For a long time, sugar cookies were my nemesis. I loved how they looked, but didn’t really love to make them, because I always had trouble getting the right consistency in my dough. The following tips may help you reach sugar cookie nirvana:
- Softened/room temperature butter should be the texture of ice cream, not peanut butter. It should hold some of its shape, but not be too soft.
- Flour incorporation takes a few minutes. The dough will go through a crumb-like stage and then change to a more cohesive dough that pulls away from the side of the mixer. When it pulls away, it’s done.
- If your dough is too crumbly, even after a few minutes of mixing, go ahead and add another teaspoon of vanilla extract or water. Take care not to add too much water; your dough needs to be stiff enough to roll out, so if you end up adding more liquid (or your butter was really, really soft) add another tablespoon of flour to help stabilize the dough.
- Place your dough in large Ziploc bags or between sheets of waxed paper and roll it slightly before chilling.
- Chill your dough for about 30 minutes; I’ve found that this gives enough time to make rolling easier, but isn’t so long that your dough is hard.
- Remove your dough from the fridge and let it sit out for a few minutes before you roll it.
- If you have trouble with breakage when transferring your cut cookies to the baking sheet, keep the cookie cutter in place once you’ve cut your shape, then slide an offset spatula beneath the cookie and move the whole thing, cutter and all, to the baking sheet and then remove the cutter.
- Chill your cut-outs for 5-10 minutes before baking.
- Different shapes = different baking times, so bake one shape at a time. For example, if you’re baking moons and stars, bake all of the moons on one sheet and all of the stars on another to ensure even baking.