Tips For Making Rolled Cookies
Tips FOR MAKING ROLLED COOKIES
The more holiday cookie cutters you have, the merrier your cookies will be! Using the rim of a glass to stamp out circles should be your last resort because it lacks holiday pizzazz. Look for festive cutters in kitchen stores and arts and crafts stores, at flea markets, and online.
Chill the dough for the time specified in the recipes so it can rest and firm up before rolling. If chilled for a longer period however, these doughs will become very hard. Just let them sit at room temperature for as long as 30 to 60 minutes to soften.
Work with the amount of dough specified in the recipe and keep the remainder in the fridge. Rolling out too much dough at one time will cause it to soften, and you will end up with scraps that will need to be re-worked.
Always work on a clean surface that is large enough to hold the rolled out dough. Lightly flouring the space helps prevent the dough from sticking, but be wary of using too much flour as the dough will toughen and the flavor and texture of the baked cookies will suffer.
The dough must be the right temperature and consistency to roll out. If it is too cold, it will be arm breaking to roll ; too warm or too soft and it will stick to the work surface or to the rolling pin ( or both ) and you’ll end up using too much flour to make it manageable. Rolling dough on or between sheets of wax paper allows you to slide it onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes as needed.
Roll the dough to the thickness recommended in the recipe for the cookies to bake evenly in the time suggested. Thinner cookies will brown faster and thicker cookies may end up underbaked.
Stamp out shapes close together to reduce scraps. You can roll the scraps a few times, but some doughs may start to toughen from being overworked and over floured. The doughs for Dutch Spiced Cookies and Gingerbread People are very forgiving and those scraps can be re-rolled a number of times. When scraps become to soft to work with, press them together, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate the dough until its firm enough to roll again. Use a thin metal spatula to transfer cutout shapes to the cookie sheet.
TO MAKE COOKIE ORNAMENTS
While the unbaked cookies are lying flat a parchment lined cookie sheet, use the tip of a metal skewer to pierce holes at the top of the shapes. Enlarge the holes by making tiny circles with the skewer tip until the opening is at least 1/4 inch in diameter. The hole will shrink during baking so it must start out larger than needed. After the cookies have baked and cooled, reinforce the hole, if needed by gently twirling the skewer in the hole. After the cookies have been decorated and the icing has completely dried, slip a thin ribbon or a colored string through each hole to hang the cookies from a tree or a fireplace mantle.