Monday, February 28, 2011

Cookie Break-Through

Setting the stage: Snow day last Thursday without enough snow for sledding. So after our snowball fight we came inside for some indoor fun. I have to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE snowdays where you can ignore the calendar and all of our regular "duties" and expectations. So baking was one of the requested activities. SUPER, I never turn down baking cookies. BUT then Nora stated she wanted to make cookies she could frost. UH OH, the dreaded sugar cookie. One of the few times I consider going with the refigerated dough by the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I don't know what it is but I have such a hard time with these. The mess of the flour all over the counter, the frustration of the dough crumbling as I roll it out, the disaster of having the girls try to cut out the shapes and then transfer them to the cookie sheet.

BUT I had a major break-through. Now maybe I am the only one with these problems, but in case I am not I would like to share with you my AH-HA moments.
1. The Recipe - Once again, Our Best Bites came through with an AMAZING recipe. You can find it here and it was perfect. The consistency of the dough was great and they were so YUMMY. In fact I ate them without any frosting and didn't feel like I was missing anything. Another revelation I had with the recipe is they recommended to spoon the flour into the measuring cup instead of scooping. WHAT???? I have been measuring flour incorrectly for 20+ years?? Am I the only one who missed this information? Not sure if it made a difference but I am now spooning my flour with all my baking.

2. The Rolling - In the past I chilled the dough and then would sprinkle my counter with flour and attempt to roll the dough out while trying to not think about how dirty my counter may be. Here is where my cookie rolling world changes for the better: enter parchment paper!! BEFORE chilling the dough I put it into a ball and sandwiched the dough between 2 sheets of that fabulous paper. Then I rolled the dough out between the paper. FAB U LOUS! The dough didn't crumble at the edges and seemed to be much more consistent in the the thickness. I then placed the sheets into the fridge for a quick chilling. Another bonus to this method is the chilling time is cut down to only 15-20 minutes, which is great for the impatient young chefs.

3. The Cutting - I then took the sheets out of the fridge and peeled off the paper and laid the flattened dough directly onto the Silpat mats on the cookie sheets. And if you don't have Silpat mats, that is a cookie revelation in itself. GET THEM NOW!!! The girls were able to cut out their wanted shapes and just tear away the excess dough around the shape and leave the ready-to-bake cookie right where it is at. No dough sticking to the counter and shapes losing parts. HOORAY.

Then it just went straight to the oven and out for the fun part. DECORATING. Though I really think the girls enjoyed the cutting out part just as much. For decorating we used this tool that Madison go for Christmas. I think I mentioned it before but it really is fantastic for the girls to do some special details without any help. I highly recommend it. Although, it looks like it may be discontinued or out of stock so you may want to ignore my recommendation:-)

So with this amazing epiphany I may be making sugar cookies from scratch more than once a year. And yes I am truely this excited about such a silly thing. So humor me and pretend that you are impressed:-)


katy said...

I despise making sugar cookies as well. such a mess. I also stress out about how thick to roll them and if my rolling is consistent. I've used the wax paper trick and love it. Eva has her heart set on making goblin (think rainbow magic) sugar cookies this Friday when a friend comes to play. It is the last thing I want to to do, trust me. We'll see if good mommy or bad mommy wins this one. Oh, the other trick I use for sugar cookies is to make the dough ahead of time. The girls still get to cut and decorate, but I get to do the dough and get the kitchen all tidy again before the decorating madness.

Karin Deti said...

super cute entry Lisa! Now I'll be expecting sugar cookies at the cookie exchange in just 9 short months! :)

Anonymous said...

Madolin insisted that we spoon the flour into the measuring cup. About the time we got married, we didn't have to sift the flour anymore, so I got lazy. A few disasters was all it took to go back to spooning the flour in. It makes difference because the recipes really are fine tuned. I have always used my pastry cloth to roll out dough like that (that's before silpat was invented.ha!). I do use parchment paper on the cookie sheets when I bake. Ron won't use it for his world famous chocolate chips. He thinks I'm a sissy.