Monday, February 23, 2009

Helping cookies keep their shape . . . Works For Me Wednesdays

Welcome to a new (to Bake at 350) blog feature...Works For Me Wednesday. Here's a synopsis of what it's all about..."Basically, the idea is that on Wednesday you post a little tip you've learned on any (G-rated) topic--anything that has "worked for you" in making your life easier. "Before my tip, let me tell you how I found out about WFMW...

Around Christmastime, we moved to a new house. I met our neighbors, but hadn't really had a chance to get to know them. The day before Valentine's Day, their son was over at our house playing and I was finishing up making the Homemade Hostess Cupcakes.

I had them all laid out on the table, taking pictures from every angle, when out their son walks into the kitchen. All I could think was, "oh great...he's going to go home and tell his parents that the crazy lady next door takes pictures of FOOD!" But, do you know what he said? "Do you have a blog?" :)

It turns out, his mom, my neighbor, has an amazing blog, a real blog!!! It's called We are THAT Family. Have you seen it? Go now, seriously! (It's really good, so please come back eventually!)

I am so excited to have a friend next door (that's only happened to me once, and it was like heaven on earth), and a bloggy friend at that! You can check out her more colorful account of meeting a "blogger next door" here.

We Are THAT Family is now the host of Works for Me Wednesdays...I can't wait to read through all of the great ideas posted there!

Without further ado...

To help cookies keep their shape, freeze them! I freeze each batch of cut-out cookies for 5 to 10 minutes before baking. They rise just slightly higher and keep their shape better. This really helps when using an intricate cookie cutter, but I do this even when baking circles.

If I'm baking a large batch of cookies, I normally have one sheet in the oven, one in the freezer, one on the counter for loading and one cooling and I just rotate through them.


Hope that helps! :) Is there anything you are wondering about cookie making? Post a comment and I'll try to add it to future WFMW.

52 comments:

  1. Do you make your own icing or are you using the icing that comes in the can. If you are making it, then are you using the same recipe you use for decorating cakes?

    Thanks,
    Love the Blog!!!!!

    Jenny

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  2. Great idea! Now, if I could just figure out how to actually cut the cookies into shapes to begin with...I was not blessed with the baking gene.

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  3. I love that tip! Have you ever posted your cookie recipe?

    I love your blog! You are so talented!

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  5. Could you post your recipe for Royal Icing, both for outlining and flooding? Thanks so much, I love seeing all your creations!

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  6. Glad I stumbled across your blog! There are definitely some things I want, need, just have to try (now that my mouth is watering from your pictures!)

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  7. I read the new neighbor post over at Kristen's - and I was totally in love with your cookies! They looked fabulous! and now, you have your hint as a WFMW post - how convenient.

    I look forward to many more visits with you, here in blogland.

    Hope you have a great day!
    Kristin (The Goat)

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  8. Great tip! I've been refrigerating the cutouts before baking, which does seem to help too.

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  9. Thanks for that tip! I'll have to try it soon!!

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  10. Love this tip! Thanks! AND I LOVE your blog!!! I too love to bake, but I'm definitely not as professional at it as you seem to be. I look forward to reading more!

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  11. I agree with Lindsey, I can't seem to get them cut out very well. I tried at Christmas using a "add water" mix and I wondered of maybe that was the problem?

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  12. It is so wonderful to have friends as neighbors! My BFF lives a couple doors down and I love it! I have made new bloggy friends too!

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  13. It's been fun to see the story of how you and Kristen met...we all can relate to her sons comments. :)

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  14. luv luv luv your blog! I came here from "We are THAT family". I love to bake and cookies are my most favorite thing to bake (and eat!)I will be back often ... is every day too much? Lol

    BTW...is cookie baking a business for you or just a yummy hobby?

    If it's a business, how did you get started and what types of places to you sell your wares?

    It's something I've considered but I'm sort of afraid of failure ;-)I'd love to know your story.

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  15. Hey Jenny...The icing I use is royal icing made with meringue powder. You could use it to pipe letters on a cake or something like that, but you wouldn't want to frost a cake with it because it dries hard.

    AnneMarie...click on the posts labeled "livestrong". The recipe I use the most is there.

    Melanie...the royal icing I use is made with meringue powder. There are many different brands and you can just follow the recipe printed on the package. For the thinned icing, just add water until it is the consistency of syrup.

    NewMomma...I've never tried that kind of sugar cookie mix. You could try the Pillsbury refigerated dough. I bet that would cut out better.

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  16. IceHouse...I used to sell cookies, but just blog about them now. :) It started just through word of mouth/friends and lots of trial & error on my part!

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  17. How do you get your icing so neat and nice looking?

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  18. Here from WFMW. Love your blog and all your ideas. I'm pretty sure that I'll have to bookmark everyone of your posts. :)

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  19. Thank you - I will try the freezer tip. I'm always trying to improve my cookies!

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  20. This is great- thank you! Our Christmas cutouts were pretty much just blobs after baking, very disappointing! :(

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  21. It's funny but after so any years of baking I never put a cokie in the oven without a trip to the fridge or freezer first. Can't help it. He says I am OCD, I say I am not ready to cry :)

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  22. I love this idea! I'm ashamed of my homemade cookies, so I'm open to suggestions or taste-testing :D

    Thanks for joining WFMW!!

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  23. I can't wait to try this tip. Thanks!

