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Cookie Dough Help Needed

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
for the 2nd week in the row, i'm sending the girls off with icky cookies to share-a-treat day at school. oh, they'll taste great, but they look blech!

i've done a lot of cookie baking, but going through my recipes, i realized that all of them were of the sort where exact shape didn't matter. that's not the case now. little kids want their zoo animal sugar cookies to actually look like zoo animals, not melted blobs of tasty sparkly colored dough. the chocolate chip pretend doggie bones should be vaguely bone shaped instead of slumpy rectangles.

i used a standard sugar cookie recipe last week and some miniature animal cutters about 2". this week i used the standard toll house choc chip recipe, and it was a disaster. it was so sticky there was no way i could even think about cookie cutter-ing it. i added another cup of flour and was able to squish it flat like play-doh to the thickness of one chip and cut it. even with the extra flour, it still tasted good. but they sure don't look like doggy bones.

i'm off cookies next week. it's under-the-sea week & i'm making oysters from 2 madelines made of yellow cake for shells with pastry cream oysters and grey fondant pearls inside. but then it's dinosaurs. and i need t-rex to look like t-rex and not t-wrecks. :)

what's the trick to making cookies with cookie cutters that hold their shape once baked? is there some sort of perfect dough recipe for using cutters? can anyone offer some cookie advice?

thanks,
--gothgate
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post #2 of 16
Are you refrigerating your cookie dough? If so, how long? If not you should reiterate it over night. I have also found that using real butter tends to make your cookies flatten during cooking. I use butter flavored Crisco with cut out cookies. Hope that helps.

Kelley
post #3 of 16
:lol: :crazy: :lol:
luv your post!
a bisic sugar dough works great. If someone does not post one I will try to scale down one of ours. Just butter, sugar, flour and eggs.
pan
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post #4 of 16
post #5 of 16

Also....

Try not to over-cream the butter and sugar. If you mix it so long that the sugar begins to dissolve into the butter, it will make the cookies spread quite a bit in the oven.
It is best to mix the sugar and butter to combine, but not until it is light and fluffy.
post #6 of 16
I don't make cookies at all because they always flatten out and join up to make one big thin cookie. I think this is where I have probably been going wrong. Thanks for that.

Jock
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
it sounds like cookie-wise i've been doing everything wrong! :crazy:

i do tend to over-cream my butter & sugar. i figured a creamy mixture makes for a softer cookie, not figuring that a softer cookie spreads more. duh. i'll try to keep it grainier.

i did refrigerate the sugar cookie dough just a little (i'm impatient!). unfortunately though, by the time i thought about doing that with the choc chips, my kitchen thermometer was reading 96* and not only the cookies but the cook was melting. i'll try that next time.

i use unsalted butter in cookies. i like the taste better than regular shortening or margerine. even the butter-flavored kind -- although that's probably a mental thing, if i didn't know how it was made i probably couldn't tell. it's just that shortening looks & feels so... eeeww. so i'll probably make that change as an absolute last resort.

someone on another board suggested baking the cookies like a very thin cake and then punching out the cookies after they're cooked. i might try that, but i'm afraid that might wind up with the kind of iced cookies you get at winn-dixie or wal-mart that taste like, well, cake.

i was reading my betty crocker cookbook last night and they suggested adding flour for a stiffer dough (which i figured out on my own). but there were so few cookie recipes in there! i was very disappointed with that cookbook on many levels. i'm tired of everything being low-fat & low-carb & low-sugar & low taste. i'm still hanging on to my tattered old cookbooks from the 60s & 70s when things tasted right. no, you can't eat rich stuff like that every day, but when i want cookies, i want them to taste like cookies darn it! not low-fat low-carb cardboard.

@panini: i'd love a copy of your recipe. i've been wanting a very basic cookie recipe that i can use alone and also experiment with.

next week in addition to working on my madeleine recipe, i'll be testing out cookie methods. the kids are gonna love coming home to that every day! :bounce:
hopefully dinosaurs will rule the school rather than go extinct in the oven.
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post #8 of 16

Drop-cookie vs cut-out...

Hey Gothgate,
Sounds like you've "upped the ante" on school treats...sounds like great fun! :cool:

Just a quick comment...the chocolate chip cookie dough is intended for gooey drop cookies, so would not do well for cut-outs that need to be firmer. I'll dig out my Mom's old sugar cookie recipe and post tonight. It's an old German recipe that's mixed by hand on the counter, and the cookies always turn out great! The key is to chill the dough real well and keep it cold while rolling out...if it gets warm, just put on a cookie sheet and haul back into the fridge or freezer for a while...

My family loves when I'm playing in the kitchen and experimenting with different things...always something to taste and critique...

Cheers,

Micki
--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--
Micki, aka Pastry Maven

"Yom-yom-yooom, ze chocolad!"
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post #9 of 16
Ok,
We use the simplest 1,2,3, formula
1 lbs. Granulated sugar
2 lbs. unsalted butter
3 lbs. high protien flour
and 3 whole medium eggs.
I scaled this from our 50 lbs.+ batch but should work just fine.

Using a mixer: blend the sugar and butter until pale. add flour and mix till it starts to come together and form quarter sized nuggets. Stop mixer, add the eggs and now you want to incorperate the eggs into this mixture as fast as possible using a high speed for the shortest amount of time to blend. If you over mix the flour at this point you will bring out the gluten and end up with a tough dough. Form rollable pieces and chill till almost hard.
Roll out on a cool surface with bench flour. Cut, pan and bake.

