I haven't scooped cookie dough with a spoon for so long, I'd almost forgotten how to do it.

For nearly 20 years, ever since we started carrying cookie scoops in our Baker's Catalogue, I've been a huge fan of these versatile kitchen tools.

I bake a lot, providing treats for community gatherings ranging from church bake sales to library book talks to coffee break for the volunteers at our local Audubon sanctuary.

And I wouldn't think of baking batch after batch after double batch of cookies the old-fashioned way, using a spoon to drop dough onto the pan.

What's so special about cookie scoops? C'mon, I'll show you.

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Make a batch of your favorite drop cookie dough.

What's a drop cookie, you ask? Simply one you shape by dropping balls of dough onto a baking sheet – as opposed to rolling out and cutting with a cutter, or baking in an iron (e.g., pizzelle).

Drop cookies include peanut butter cookies, snickerdoodles, oatmeal cookies – really, all the best-known, favorite cookies.

I've made a batch of dough for my favorite chocolate chip cookies here.

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Next, scoop the dough onto a pan.

I scoop 15 cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, using a regular spoon.

As you can see by the timer, it takes me 1 minute, 38 seconds. And I end up with very sticky fingers, from scraping the dough off the spoon.

Yes, I could have used two spoons; and I tried that. But then the dough stuck to both spoons instead of just one. Not a real time-saver.

Notice the finished cookies; they're basically round (some more than others), but some are a bit uneven.

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Here's the same test, using a teaspoon cookie scoop. My fingers stay clean, out of the dough. And scooping 15 cookies takes 54 seconds – a 31.9% reduction in time compared to using a spoon.

The finished cookies include some that aren't perfectly round; but as you can see, they look pretty good.

Also, unlike my spoon-scooped cookies, the cookies are all basically the same size, within 1/4" or so. Since the scoop lets you portion out the same amount of dough each time – no guesswork – your cookies will be very consistent, size-wise.

Cookie scoops come in a range of sizes.

The nice thing about cookie scoops is their variety of sizes: teaspoon, tablespoon, and BIG (1/4 cup). But the teaspoon and tablespoon scoops don't measure out an exact teaspoon or tablespoon of dough.

Let me explain: these scoops portion out the amount of dough called for in old-fashioned recipes. You know how your Joy of Cooking might say "Drop dough by the teaspoonful"? Or tablespoonful?

These weren't referring to measuring-spoon spoons, but rather common kitchen spoons. To give an example, you'd use a teaspoon to stir your coffee; a tablespoon to sip your soup.

We can't know for sure exactly what those old-time bakers had in mind for "teaspoon" and "tablespoon." But here's what we've came up with –

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Teaspoon scoop: 1 3/4 measuring teaspoons dough, to make a 2" to 2 1/4" cookie.
Tablespoon scoop: 4 measuring teaspoons dough, to make a a 3" to 3 1/4" cookie.
Big scoop (a.k.a. muffin scoop): 1/4 cup dough, to make a 4" to 4 1/4" cookie.

We also offer a jumbo scoop, which holds 2 tablespoons of dough, and makes a cookie somewhere in size between the tablespoon and big scoops.

Which size cookie scoop should you choose?

I use the teaspoon scoop for groups of kid, potlucks, church refreshments, family gatherings, and other occasions when you want a lot of cookies. I'll get about 7 dozen cookies out of my chocolate chip cookie recipe, using a teaspoon scoop. And 2 1/4" isn't a small cookie, by any means; it's about the size of a typical chocolate chip cookie you'd find in the cookie aisle at the grocery store.

The tablespoon scoop is perfect when you want a more impressive cookie, one more dessert-like in size, rather than snack-like. It's large enough that you'll be satisfied with just one.

The biggest scoop I use strictly for bake sales, where you want to sell individual cookies. The big, 4"+ cookies made from this 1/4-cup scoop slip nicely into waxed bags, ready to label and price.

To sum it up, here's how a cookie scoop helps you:

•Saves time.
•Makes uniform-sized, round cookies.
•Keeps your hands clean.
•Allows you to choose your favorite size cookie, from kid-sized small to bake-sale large.

Now it's true, this post has been all about the journey...

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...but oh, that delicious destination!

PJ Hamel
The Author

About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

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