From time to time I receive a question that requires more info than a typical cake decorating question…so below is a question from the comments section here on my blog that was asked regarding making cut out cookies along with the answer. I hope this makes everything much clearer for you Gerri as well as anyone else who has trouble making perfect cut out cookies.
Question—-Hi Donna, I love these onesie cookie baby shower favors and elected myself to make 40 for a baby shower next weekend. I have tried to make them already and it way harder than I thought (way harder!) I used already made sugar cookie dough and did not roll it out so 4 out of 10 cookies looked like a onesie where the remaining cookies shape were hard to figure out. Then decorating was tough – I used frosting in a bag with the wilton tip. My question is it will take me a long time to cook and decorate, how far ahead can I make the cookies so they won’t be stale? Thanks and any other advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Gerri Dando
Answer—-It can be very tough at times to get started trying to create something that you may have found on a website or in a book, but with the correct information and tools you should be right on your way to creating the best looking cut out cookies, regardless of the shape. I usually try to make my cookie up about 3 to 4 days ahead of time so that I will have plenty of time to decorate them and making sure that they hold their freshness. I store them in a container with a sealed lid until I need them for a special occasion or an order.
Getting started with cut out cookies……
1). It doesn’t matter if you use a pre-made cookie dough or one that you made from a recipe. It is entirely up to you.
2). If you’re using a cookie recipe allow your dough to sit in the fridge for about an hour, because when you go to work with the dough the heat from your hands with make the dough too soft. You need dough that is cold for the best results!
3). Split your dough in half, leaving one half in the fridge while you prepare to make your cookies.
4). You will want to prepare your work surface…..you can use your counter top area, (just make sure that you wipe it down very well before beginning) or you can use a silicone mat that is specially made for baking. Both ways work just fine. I will say that if you have a tough time picking up the cookie shape and transferring it to the cookie sheet then using the silicone mat may be the best way for you to cut out your cookie dough.
5). Lightly dust your work surface with flour or powdered sugar (confectioners sugar) which I use.
6). Dip the edges of your cookie cutters into some flour (I actually use powdered sugar instead, it is up to you as to what you use). This will help to prevent your cutters from sticking to the dough.
7). Lightly flour your rolling pin also and begin rolling out your cookie dough.
8). Its best to always begin in the middle of your dough and roll outward towards the edge areas.
9). If you begin to notice that your cookie dough is a little sticky, try lightly flouring your work surface and/or rolling pin a little more, depending on where it is sticking. (FYI–Do not over flour your dough, use as little as possible because the additional flour will affect the final taste of your cookies).
NOTE: How do I get my dough level….I use a product called Perfection Strips, really all they are is 2 strips of a flexible plastic material that I laid on each side of the dough and you roll your rolling pin over the dough to get the perfect thickness and level piece of cookie dough to create the perfect sized cookies. These plastic strips come in pairs with the following thickness: 2mm (1/16″); 4mm (1/8″) and 6mm (1/4″)…..Now if you don’t want to purchase this sort of product which is available as a set of 3 different thicknesses. You could try using a piece of flat trim cut into 2 pieces. I have inserted a picture so that you can see exactly how to use the perfection strips below.
10). Cut the shapes into your dough by applying even pressure with your entire hand on top of your cookie cutter, making sure to press all the way through the dough with a nice even cut around the entire edge for a perfect cut. Before lifting the cookie cutter away from the dough, give it a little twisting motion which helps to give you a very nice clean edge to your cookie shape, honestly this makes all the difference for achieving perfect cut out cookies……
11). Use a thin metal spatula to carefully lift your cookie cutout off your work surface. I dip my spatula into a pile of powdered sugar ( or flour if that is what your using) so that the cookie dough will not stick to it…….. Try to slide the spatula as far under the cookie as possible to help maintain its shape when transferring to the cookie sheet. Place the cutout cookies on a cookie sheet.
IDEA…..I leave the cookie cutter around the shape I have just cut out so that I don’t loose the shape of the cookie as I transfer it to the cookie sheet!
Once your cutouts are on the cookie sheet, place your cookie sheet into the freezer for approx. 10 minutes so that the cookies can firm up…….then into the oven to bake.
NOTE: If you would like to use a silicone baking mat you can roll out your dough right on the mat itself, then after cutting the cookies out just leave them in place and remove the remaining cookie dough. Once you have cut out all the cookie cutouts just transfer the baking mat to the cookie sheet. Anoher way of doing this is to roll out your dough on the mat, when finished transfer the mat to your cookie sheet, and finally cut out your cookies shapes with your cutters and remove any excess dough from the mat, then place the cookie sheet into the freezer for approx. 10 minutes allowing the dough to firm up. Then you can bake as usual, following the baking directions.