Any way you roll, drop, or slice it, you need a few basic tools to cover your bases.
Baking Tools
Credit: Jennifer R. Davick

Mixing Bowls
A set of metal or glass nesting bowls in three different sizes equals one for every task—mixing dry ingredients, creaming butter and sugar, or melting chocolate.

Measuring Cups and Spoons
A heavy-duty metal set of measuring cups for dry ingredients and glass measuring cups with a lip in sizes up to 4 quarts for liquids are workhorses of the baker's kitchen. A set of measuring spoons on a ring keeps things together and tidy.

For beating eggs, whipping egg whites or cream, or whisking dry ingredients, a balloon whisk is a must.

Sifter/Mesh Strainer
Whether you use a hand-crank sifter or a wire-mesh strainer, both produce light, fluffy lump-free flour that yields tender baked goods. They may also be used to dust baked goods with powdered sugar or cocoa.

Wooden Spoons
For mixing batters, there are few better (or less expensive) tools in the kitchen.

Rolling Pin
Whether you choose one made of wood or marble, with handles or without, choose a heavy one so you don't have to press too hard as you roll the dough.

Ice cream-style scoops come in many sizes to portion dough with precision, and the trigger action of the scoops keeps hands clean.

Choose flexible rubber ones for folding in ingredients and scraping down bowls, metal varieties for transferring cookies to cooling racks, and small offset spatulas for icing or moving smaller cookies from pan to plate.

Cookie Cutters
With options in every shape and size imaginable, this is where you have fun with rolled cookie dough.

Parchment Paper
Make cleanup a cinch by lining pans with parchment to keep baked goods from sticking.

Sheet Pans
Larger than most baking sheets, jelly-roll pans with rims are all you need for baking cookies. Other options include insulated and nonstick baking sheets.

Kitchen Timer
If you don't use a wristwatch, cell phone, or tablet to time your baking, an old-fashioned timer is a must.

Cooling Rack
Raised mesh racks allow air to circulate around cookies so that they cool evenly and quickly.

Cookie Tins
The best thing since sliced bread is the airtight container. Decorative ones are great for giving, but any kind keeps cookies fresh longer.

Candy Thermometer
These are designed to precisely measure high temperatures of foods, such as caramel. Buy one with a clip attachment so you don't have to hold it while you stir.

Now that you have the basic tools, check out our Best Loved Cookie and Bars. You'll be setting up a bake-sale or bringing your neighbors fresh cookies in no time.