Okay, so, you've signed up to bake "a batch" of cookies for your school/work/volunteer function. And you think you know what recipe you want to use. But...how many cookies are in a batch? And more importantly — how many cookies are enough?
Of course, the answer to that last question is: There's no such thing as enough cookies. More cookies! Always more cookies!
But I've gone ahead and done a little digging to find out if there's a real, numerical answer to what exactly constitutes a "batch" of cookies. And it turns out there's not, not really.
How many cookies are in a batch?
A "batch" is just the total amount a recipe makes at one time.
The term "batch" can be used fairly loosely, too. If you double or triple a cookie recipe but make the dough all at once in one mixing bowl, technically that's one batch of dough. But if you told someone you made "three batches" of cookies, they'd probably know what you meant.
Taken literally, however, saying you made "three batches" of cookies means that you made one batch of cookie dough and cookies, then a second batch of cookie dough and cookies, then a third batch of cookie dough and cookies.
Because a "batch" is the amount a recipe makes at one time.
The average number of cookies in a batch can range from 24-36 (based on some light research I did into the cookbooks I happen to have on my shelves), but that's just an average, so some recipes will make more than 36 and others will make fewer than 24.
The number of cookies in a batch changes depending on the recipe
If you're baking Nestle's classic Toll House Cookie recipe, you'll end up with approximately 60 cookies (5 dozen), that is, if you follow the recipe precisely, dropping the dough in perfectly equal rounded tablespoons.
Of course, Nestle's recipe also says that one batch of that same cookie dough can make 48 cookie bars.
But if you follow the slice-n-bake instructions, I'd guess you'd probably end up with around 60 cookies, but that would depend on how thin you make your slices.
On the other hand, if you make Deb's "Two Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Mega-Cookies" recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Every Day book, the batch is right there in the title: one batch of dough makes two cookies.
Although, if you read her intro in the book she says that she came up with the recipe when she got bored scooping cookie dough for her usual oatmeal raisin cookie recipe and decided to just make some big cookies instead.
So again, one batch of dough can make a small batch or a large batch of cookies, depending on how big your cookies are.
So how can you make sure you make enough cookies?
If you've committed to bringing cookies to an event of some sort — first of all, instead of discussing the number of cookies you're committing to in terms of batches, work in dozens.
A dozen is 12 cookies. Most recipes make 2-4 dozen cookies. Thats 24-48 cookies! Easy!
Of course, the number of cookies you'll need depends on the size of the cookies you're making and what else will be served.
Let's use the rounded tablespoon Toll House drop cookies as an example. And let's say you're bringing them to a potluck where at least one other person is also bringing a dessert. A good estimate is 3-5 one tablespoon scoop cookies per person.
If there are 7 people at the potluck, that's 21-35 cookies, and you're more than covered by one "batch" of the Toll House recipe which makes 60 (5 dozen) cookies. If there are 10 people at the potluck, you're still covered.
Honestly, even if there are 12 or 13 people at the potluck, you're probably fine! You'll definitely run out of cookies, but you won't not have enough, either.
If it's cookies for 15 people or more, then you might want to bake a second batch.
Just going on personal experience, the Toll House recipe makes more cookies than the average "batch" of dough. Most recipes make somewhere from 24-48 cookies.
But if you do the math on number of people and estimate 3-5 cookies per person, you'll be able to figure out if you need to double — or triple — your recipe.
On the other hand, if you're making a recipe that uses a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, like my spiced chocolate chunk cookies, lower your cookies-per-person estimate to 2-3. Those cookies are twice as big as the Toll House ones and people won't eat quite as many.