If there's one time of the year you feel obligated to make decorated shaped sugar cookies, it's for the holiday. Sugar cookie decorating parties have always been on my end of the year agenda, and obviously the best way to do it is with homemade sugar dough.
The most difficult and frustrating part of making homemade sugar cookies, however, is working with the dough. It can be complicated, even as an intermediate baker, to strike that balance between keeping the dough cold but warm enough to work with it.
What’s a baker to do? Here’s my trick.
A Better Way to Roll Out Cookie Dough
Most people who make sugar cookie dough from scratch were taught to roll the dough out after it’s been chilled. The goal is to keep the butter in the dough cold which makes it easier to roll out.
The only flaw in this technique is that the dough can be difficult to roll out once it’s been chilled and hardened. The natural response to working with this hard cold dough is to leave it out on your counter to soften before rolling it out, but sometimes you leave it out too long and your dough goes from hard and stiff to soft and sticky!
There’s a better way: Roll the sugar dough out before you chill the dough, but do it between two pieces of parchment paper! The parchment paper acts like a sandwich, with the sugar cookie dough as the filling.
Here’s how to do it:
- Sandwich the unchilled dough between two pieces of parchment paper: Once you’ve made the cookie dough, instead of popping it in the fridge right away to chill, pile it on a piece of nonstick parchment paper or wax paper. Place another sheet of paper on top.
- Roll out the dough: Put then use your rolling pin to roll it out to the desired thickness. (When the dough is sandwiched between the parchment, it has no chance of it sticking or melting onto your kitchen counter or rolling pin!)
- Transfer to a baking sheet and chill in the fridge: After you’ve rolled it out, transfer the dough onto a baking sheet and stick it in the fridge. If the dough slab is too large for your fridge, cut it into smaller pieces and then stack them up on top of each other with parchment in between.
- After 30 minutes, take the dough out of the fridge and cut your shapes! Let the dough harden for around 30 minutes, then take the dough out. There's no need to let it come to room temperature before working with it. You can go from the fridge to your counter and immediately start cutting out shapes.
This technique not only saves time and struggle; it also allows you to keep intricate cookie shapes clean when cutting.
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