My idea of the perfect Christmas cookie is a no-bake or drop cookie. When I got married, my hubby thought Christmas couldn’t happen without cut-out sugar cookies. A few years later, a friend introduced my children to gingerbread men. So between little brown men and sugar cookie shapes, I was in a dilemma.
I hated these beloved cookies of Christmas. I detested rolling out the dough. Somehow moving the flattened shape off my counter so it still looks like a reindeer or star or snowman becomes an insurmountable task. Not only that, they were rarely the same thickness…some as thin as crackers, the next batch a lot more like mini-muffin tops.
Eventually I learned the wonder of parchment paper and have used it ever since for rolling out my cookie dough. It saves clean-up and having to scrape cookie shapes off my counter. It also keeps my dough the perfect consistency as I don’t have to add flour to my rolling surface.
Parchment paper is great, but it didn’t solve my thick-thin problem. Then last Christmas my friend came to my rescue. She suggested I use paint stir sticks as rolling guides. They are the perfect ¼” thickness for cut-out cookies.
So this is how I do it now:
* Take two paint sticks and wrap each in plastic wrap.
* Lay out one large piece of parchment paper.
* Set the wrapped paint sticks on top of the parchment paper slightly closer together than the width of the rolling pin.
* Put the dough in-between the lines the sticks create, (pointing away from you as if you were stretching your arms straight out over the counter while standing next to it)
* Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough to sandwich it in-between layers.
* Here’s a hint: you then have to clamp the edges of those pieces of parchment paper (on your side) between your belly and the countertop to hold it firmly while you roll out the dough.
* Carefully place both ends or handles of the rolling pin on the sticks and roll it out keeping the rolling pin on the sticks while you roll. This keeps the thickness of the dough even.
* Remove the top paper, cut the shapes and easily peel them from the lower paper.
* It is quick, clean, easy and all the same thickness.
I did this for my gingerbread men last year. This year all my cut-outs will get the parchment and paint-stick treatment.
It took me a long time to learn this. So are there any other cookie baking tips out there that you really should let me in on before another decade or two goes by?