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Keys to Making Sturdy Cut-Out Cookies



April 27, 2010

Homemade cookies are a long time favorite of children and adults alike. There are many types, including drop cookies, pan cookies and rolled or cutout cookies. Making cookies of the cutout variety is a fun way to involve kids in the kitchen, create personalized cookies and make any cookie shape using favorite cookie cutters. The cookies can be left plain, decorated with icing and sprinkles, flavored with extracts or colored with food coloring making them perfect for any occasion. A large variety of recipes are available for rolled and cutout cookies.

The main key to making sturdy cutout cookies is finding the perfect recipe. However, before finding the perfect cutout cookie recipe, it must first be decided which type of cookie will be made. Cutout cookie possibilities include basic sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies or butter cookies. A basic sugar cookie recipe is the easiest and most reliable cookie recipe to work with to ensure the cookies hold their shape. Sugar cookie recipes all use the same basic ingredients of flour, sugar, a rising agent and a fat source. The type of ingredients used will make a difference in the sturdiness of the cookie. The use of confectioner’s sugar and butter in the recipe will produce a lighter, more delicate cookie, which may not roll out as well and can be more difficult to work with. For best results, a cutout cookie recipe using granulated sugar and shortening is the best choice.

Once a recipe has been chosen, it is especially important to maintain the correct ratio of wet and dry ingredients by accurate measuring. Too much flour will produce dry dough that easily breaks and crumbles, resulting in cracked, unstable cookies. Adding a little water or extra shortening can help moisten dry dough. Alternatively, a dough with too much moisture will be soft, difficult to roll and will not hold its shape during baking. Minimal amounts of extra flour can be added to sticky dough, however great care should be taken to follow the recipe closely with accurate measurements.

Another key to creating sturdy cutout cookies involves the shaping and baking process. After choosing a recipe and mixing the dough, it is time to roll out and cut the dough. The dough should be firm to start with and may require refrigeration prior to rolling. It should then be evenly rolled and uniformly cut for even baking. Dough should be handled as little as possible to prevent dough from softening. Re-rolling the dough too often increases the likelihood of drying out the dough.

With the proper ingredient selection, ratio of wet and dry ingredients and careful dough handling, sturdy cutout cookies can be achieved every time.

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