1. Do not over mix the dough
Beat the sugar into the butter, margarine or shortening. Eggs are then added one at a time. Finally, flour and dry ingredients added. Cookies have little or no liquid ingredients so the dough is stiff compared to a muffin or cake batter.
2. Refrigerate the dough
Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours minutes or until cold. Most cookies have a high fat content, and if left out at room temperature they will spread more than you may want when baked. Cold dough will give you a soft chewy cookie. After the dough is cold scoop your cookies.
3. Use a cookie scoop
This makes each cookie the same size allowing for even baking. For a smaller size cookie a size #40 scoop is great and a bit larger size is a #24 scoop.
4. Freeze the scooped cookies
Once the cookie dough is cold and easy to scoop, use your cookie scoop and scoop out all the cookies onto a baking sheet. Put them very close together, cover with plastic and freeze them overnight. Once they are frozen you can move them into a plastic container for long term storage if you wish. You can take out a few at a time and bake from the frozen state.
5. Prepare your cookie sheet / pans
Use a silpat or parchment paper if you like on your baking sheets. Depending on your baking sheets you may not need anything. After removing the cookies from the oven let them sit on the cookie sheet for 2-5 minutes to firm up and finish baking. Then remove to a cooling rack. Allow the cookie sheet to cool completely before putting the next batch of cookies on the sheet. Multiple pans solve this issue.
6. Don't over bake
Cookies bake in a short time, generally 8 to 15 minutes usually at 350 degrees to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Frozen dough may add a few minutes to the baking time. They can burn very easily, and they can be deceptive by looking under baked when in fact they're perfect. Many cookies rise a little bit, but usually collapse a bit when pulled from the oven. If you want soft chewy cookies under bake them, they will continue baking on the sheet. Crispy cookies leave a little longer in the oven.