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups. I’m particularly fond of the bright colors. Might sound crazy, but the variation in colors makes them easier to manage. (You know those sets that are all the same color? From a distance it’s harder to tell which size cup is which.)
3. Silicone Spatula Set
Whether you’re using a stand mixer or a mixing bowl, you’ve got to have a way to scrape that cookie dough out of the bowl. I love my silicone/rubber spatulas. I collect them, in fact! I definitely require these spatulas when I’m making my Easy Royal Icing.
4. Zip-Lock Bags
I store all sorts of things in these and go through them like crazy! As I noted in my Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe, I often refrigerate or freeze cookie dough and it’s handy to have these nearby.
5. Cookie Height Guides
I use paint sticks, doubled. (You’re looking at a total of four sticks here, even though it looks like only two.) My cookies are a little more and 1/4 inch in height. Some people use wooden dowels, one on each side. Some folks use rings on their rolling pins. Regardless, it helps to have guides.
6. Waxed Paper
I use waxed paper for a variety of things but always when I’m rolling out cookie dough. If you read my Cut-Out Sugar Cookie post you saw a full demonstration of what that looks like. (I tend to panic if I’m running low on waxed paper, so I keep lots of it on hand!)
7. Rolling Pins
We all have our favorites (and I do have a traditional rolling pin) but I always find myself reaching for the larger fondant roller. When I’m rolling out a lot of cookie dough at once I can space out my guides and get the job done with the big roller. The smaller fondant rollers come in very handy when I’m doing small fondant decor on top of my cookies.
8. Cookie Cutters
I own hundreds of them and keep them organized in colorful bins. You can buy your cutters any number of places but I usually get mine from Amazon or from cheapcookiecutters.com.
9. A Thin Plastic Spatula
It’s not easy to find a thin plastic spatula but you’re going to need one to pick up that cookie dough and transfer it to the cookie sheet. I have one that I’ve used for years.
10. Nordic Ware Cookie Sheets
After years of trying many other types of cookies sheets, I finally settled on Nordic Ware pans. I’ll never go back, y’all. They’re half-sheet size and absolutely perfect. Some sheets are too thin, others are too dark (and burn the cookies). But these? They are the closest thing to ideal I’ve found.
11. Pre-Cut Parchment Sheets
You might wonder why I’m so partial to my Nordic Ware baking sheets. One reason is because these pre-cut parchment paper sheets are a perfect fit! Check out my S’Mores Kiss Cookies Recipe for a peek at the tray with parchment sheets on them.
12. Wire Cooling Racks
I have limited space on my island and these wire cooling racks come in handy. I love the fact they’re elevated and don’t sit too close to the surface. The extra air underneath helps cookies cool faster.
13. Cookie Scoops
As you can see, I have them in every size: ice cream scoop (for extra-large cookies), traditional cookie scoop (the one in the middle) and tiny (for those little bitties.)
14. Coloring Gels
I use Americolor brand and recommend starting with a student kit. (Pardon my messy bottles. They get handled a lot.)
15. Piping Bags
These tiny plastic couplers hold the smaller decorating tips in place and help with hand switch-out of bags and colors. I strongly suggest you stick with the Wilton brand, as the others don’t always fit traditional tips.
17. Piping Tips
You’ll need a variety of these for your cookie decorating. If you have to limit yourself, go with a #2, #3, 1M, leaf, and a couple of star tips (one small for making rosettes on cookies). This is the set that I bought when I was starting out.
18. Craft Bottles
I love these craft bottles from Sweet Sugarbelle. They are great for flood icing because they have interchangeable tips. I’ve tried a variety of bottles over the years and most were cheaply made (or didn’t have the tip attachments). These are ideal. I have them in two sizes.
19. Plastic Cutting Boards/Mats
I use the Pampered Chef version but Amazon sells a similar product. They’re ideal because cookie decorating is messy work and you often need to switch out for a new board halfway into your project. You can always use waxed paper to work on, but I find that it moves around and gets crinkly. These mats are perfect!
20. Edible Ink Pens
There are occasions when you’ll need to write on your cookies. See an example here, on my Cut-Out Sugar Cookies post. These edible ink pens are colorful and bright and the ink is totally safe for consumption!
That’s it, Folks! All 20 Items in One Handy List!
If you start to collect a few of these items now, you can grow your stash over time. I’ve actually got a lot more tools than this, but these items are on my must-have list!
If you enjoyed this post make sure to check out my other tips and tricks and learn how to Become a Better Baker! Enjoy!
To learn more about hand-painting cookies:
Cut-Out Sugar Cookies: Here you’ll learn to how make, cut out, and bake the perfect sugar cookie.
Easy Royal Icing: Here you’ll learn how to create and use royal icing to paint on cookies.
Tips for Cookie Decorating: Here you will learn more about the process of cookie decorating.
My Cookie Main Page: Here you’ll find links to every cookie I’ve uploaded to this site (as of the writing of this post).
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.