Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chilling Sugar Cookie Dough

To chill or not to chill sugar cookie dough. That is the question.

Some people do. Some don't. I tried chilling a few times but it didn't seem to help with cutting the shapes, transferring the shapes to a cookie sheet, or having the shapes bake with less spreading.

I was experimenting with chilling the other day and realized that it was WHEN I was chilling that didn't help. But there is a time to chill the dough that DOES help. Woo hoo!

When I chilled the dough before, I just divided it in two, wrapped those lumps in plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator for an hour or so.

The only noticeable difference was that the dough was hard to roll out. By the time I was done with rolling and cutting, it was limp. Sometimes I'd skew my shapes a bit as I lifted them up and transferred them to the baking sheet, just as I sometimes do without chilling. My first thought, was forget it. Why bother chilling?

Then it came to me. Make the dough. Roll it out immediately. Chill. Then cut. Shazam! I could hold one of those shapes dangling in the air between two fingers and it wouldn't lose its shape. Well, almost. Close enough for me!

So exciting, huh?

But it gets better. I also wanted to do my rolling without flour. Before, I was rolling on floured waxed paper or a floured fondant sheet. Too messy. Too much risk of tough cookies. Too much of a pain to knead the scraps back together when they've been floured.

Sooooo . . .My new fabulous method of rolling, chilling, cutting . . .

Place the dough on top of a piece of plastic wrap. Lay another piece of plastic wrap on top. Pat the dough down a bit to get started.

Roll. Lift up the top piece of plastic wrap every now and again and lay it back down. It gets a tight hold on the dough and needs to let go a bit.

No sticking!

Slide the dough onto the back of a cookie sheet. I've been doing this so I don't distort the dough by lifting it. I don't really think it's necessary though. You could lift the dough (along with both pieces of plastic wrap) and put it on the right side of a cookie sheet. That way you could stack them easier in the refrigerator if you're working with a lot of dough.

Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or freeze for 15.

Cut your shapes and be amazed at how they peel off the plastic wrap. Ah. The little things in life.

Bake those puppies.

Gather the scraps on the plastic wrap. Cover with the other sheet. Smoosh them together. Flatten with your fingers. Roll. Back in the fridge.

Now you can get the other one out of the refrigerator and get to cutting it.

I'm thrilled to bits with every step of this new method. The cut shapes are perfect and no flour! Perfection for me!

Edit: They may have cut perfectly but I was having spreading issues. Read about my "scientific" experiment here on how to prevent spreading. Chilling the dough is just part of it.

And an update here.

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