Tips for perfect sugar cookies

Iced sugar cookies

If you haven’t started your holiday baking yet, there is still time to make plenty of treats. Iced sugar cookies are a classic holiday treat, and they are tons of fun to make and decorate. However, they can be a little fussy and if you’re not careful you can end up with misshapen, broken, greasy, or burnt cookies. Don’t panic, though, we’ve got great cookie tips from your favorite indexed blogs.

The Kitchn shows us how to avoid the top 5 mistakes in making sugar cookies. The number one tip is to make sure your butter isn’t too soft. Sometimes we get in a hurry and try to rush the butter softening by using a microwave, but this frequently results in butter that’s too warm. When that happens, your cookies can turn out greasy and won’t hold their shape well.

You also want to avoid overworking the dough, which will lead to tough cookies. Use a gentle hand and mix “the dry ingredients only until they’re just incorporated, and not a second longer. Once the dry ingredients are added, less mixing equals more tender cookies.” The third tip is to chill the dough before rolling and cutting to make it more compliant. Visit The Kitchn for the remainder of their tips.

In addition to this great advice, Food52 offers suggestions for improving your cookies. Their first tip is to “Cream, cream, cream, cream the butter.” Why is this so important?  Because the creaming “process actually helps to “dissolve” the sugar into the butter, which makes for a properly mixed cookie. This process — done correctly — takes 4 to 5 minutes on medium-low speed.” You don’t have to worry about over-mixing until you add the dry ingredients.

Another solid piece of advice is to not add too much flour. More flour leads to tough cookies, not the soft, chewy masterpieces you’re after. When rolling out the dough, a “light dusting to your surface and your rolling pin should do the trick. Plus, if you’ve rolled your soft dough into a 1 inch-thick disk, you don’t have very far to go to roll out the dough to the proper thickness.” Read more tips at Food52.

Finally, the “golden” rule that both blogs emphasize: don’t bake the cookies until golden. Although many recipes will tell you to do just that, it is not good advice for rolled sugar cookies like this. They should appear set around the edges, and the edges should just be turning color, but the tops should be pale for the most tender cookies.

Photo of Iced sugar cookies from Cooking Light Magazine

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  • wester  on  December 15, 2014

    I read it before, but then forgot the tip about grating the butter. I am going to try that one soon.

  • hillsboroks  on  December 16, 2014

    Once I started weighing my flour on a digital my cookies became so much better. The texture and flavor were vastly improved and the dough was much easier to work with.

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