Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cookie Dough Tips and Tricks

After making hundreds of thousands of cookies in the last week, I thought I'd share a few things that I figured out with you.

In particular these tips are for rolled cookie doughs that are pre-chilled before shaping.

One of the cookies I made this week was a chocolate mint "snow cap" which is a chocolate cookie dough that is rolled into balls and then rolled in sugar before baking. The first large batch that I made took a lot of time because even though the dough was cold it would quickly become sticky in my hands as I rolled the balls. I had to wash my hands after every five balls or so and it was terribly time-consuming and messy. I get annoyed with time-consuming and ornery with messy.


With the batch I made today I did things differently. When I mixed up the cookie dough, instead of dividing the whole batch into two or four pieces and chilling in plastic wrap, I spooned out the freshly made and still very soft dough into the measured amounts (one spoonful) onto a cookie sheet and then I chilled it. The pan at the top of the picture shows these blobs of soft cookie dough. After chilling, the dough became firmer and easier to handle. I was able to take each piece and quickly roll a ball that did not end up melting in my hand. I then rolled them in sugar for baking. This worked very well and went very quickly. This method will work for other cookies that need to be rolled, like snickerdoodles.



Another chilled dough was for the gingerbread snowflakes. I originally followed the recipe directions by wrapping the dough in plastic wrap and chilling for several hours. The problem I had with that method  was that after chilling, the dough was so firm that it was difficult to roll with the rolling pin. After it softened up enough to roll, then the dough was too soft for cutting and transferring the shapes to a sheet pan. This made it very difficult to keep the shapes from tearing or distorting.
I solved this problem by treating the cookie dough the same way I treat dough for pie crust. I rolled it between two sheets of parchment paper.

For today's batch of gingerbread I rolled out these sheets of dough when the dough was freshly made and still soft. Then I refrigerated the rolled out sheets.

After about twenty minutes of chilling, the dough was firm. The paper easily came away from the dough and I could cut my shapes.





I still had to work quickly to cut and transfer the cookie shapes to the sheet pan. My kitchen was so warm from the oven working hard all day that it didn't take long for the dough to start softening up. This method was so much easier and problem free compared to the method suggested in the recipe. This can be used for other rolled projects like sugar cookies or gingerbread houses.





It was another busy day in the Fleur Cakes kitchen making cookie gift boxes. Here are a couple shots of what my counter looked like as I multi-tasked.

Sugar in the pan boiling towards becoming caramel, toasted chopped pecans ready to be added, cookies waiting to be baked and more cooling...

My cookie baking is now finished! Whew!Next I'll be working on the last of the shopping with my daughter in the big city.

Are you finished with your Christmas preparations?

6 comments:

  1. Brilliant! I'm going to have to try that cookie
    cutter method! My shapes always come out distorted from transferring them around...

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  2. That's a great idea to chill the blobs before rolling them.

    I have barely started dealing with Christmas...ugh.

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  3. April, Christmas will happen with or without you! ;-)

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  4. We call ours chocolate crinkles and I'm using that method today. I have to replenish the pound cake cookies, sugar cookies and peanut butter kisses. I may be baking for one more day. Other than that, I'm ready!

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  5. Mmmm... cookies! You're making me want to add some new ones to my Christmas cookie repertoire.

    I'm sewing a cape for Jonah today while he's gone with Daddy. Gotta bake more sourdough bread this week, plus a little more wrapping. Jonah's getting all excited-- he knows exactly how many days are left on his Advent calendar. Gonna be fun!

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