“Who doesn’t like a cookie?” said Amy Carter. “If you’ve never baked anything else, cookies are a good way to start. They’re such a good entry into baking. They’re forgiving. Even if they crumble on you, someone will want to eat them, especially if you used good ingredients.”

She ought to know. Carter ran a bakery for nine years, was a pastry chef at a private club for four years, spent 19 years as a pastry instructor at the Art Institutes International Minnesota and is now in her fourth year as an executive chef for product development at Lunds & Byerlys. For the past five years, she has also managed the semifinalist portion of the Star Tribune’s cookie contest, overseeing a skilled, all-volunteer crew of baking professionals.

If anyone in the Twin Cities can be called a cookie-baking expert, it’s Carter. Here are her tips on …