Tips for Using Cookie Cutters

If this is your first time using cookie cutters, keep in mind the following tips:

Don’t overwork the dough. Mix the sugar and butter till its smooth and pale. When you add the flour, mix only until it is all mixed through.

Chill your dough for about an hour after mixing. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to keep out air. You want to work with chilled dough when rolling.

Don’t roll the dough too thin or you won’t be able to handle it. Trial and error will get it right. 1/8th to ¼ inch is about right.

You can wrap rubber bands on the end of your rolling pin until your dough rolls out the thickness you want.

I like to roll my dough on waxed paper that has been lightly floured. I find it easier to lift and turn the dough.

Don’t try to roll the whole batch at once. Break off a piece of dough to roll and put the rest back in the refrigerator.

If dough gets too soft while you are rolling or cutting, put it back in the refrigerator. This is another good reason for using wax paper under your dough.

Frequently dust your rolling surface and rolling pin with flour but take care to do so very lightly. Adding too much flour while rolling makes the cookies tough.

Some bakers dust with granulated sugar rather than flour to avoid toughening the dough. Experiment with which technique you like better.

Another rolling technique, I use mostly for pies but it works for cookies too, is to roll the dough between two pieces of lightly flour dusted waxed paper.

Use a thin spatula to transfer cut cookie dough shapes to the baking sheet.

Cut your cookies and place on the sheet. Then refrigerate the sheet for a few minutes. Your cookie edges will be better detailed.

Choose larger sized cookie cutters. Cookies cut with tiny details are much more likely to break. And the larger sized cookies are easier to ice and decorate.

Keep a small bowl of flour nearby and dip your cutters and fingers if you have a sticky problem. If you find your cookie cutters are sticking to the dough, dip the bottom of the cutter into your flour bowl and tap off the excess flour. Then cut.

Don’t jiggle the cookie cutter. Set it on the dough and press straight down.

Metal cookie cutters are sharper than plastic and much easier for beginners to use.

For large or intricate cookies, consider laying your rolled dough directly on the cookie sheet and cut while already on the sheet. Just remove the scraps and you’re ready to bake.

Save the scraps and roll back into a ball. Scrap balls will be tougher because of the extra flour from rolling.

If you are using a tried and true cookie recipe, make all the dough you plan to bake at one time. Separate the dough into smaller balls, no larger than a softball. Flatten slightly and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Freeze for up to a month. Then you can bake a few batches of cookies as your schedule allows.

Slightly advanced tip. Cut a smaller cookie and layer on top of a larger cookie. Make them hold together by wetting slightly with your finger. This is the time to use your mini cookie cutters.

Watch Betty Roll and Cut Simple Sugar Cookies

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