Now that we have the royal icing out of the way in my last post, it’s time to give you what I know about baking the perfect sugar cookies! But here’s the thing - I don’t openly share my recipe. You do have the option to purchase it in the Decorating Kit that I offer in my online shop, Cookie Couture (see the shop page on my website). It took time to develop a no chill, no spread recipe from the one that I started with and has for a long time been the one thing I haven't shared as I was running my own cookie business too. As I've transitioned more to providing both educational resources and products, it definitely made sense to include it in the Decorating Kits as I really wanted them to be the whole package. Keep in mind that recipes work out differently for everyone and you don't have to purchase my recipe to be successful. Find a recipe you like, and work with it to adjust it to your needs. It takes trial and error to get the result you want, and I have some tips that may help!
All dough recipes follow the same song and dance. You cream your butter and sugar first, and then add in the wet ingredients; eggs and flavouring. The flavour is really where you set yourself apart and there are SO many options. If your just a Basic Betty, use that vanilla you’ve got in the cupboard and play around later once you’ve got the rest down. Next, your going to combine this mixture with your flour, baking powder and salt (depending on what you use). THIS part is important in regards to how much flour you are using. If you’re dough is turning out sticky, you need to up the amount of flour you are using. And if it’s coming out dry, back it up. You want your final texture to be like that of play doh and for your dough to pull from the side of mixing bowl leaving it clean. If you’re baked cookies have crackled tops, slightly reduce the amount of sugar you are using.
Now some people swear buy cooling their dough and I did for a long time too. Then one day I thought, hmmm what will actually happen if I don’t? And guess what - it made ZERO difference and I cringe when I think back to all the time I spent refrigerating dough. So all I’m going to say is try it and see, life’s short! Ain't nobody got time for that!
I LOVE the Joseph Joseph Rolling Pin for rolling out my dough. It has ends that screw off and you can use one of the 4 sets of discs that it comes with for rolling your dough to an even width. You do need a custom disc if you are rolling 3/8 width cookies. These you can find in many 3D cutter shops. I roll the dough on parchment paper instead of flour so that it doesn’t dry out. You can also roll multiple times this way without it effecting how your cookies bake. Just ensure that you are incorporating new dough each time you roll as the more you roll it, the less smooth it bakes sometimes. I bake the cookies on a silicone baking liner as well and this part is also SUPER important. When you bake straight on the baking sheet, it gets greasy which leads to spreading. Baking on a liner (or parchment paper and replacing every time you bake a new batch) is going to reduce your spreading. Liners do require maintenance and you need to wipe them of grease build up before each baking session. These factors combined with using the levelling rolling pin is going to give you that perfectly shaped cookie for decorating!
I like to bake my cookies at a lower temperature of 390 degrees for about 10-13 minutes depending on the size (the recipe I started with calls for 425 degrees). This is going to save your cookies from baking faster and potentially burning on the edges before the middles are fully baked through. Consider the baking sheets you are using as well - light or dark. Both bake differently. All ovens are different and it’s worth it to buy an oven thermometer to know what it’s actually baking at as opposed to what you have it set at. You’d be very surprised how different it may be and how little factors play a big role!
Any baking recipe is personal for each individual, so experiment and find what works best for you. I hope these tips will also help you in getting that perfect cookie pallet for your decorating!