All About Cookies, Bars, and Brownies

Secrets For Cookies

Secrets for Cut-Out Cookies

Dust rolling pin and smooth surface with flour. This will prevent dough from sticking. If you use a rolling pin cover on the rolling pin and a pastry cloth, rub a small amount of flour into them. Too much flour will make cookies tough and dry.

Roll only part of the chilled dough at a time. Keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator.

Roll the dough to the appropriate thickness. Thinner dough makes a crisper cookie; thicker dough makes a softer, chewier cookie.

Check the thickness with a ruler. Cookies will bake evenly when the dough is rolled to a uniform thickness.

Use a pancake turner to transfer cookies. This will prevent unbaked cookies from stretching and tearing and baked cookies from breaking.

Secrets for Drop Cookies

Use the same amount of dough for each cookie. You can use either a teaspoon or tablespoon, depending on what size cookie you want.

Drop the dough onto the cookie sheet by pushing it from a teaspoon with a rubber scraper or another teaspoon.

Space the cookies carefully. This prevents the cookies from baking together. If you’re trying a new recipe, you may want to “test bake” two or three cookies to see how much they spread.

Secrets for Molded, Shaped and Pressed Cookies

Refrigerate dough before shaping, if necessary, for easier handling.

Dust hands lightly with flour. This prevents the dough from sticking to your hands. Roll each cookie smoothly between your palms. Take time when molding fancy shapes so that all the cookies look the same.

Flatten cookies with your thumb, a fork or the bottom of a glass. Dip them in either flour or sugar to prevent sticking.

When making pressed cookies:

  • Use room-temperature margarine or butter.
  • Test for consistency by pressing a small amount of dough through the press. If the dough is too soft, refrigerate it briefly or add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour. If the dough is too stiff, add 1 egg yolk.
  • Use a cool, ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Hold the cookie press so that it rests on the cookie sheet. Force the dough onto the sheet until the dough appears at the edge of the mold. Lift the press when you’ve completely formed the shape.
  • If you don’t own a cookie press, the dough can be pressed through a decorating bag fitted with a 1/4- to 1/2-inch diameter star tip.

Secrets for Sliced Cookies

Mold the dough into rolls as specified in the recipe.

Wrap the rolls of cookie dough in waxed paper, foil or plastic wrap. Twist the ends to seal them tightly. Refrigerate the dough until it is firm.

Use a thin sharp knife for slicing cookies. Remove the storage wrap before slicing.

Refrigerate the rolls up to 1 week. You can also wrap them in foil and freeze for up to 3 months.