By Linda A.
Some excellent tips! By the way, that tip regarding organizing your ingredients before you start and putting away each ingredient as soon as you've used it applies to baking ANYTHING, not just cookies. :)
If you forget to soften your butter in advance and you're in a hurry, nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds. (Caution! If your butter stick is wrapped in foil, remove the wrapper BEFORE you put it in the microwave, otherwise you'll get arcing, you know, that scary flash of "lightning bolts.") Another way to save a bit of time is to mix together as many of the dry ingredients in advance as possible and store the mixture in a storage container with a lid. (I use large margarine containers that have been cleaned out.)
If you prefer your cookies soft and chewy rather than crispy and crumbly, as I do, bake them at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes.
I'm not a big fan of using parchment paper myself. I prefer using my trusty Baker's Joy baking spray. (PAM has their own version of Baker's Joy now, but it's more expensive.) I'm not so lazy that I either can't or won't clean off a baking sheet.