Baking great cookies often takes practice and I’m not only sharing with you my tips and tricks that baking thousands and thousands of cut out cookies taught me, I am also sharing the items I use to create such great cookies that all look consistent.
If you would have told me about 10 years ago that I would bake thousands of cut out cookies I would have told you, you’re nuts!
Simply because I didn’t always love baking them, they seemed fussy and with little kids, I was always fussing with so many other things that I gave away all my cookie cutters. A huge tub, some I had for years, some were from my grandmother, I had alphabet letters, numbers, and at least 100 others.
It took me time to collect new cookie cutters, they are readily available. Keep your eyes open.
I typically sort my cutters by type or holiday and put them into gallon plastic bags and put the bags into a tub. That way they are all in one place and it’s easy to find what I’m looking for and they don’t get bent or stuck somewhere.
After many batches of cookies, I learned what worked and what didn’t. There are many items I use and really wouldn’t know how to bake great cookies without them. I like when all my cookies look the same. I look for my cookies to be all the same thickness, light in color (no brown edges) and that the shape of the cookies are “clean” meaning they are not distorted, puffy, shapeless edges.
I created a list of my must-have items, and even when I go to my mom’s to bake, I make sure I bring them with me. It certainly makes baking lots of cookies easier. No matter if they are drop cookies or cut out cookies.
If you’d like more tips on drop cookies click here!
These are my MUST-Have Baking items!!!
Here is my recipe for Sugar Cookies This recipe will create delicious cookies that hold their shape when cut with a cookie cutter, you can alternatively roll the cookie dough into balls and bake them too.
This is my Italian Cut Out Cookie Recipe: this recipe is different because it’s more cake-like. The cookies are firm, yet tender. There are a lot of eggs in this recipe and that is what gives them a cake-like quality. These cookies also hold their shape when cut and baked. These cookies freeze well.
Be sure to follow recipe instructions. Each cookie recipe will have different ingredients and steps. It’s best if you start baking by having ALL the ingredients you need in front of you. You can measure them into separate bowls if that helps you to be more organized. Be sure you are using fresh ingredients, If you have baking powder from a year ago…. buy new baking powder it’s the one thing that can mess up any good cookie recipe.
Freezing Cookies: Both cookie recipes freeze well. Be sure to double wrap the cookies. An example double wrapping would be to put the cookies in a zipper freezer bag and then into a plastic container, or wrapped in plastic wrap and then put into a zipper freezer bag. Be sure all the air is removed. Use a straw and suck out the air, so the cookies will be really fresh tasting when they are thawed out. You can freeze un-iced cookies really well. I do freeze iced cookies, I find it works best with white icing and I wait two days to freeze them so all the moisture in the cookie and icing will have had a chance to “dry” so the cookies won’t get freezer burn, I’ve frozen iced cookies wrapped individually for 3 months and they tasted just like freshly iced cookies.
Baking Sheets: I use thick 16×20″ baking sheets that have a rolled edge. They are 1/2 sheets. They are used by bakeries. They produce even heat and even baking. Thin sheets tend to flex with the heat and bake the cookies quickly on the bottom. Which results in dryer cookies and dark bottoms, depending on the cookie recipe, the butter can also spread the cookie really quickly and the result will be flatter cookies with a crisp edge but really no rise in the center and the cookies can even fall apart easily.
Parchment Paper Sheets: Parchment sheets prevent cookies from sticking to the baking sheet. Butter or shortening used to be a typical way for people to “grease” a cookies sheet, but that results in darker bottom cookies and darker equals over baked and dryer cookies and sometimes they have a greasy bottom because of it.
Parchment can be used multiple times, how many times depends on the brand you purchase. The thicker the parchment, the more uses you’ll get out of it.
Dowels: the thin wood dowels are used to roll the cookie dough out evenly. Evenly cut cookies result in even baked cookies. I prefer a 1/4 inch. Dowels come in round and square.
Wax Paper: Roll the cookie dough between wax paper. This avoids using excess flour and drying out the cookie dough. Dry cookie dough results in tougher, drier, more crumbly cookies.
Mixing Bowls: I prefer metal bowls on my mixer and off. They are light weight, and they don’t chip or break like glass. They clean easy in hot soapy water and when filled the hot water helps remove sticky items quickly.
Having extra Kitchen Aid Mixer bowls has made baking days WAY easier than it was with one bowl.
Cooling Rack: This item is so great, I can’t rave about it enough. I have two of them. This allows you to free up counter space, cool cookies without having to move the trays multiple times when you are baking. They are great for any baking project and crafts too.
Rolling Pin: a long even rolling pin will glide over the dowels smoothly and evenly to create great cookies.
Small Offset Spatula: Using a spatula that is thin and close to the size of the cookie is best for transferring cookies from work area to baking sheet without messing up their shape.
Mini “Brownie” Spatula for 2 1/5 inch cookies
My cookie recipes listed above bake up cookies that are the same size and shape of the cookie cutters, no distortion. You can see by the photo above that the wavy edge on the cookie is still there when the cookies are baked and that the cookie is the same size as the cutter even after baked.
Be sure to evenly roll out the cookie dough, as I’ve shown you above. You will end up with great cookies.
cookie cutters: You will find cookie cutters in lots of places, Amazon, Walmart, baking supply stores and antique shops always have fun shapes you don’t see everywhere.
Icing: I have two ways to ice cookies, one is How to Ice Cookies WITH a Piping Bag the second way is How to Ice Cookies without a Piping Bag. The posts include recipes for icing as well as how to apply icing to cookies.
If you have a specific question on baking cookies feel free to leave it in the comments. I do read all comments personally.