This is a basic dough for cut outs, tart shells, etc.
Add the flavor of your choice. for tarts we add lemon zest and vanilla. For cut outs we use a bitteralmond and lemon zest. Add any flavor. Just watch your liquid volume, don't change the basic formula.
Good Luck,
panini
This might be to much dough. It reworks well and has a long shelf life.
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post #10 of 16
Panini, I read your recipe and have a question: You specify medium eggs. Every cookbook recipe I consult says to use large eggs. Can you enlighten me on this point? I'm not much of a baker!

Mezz
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post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
@Panini: Thanks so much! it sounds like a great recipe. i'll use it during next week's cookie testings. just a couple of questions... what is high protein flour & what is bench flour? all i have in my pantry is all-purpose & cake flour. is this other stuff usually available at a regular grocery?

so i found out about the choc chippers. :) i figured it might work because i'd seen those giant shaped choc chip cookies in stores. i wasn't really set on choc chip cookies though. i was looking for something that would be doggie treat texture. at first i thought oatmeal raisin, but i know those are even gooier.

yeah, the teachers think i'm some kind of pastry god. :chef: i'm just a dabbler. nothing comes out quite right to my eye, but it all tastes good. i'm much better at cakes & cupcakes. my best cake ever was making a 3D Starship Enterprise (classic Trek) birthday cake for a friend. a few weeks ago for beach week i made a sandcastle with a special pan i got from betty crocker. and i used molded candies for seashells, starfish, etc.

sometimes i feel bad about making all this stuff. i'm not trying to compete or outdo the other parents and i certainly don't want anyone to feel bad. i just love doing this stuff. i stopped baking for years because for just me, and then later for just me & my wife, i didn't see the point. now that i have a family again, i'm really loving getting back into it.

funny thing is, when it's the girls' birthdays, i always get a store-bought cake. i remember that when i was growing up, as much as i loved cooking with my mom & grandmother, i always felt poor that we had homemade birthday cakes when my friends didn't. even though the homemade ones were tastier & prettier, it was a 'being different' thing. so birthdays are for store-bought cakes.
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post #12 of 16
Gothgate - Don't give up on the butter. If you like the flavor, there is no reason not to use it, it is just a matter of using the right dough for your needs. I have used a version of the 1-2-3 recipe that Panini posted and it works great.
On another topic, you mentioned perfecting your Madeleine recipe. Well, this one
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/re...s/views/234680
had such a great intro in Gourmet, that I had to try it. I would say I like this recipe far better than others I have tried and the batter holds for 2-3 days in your fridge so that you can bake them fresh.
post #13 of 16

Keep on baking!!!!

We make our doughs and freeze them for future use.
For our cut outs we use a dough like Paninis but with a touch of baking powder.
Tomorrow I am decorating cookie horses for the Hampton Classic.
Very detailed cutters and the dough did just fine!

You can cut butter or sugar cookies, linzer dough and short breads.
to cut the chip cookies, add more flour and keep in the fridge for a few days and try to roll cold and cut cold.

:bounce:

PS NOLA is one of my favorite places in the world!
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #14 of 16
High protein flour is bread flour. Bench flour is just the flour you are using to roll out your dough (ie, the flour you put on your bench)
Erik

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Erik

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post #15 of 16
Mezz:
One of the reasons that you won't see a lot of formulas from me is that in every formula we have, we scale by weight, and most of those are metric.
I never have the time to actually use a conversion chart and I usually don't trust my own.
The eggs were .75 liters++ little over 3/4 liters. What? maybe 5 oz. scaled down. I figured 2 eggs might be dry so I went with 3. or approx 5oz.
You know better then I, what the reccomended egg size would be. You are probably correct in using 3 large.
So are you really confused now?:p
Gothgate:
Kevin is correct as always. but don't be afraid to use the all purpose. I'm told that the grocery store All Purpose is usually a little high in protien/gluten.
The higher the protien/gluten, the harder the flour. The lower the protien/gluten, the softer the flour. So you wouldn't want to use cake unless you want a softer, more fluffy cookie. They will be soft and hard to dip in fondant.
HTH's
Pan
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post #16 of 16
Hi Again,
I think it's great that you're taking the time to make all these treats and cakes for your family and friends, and doing what you love. I'm a day late on the Sugar Cookie recipe, but here it is as promised:

2.5 c flour (all-purpose)
2/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c unsalted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Mix flour, sugar and baking powder on counter, and make a pile with a well in the center. Cut up the butter into small pieces and place around the pile. Put the egg and vanilla into the well, and with a finger, mix the liquids with a small amount of the flour mixture to make a thick paste. Work the paste and the butter into the flour with your hands, until well-mixed and the dough becomes smooth. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. When ready to use, cut disk in half, and roll out on floured surface to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and transfer to cookie sheets. If adding sprinkles prior to baking, brush with egg wash, sprinkle and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool, and decorate with icings, etc.

It's a small-scale recipe that makes about 3 dz medium-sized cookies...Hope you enjoy!

Cheers,

Micki
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Micki, aka Pastry Maven

"Yom-yom-yooom, ze chocolad!"
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