Rolled and Cut-Out Cookie Wisdom

Rolled and Cut-Out Cookie Wisdom
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Cookies that require rolling the dough and cutting with a cookie cutter can be a little trickier than other cookie recipes. Though they are more time consuming, the result is worth it when all is said and done.

They can range from beautiful creations to whimsical shapes cut out by children. Dough is available premade, but why not save money by making your own dough?

Foods and Homemaking, published 1933, explains the difference between the rolled type of dough and other cookie batter.

"More fat is needed to shorten the dough or to make it tender. Because more fat is used in making cut cookies than in making gingerbread and drop cookies, the fat is not melted before it is added to the other ingredients. You must soften the fat by creaming it, i.e., working and beating it with a spoon or spatula."

It's important when making rolled cookies to follow the instructions to the letter, especially when it comes to using whatever fat is called for in the recipe. It makes a difference because shortening, butter and margarine will all have different results.

The Norge Binding of Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook, published in 1950 has some great tips on making rolled or cut-out cookies.

"Do not wash cookie sheets between batches while baking. A broad spatula or cake turner is essential and two would be even better. One should be reserved for lifting the cold, unbaked cookie cutouts onto the cookie sheets and the other for removing the hot, finished cookies."

"A pastry cloth and rolling pin stocking are inexpensive and prove to be marvelous aids. Dust the pastry cloth and stocking with a mixture of 1 part sugar and 2 parts flour. Roll cookie dough on it and you will find the cutouts can be easily lifted off."

Lemon Snaps

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks or 2 whole eggs
3 tbsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
3 2/3 cups cake flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Egg for glaze, milk

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat eggs well and add with the milk and extract. Mix and sift dry ingredients and add. Chill. Roll 1/8 inch thick. Cut and brush tops with egg diluted with milk. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees F.) for 10 minutes. Makes 150 cookies 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

All About Home Baking, published in 1933 is one of my favorite cookbooks because of the step by step instructions and pictures. The following tips from the book are excellent.

"Work with half or less of the dough at a time, keeping remainder in refrigerator until ready to roll. Flour board and rolling pin slightly...use only enough flour to keep dough from sticking. "

"In cutting out cookies, dip cutter in flour each time before using to keep dough from sticking. Cut cookies carefully, so that they will be perfect in shape, but cut them close together in order to get as many as possible from the first rolling. Cookies cut from dough that has been rolled more than once are never so tender. "

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 cup sifted cake flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter or shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Sift flour once, add baking powder and salt and sift again. Cream butter thoroughly, add sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add vanilla. Add flour and blend. Chill until firm enough to roll. Roll 1/8 inch thick on slightly floured board. Cut with 3 1/2 inch floured cutter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake on ungreased baking sheet in hot oven (400 degrees F.) for 10-12 minutes. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Lastly, a note about cookie sheets; my pans are old and dark, but I love them, so I use parchment paper when baking cookies. This makes a huge difference, so they bake nicely, even with dark pans, which are normally not recommended.

Baking rolled and cut cookies takes patience, but the results are worth it. Always use fresh ingredients, exact measurements and be sure to make extra for “taste testing”.

You may also enjoy:
Dainty Cookies
Holiday Cream Cheese Cookies
Freezing Cookies and Cookie Dough



About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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