Monday, April 25, 2011

Housewarming Cookies & Baking Tips

About a month ago my little sister moved to Arizona (from Minnesota). She’s getting settled into her new apartment and I decided to send some homemade cookies as a little housewarming gift.

As you can probably tell from the frosting, I made these while decorating some flower cookies. They aren’t your typical house colors, that’s for sure!

These are pretty big cookies, over 4-inches wide. All but one made it there in one piece! I was happy with that. :-)

With all of the cookies I’ve been making lately, I’ve gotten pretty efficient at turning them out quickly and with little mess. Here are some of my top tips that make things easier and less messy for me:

1) Roll out dough on parchment paper
 When I was little and we made rolled cookies we would practically cover the whole table in wax paper and my little sister and I would roll out cookies on that and then transfer them to a pan for baking. This generally created a huge mess-zone and got flower everywhere. The cookies would stick to the wax paper and our cookies would be deformed by the time they made it to the cookie sheets (but hey, they still tasted good!!).
Now, I take a piece of parchment paper and lay it on my marble board and roll out dough on that. I generally use 2-3 pieces of parchment paper per baking session - you can reuse them. I find this cuts down on the mess dramatically. Less moving things around. Smaller work area. Win. Win.

2) The general idea of rolling things out on parchment paper is that you don't have to move them so it doesn't deform the cookies. However, if you have to cut the shapes too close together for some reason, this is a great tool/method for moving them while maintaining their shape.
You can pick one of these up at Target and many other places. Handy kitchen tool.

3) Once you have your cookies cut and arranged on your parchment, take a cookie sheet, edge it up next to your work surface, and just slide the parchment with the cookies right onto it.
At this point, you can pop it in the fridge to cool the dough back down to help prevent too much spreading while baking or put it in the oven if you aren't worried about that.

Pretty soon you'll have a stack like this, ready for your decorating and creativity!

Happy Baking!

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