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  24. I don't remember how I came across your blog the other night, and as I was looking through it I told my husband I don't think I have time in my life to have found your blog. But I am also {SO} glad that I did. I love the tips and ideas. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  25. I am a new follower of your blog. I found you through We Are That Family. My dd and I just love your blog. We love baking and eating, though that is not good for my diet.

    I wanted to let you know that I gave you an award. Come to my blog to see what you are supposed to do to claim it.

    http://debbiesdigest.blogspot.com/2009/02/excellence-in-blogcasting-award.html

    My dd's blog is at http://younghomemakers.blogspot.com/ if you want to check that out too.

    Debbie

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  26. I love Wednesdays! Thanks for the tip!

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  27. STUMBLED ACROSS YOUR BLOG.I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THE COOKIE RECIPE!

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  28. Thanks for this post and heads up about works for me wed-I will look forward to it every week.

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  29. Dave stacks all the cookies in the freezer before baking.
    Great tip!!

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  30. Yes. And when I'm making just regular drop cookies, like Choc Chip or whatever, I keep the dough in the fridge and allow the cookie sheet to cool completely between batches. Same idea.

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  31. That's a great tip, thanks! I wondered how to keep the shape without having a stiff dough with too much flour. I will definitely do this next time. Thank you!:)

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  32. I'm here from Kristen's humorous post involving the cherry sours and the "I bet you think your blog is better than my mom's." ;)
    After scrolling back through several of your posts, developing a serious envy of your cookie making skills ;) and drooling over the ice cream pie... I've come to the conclusion that finding your blog could be seriously detrimental to my waist line. =)

    And I'm seriously impressed!

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  33. I do the same thing. I think someone over at Kitchen Krafts told me about it.

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  34. I just love your blog. I made your hostess cupcakes and they turned out wonderful. Although, mine do not look as pretty as yours! I put your website in my blog post regarding the cupcakes. Hope that's ok!

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  35. oh my...I just lost all of that baby weight and here you are! I can't wait to try some (or all but who's really counting) of the recipes you've posted! I'd love to be able to decorate cookies like you do...but if they turned out half as cute as yours are I probably wouldn't let anyone eat them!

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  36. you mean that's why my mom did that? good grief...all these years. thanks for sharing! :)

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  37. great tip! I have tried everything to get cookies to stay in shape, never even thought about this. Can't wait to try...

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  38. Great Idea, and all your cookies look so great - did you post the recepie of these cookies on your blog? I´m looking for a good cookie recepie :o)
    Found your blog over your comment about the english muffins at Knead the Bread Blog :o)
    Now I just need a bigger freezer ;)
    best greetings from Germany

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  39. I love this idea, but I have a side by side and my cookie sheets don't fit! :(
    I have to giggle when I say that my eyes immediately fell to the container of Bluebell Ice Cream holding up your cookie sheet...and I wondered what flavor you had in there, LOLOL... :)

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  40. What type of cookie sheets work best for you? I know parchment paper is key, but I need to get new pans, so thought I would see what you use and just copy you. LOL. Love, love, love your blog!!

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  41. First off, l.o.v.e your blog! So glad I stumbled upon it.

    A question for you, how did your cookies look so evenly? Do you use a roller with a "guides"? And what is the ideal thickness? Is it 1/8 inch?

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  42. hi! just wondering. is it okay if i make the cookie dough ahead of time lets say during the day. then refrigerate it till i want to bake them at night? will it affect anything?

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  43. Can i cut the cookies out and freeze them to bake at a later time?

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  44. Awesome tip! I was looking at your Vanilla-Almond recipe and was going to ask if it spread much. My reindeer legs tend to look they've taken steroids.

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  45. Here's a really simple way of cutting out cookies - particularly at this time of year when doing multiple batches. First, after mixing dough, roll out sheets to desired thickness between sheets of plastic wrap - so easy when it's soft. I put a cookie sheet in the fridge and just pile it up with the sheets of dough. After refrigerating it is really easy to cut out and transfer to cookie sheet to bake. When you have scraps of dough left over, it's also extremely easy to reroll and not add tons of flour each time. Just put your scrape layer on the top of your pile and take the bottom one out to cut. By the time you get to your scrap layer, it's cold enough to cut.

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  47. This is such a good idea. I have never heard of actually freezing them in the shapes. I have always seen the cut out ones in the paperboard packaging and wondered how they did that. Thanks so much for sharing this great wisdom. I'm going to try it this weekend, I am sure the kids would love to have cookies.

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  48. Good recipe but NOT GOOD FOR CUTTING SHAPES!! FREEZING OR FRIDGING DOUGH IS POINTLESS! um seriously disappointed!

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  49. I'm making about 50 elephant cut out cookies for an upcoming baby shower. I ran a test run last night and sure enough, all the cookies puffed up and got misshapen. I experimented a bit with rolling the dough thicker vs thinner and did freeze the second batch. Does it help to have a thicker sturdier cut out? I have a month to practice some more, but the sooner I get a handle on this, the better. Note: I was primarily focused on the decorating part with royal icing so I only used the store bought sugar cookie dough that Pillsbury makes. I'm not convinced that dough is meant for cut outs but I figured it's still worth asking. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lauren!

      I would definitely try the recipe linked in the sidebar...and freeze the shapes for 5-10 minutes before baking. :)

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