I love to see stacks of blank cookies. I think it is the potential they hold. They can be so many things. Polka-dotted. Sugared. Sprinkled. Striped. EATEN. I also think I'm still in awe that I'm able to bake fairly even and non-burnt roll-out cookies. For years and years they've been my favorite type of cookie, but it always seemed like too much work to make them, and they'd never come out like I hoped. Edges would be overcooked. Centers would be undercooked. Not that I didn't eat them :-) They were always delicious, but I went years without making any.
Then a few months ago I saw Cookie Craft mentioned on Bakerella and quickly called the bookstore to put it on hold. Marc picked it up on the way home from work that night and my cookie baking has never been the same. I studied the pictures of the amazing cookies and dreamt off someday making something even half as beautiful. I hesitated to use their technique for baking the cookies because it seemed like it might be tedious. After trying it, I have to say I love it though!
First, here are some things I use:
- I have "cookie slats" (one set that I use most is 1/4" thick - the other set is 3/16"). They are made out of balsa wood and I got them at a craft store, near some other balsa items including dowels.
- After trying the cookie slats with my old rolling pin I ended up buying a longer one so that I don't have to roll as many times (I can roll larger pieces of dough). Mine is a Wilton 20" plastic fondant rolling pin.
- Parchment paper - it can be SO expensive - but Marc found a special at a local Restaurant Supply store and I got box of 1000, 16 3/8" x 24 3/8" sized pieces for less money than 2 rolls of the kind you can get at the food store. One of those rolls holds 30 sq. ft., and if my math is right, I have over 2700 sq. ft. Ahhh, that makes me feel good, LOL.
- After mixing the cookie dough, I roll it right away, before chilling it at all. I roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, with the cookie slats on top of both.
- After rolling, I place the dough sheet (between the parchment paper) in the fridge to cool for 20+ minutes. Finding space for this is the most difficult part of this technique, LOL.
- After 20 minutes or so, I take out one sheet at a time and cut the cookies, placing them on a parchment lined cookie sheet to bake. I re-roll scraps between the same parchment and then return it to the fridge and repeat as necessary. I try to keep all of the cookies on a cookie sheet the same shape or at least close in size for more even baking. Smaller cookies cook faster.
Another tip: I pick out at least one really small cookie cutter to use in the spaces left after I finish cutting out larger shapes. I try to re-roll as little as possible! I have a small cookie sheet that is half the size of my others, and I keep that (or a piece of parchment paper to slide onto a cookie sheet when one is available) near me to fill as I go. By the time I'm done with all of the other cookies I usually have a full tray of the tiny ones! These are great cookies to give to kids when they ask for one! My kids will frown upon being handed a half of a large cookie but they are thrilled to be handed a whole tiny cookie :-)
Here is a very proud cookie thief - she climbed up on the island to get this and she's pretty thrilled with herself, LOL.
I think she approves.