What is it with cookies? Everyone loves them. But then, who wouldn’t love a miniature dessert intended to be eaten with your hands—one that leaves traces of chocolate or jam to lick from fingertips, makes a child happy, or cheers up a friend? (Who doesn’t want to sneak one for breakfast?)

No dessert comes in more flavors, textures, sizes, and shapes than cookies —yet they are the simplest recipe in a baker’s repertoire.

That means there is a cookie for every personality and predilection, every mood and motivation. If you crave something crunchy to dip into your coffee or wine—there’s a biscotti to satisfy you.  If you want gooey, or seductive, oozing with chocolate or caramel—from pudding bars to brownies, your options are endless. Soft and cakey, chewy or flakey, spicy with ginger, or tangy with lemon: there are cookies for all of these cravings and countless more. 

Modern cookies play savory—bacon, Parmesan cheese, herbs, sea salt—alongside sweet.  While there is no shortage of classic chocolate chip and oatmeal cookie recipes, you can also find versions with cocoa nibs or whole grains, or vegan, raw, gluten- or grain-free.

The very aroma of cookies further explains their primal allure. The human sense of smell links directly to memory: if your mom made cookies for you or with you, I bet you have a special place in your heart for them today.

There’s no excuse not to treat yourself to a cookie.

And the freedom! When you walk into a cookie shop or approach a cookie platter, you get to choose your own favorite without sharing or compromising. From paper-thin wafers rolled into crispy cigarettes to the soul-satisfying chew of melt-in-your mouth meringues, the choice is yours. It’s no wonder that the child in each of us loves a cookie!

You can buy cookies in packages or fresh from a bakery, but there is every reason to DIY.  Cookies are fun and easy to make! Cookie-making invites creativity and makes the house smell divine. The very aroma of cookies further explains their primal allure.  The human sense of smell links directly to memory: if your mom made cookies for you or with you, I bet you have a special place in your heart for them today. 

Just one final thought: if you don’t bake cookies with your kids, who will pass the torch, ensuring that the next generation loves cookies?

Think about it.

Alice Medrich is the winner of 5 James Beard Foundation Awards, most recently Best Baking & Dessert Book of the Year for her 10th cookbook, Flavor Flours (Artisan Books, November 2014). She received her formal training at the prestigious École Lenôtre in France and is widely credited with popularizing chocolate truffles in America. Medrich writes Food52’s Rogue Baking Tips column and teaches online baking courses at Craftsy.com. She lives in Berkeley, California. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @AliceMedrich and please visit alicemedrich.com.