Cookies look best when they are cut perfectly. But not all cookie dough is easy to manage. Some spread out with thin edges, which can be a nightmare when decorating, especially with royal icing. Some puff up and have air pockets and can't be used for decorating.
These 10 tips will help you roll perfect sugar cookies every single time.
Those of you that bake cookies often know how frustrating it can be when your cookie dough is soft and you need to move it around. The fear of losing that shape when moving the cookies from the working board to the cookie. Now multiply that if you live in a hot and humid place like me. I know!!
I've baked and decorated my fair share of cookies. And I can tell you that these 10 tips to roll perfect sugar cookies every single time come from experience and a lot of trial and error.
You can use the tips below with a sugar cookie recipe including my sugar cookie recipes - (don't worry I have linked them for you at the bottom of this post again)
- Best Vanilla Sugar Cookies
- Chocolate Sugar Cookies
- No Spread Gingerbread Sugar Cookies
- No Spread Sugar Cookies
- No-Chill Sugar Cookies
- Eggless Sugar Cookies
- Eggless Chocolate Sugar Cookies
- Gluten-Free sugar cookies (Rice flour sugar cookies)
How to roll and cut cookies perfectly
1. Prepare your cookie dough as per recipe.
2. Wrap sugar dough in plastic/cling wrap and form a disc. Let set in the fridge for a while until almost firm but not hard.
3. Use a rolling pin with spacers to ensure even thickness.
Tip - If you do not have a rolling pin with spacers - it's OK too! Just roll the cookie dough with your regular rolling pin. But cut the cookies an inch away from the outer edges. Why? The normal tendency when trying to roll the dough is the outer edges are thinner than the center.
4. Most cookies use a ¼ inch or 60 mm thick spacers as a guide. Cut cookies and place them on a parchment-lined baking tray.
Tip - If the cookie dough is soft - do not cut the cookies yet. Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking tray and chill the cookie sheet for 10 minutes.
5. And, if you live in hot and humid weather - always roll cookie dough between two sheets of parchment papers and chill it.
6. Cookies with kids or freezing cookie dough.
- Chilling cookie dough between two parchment papers makes a great way to manage cookie projects with kids. Kids love to handle cookies and the chilled dough helps keep the shapes.
- Freezing cookie dough between two parchment papers is also a great way to prepare huge batches of cookies. If you need large batches of cookies for a project, instead of doing them all on one day - just divide the workload so you can bake them closer to the date you need them.
Tip - Peel off both the papers and release the sheet of dough from the parchment paper first. Its easier to release the sheet from the whole disc as compared to individual cookies.
7. If necessary, chill the cookie sheets for a few minutes to firm. Once the sheets are firm, cut out the shapes.
8. Press the cookie cutter into the dough, lift out and clean the edges. A gentle push will release the shape out.
9. Shapes are easier to handle when they are firm. They can be moved around from workspace to baking sheets without losing shape.
10. Cookies bake best when cold, the chilled butter prevents them from spreading too much. So, chill cookies while you preheat the oven.
If you have to make cookie pops, insert the stick into the chilled cookie just before baking - this will ensure you do not distort the cookie shape.
Tip - I dip my cookie stick in egg white. Place my hand on the cookie as shown and slide the stick right under the cookie. Because the dough is cold it won't lose shape. The egg white helps the cookie stick slide easily but most importantly sticks to the cookie-like glue.
This was this week's - Tip Thursday
Works for every cookie dough
Now, these tips work for all cookie dough. Even the ones that do not need rolling. Chill your dough before forming the shapes as well as before you bake them. I promise you will be a happy cookie baker.
Best timeline for decorating cookies
One of the things we like to do is start a project and expect to get done with it in one go. Start to finish. Often, that attitude makes us compromise on time that a project needs. In this case, it's the chilling time. However, if you plan your project a little in advance you will find that you not only complete your project on time but do a great job with it, and most importantly, have fun doing it.
So don't start the project last minute.
- Prepare your cookie dough - divide into two or three, wrap in cling wrap and leave in the fridge. Go on with your day. Find something else to do. Get a cup of coffee.
- Roll cookie dough onto sheets of parchment paper - if you enjoy good weather - cut them out and place them on a cookie sheet or chill the sheets first then cut them later.
You can doublestack cookies between parchment papers to save space and trays in the fridge. Let cookies chill before you bake.
Most rolled cookies can stay in the fridge for up to two days if wrapped well. So no haste, bake them when you have time.
- Always bake cookies when you can give it the attention it needs and with a kitchen timer on hand.
A rule of thumb for me - never trust yourself when it comes to baking cookies. They bake so fast that often that one extra minute can ruin all your hard work.
So, preheat the oven - when you place the first tray input the timer for 10 minutes - often cookies bake at 10 or 11 minutes if cut at the thickness of ¼ inch.
- Remove, cool on the rack and then store well in a cookie jar. Never leave cookies out too long after they are cooled - store them in a cookie jar so they stay crisp and don't dry out.