Who doesn’t like cutout cookies at Christmas in all of their favorite shapes and sizes – vanilla, almond, lemon, gingerbread, anise – whatever your dough flavor of choice, cutouts add the beauty to your holiday sugar cookie plates. Here are a few simple tips to make your cookie baking and decorating easy and fun…
Rule #1 – Don’t forget the flour – but not too much!
Some prefer baking clothes, some silicone mats, but wherever you roll the dough, make sure you flour the surface, your rolling pin and the cookie cutters so they don’t stick. Just be sure you only use enough to prevent sticking or your cookies will taste like flour instead of your flavor of choice
Rule #2 – Work quickly with chilled dough
Warm dough is not your friend. Keeping the dough nice and cool makes it easier to roll and the cookies keep their shape. So don’t try to roll out the whole batch at once. In fact, I actually divide the dough right when I mix it and it’s still soft and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Pat flat so you don’t have to roll from ball shape and take one package out of the fridge at a time.
Rule #3 – Even Baking
Keep the same shape or similar size cookies together so they bake evenly. There are so many shapes and sizes at Christmas you don’t want those little stars to burn if you have to allow more time for those chubby snowmen.
Rule #4 – Frosting consistency
My favorite recipe is quite simple – milk, powdered sugar, about a tsp of melted butter, a dash of salt and the flavoring of my choice. Too runny – add more sugar, too thick – add more milk. If it’s too thick it won’t lay smooth and the sprinkles won’t stick. If it’s too runny it will drip off the cookies
Rule #5 – Tight on time – Keep it simple but elegant
I make a couple different kinds of cutouts and 3 days of baking is about as much as my schedule will allow, so I can’t make them all look flawless. So for the anise cookies, we just sprinkle immediately after frosting, for the almond – we get fancier.
Rule #6 – Explore your inner artist
If you do have more time to decorate, explore that inner artist. Invest in a coupe piping bags and decorating tips and a few touches can make frosted sugar cookies works of art.
Rule #7 – Have fun
Sometimes a batch gets burnt or you add too much flour too fast into the mixer and your kitchen ends up looking like a snowstorm, but that’s what makes it fun. Don’t fret – enjoy it. Make it a family tradition and involve the kids and grandma. Cookies don’t all need to look perfect. Enjoy the time with friends and family and make something yummy while you’re at it. You won’t remember the burnt batch – you’ll remember the fun!
Rule #8 – Eat!
You’re making cookies – eat them!