Sunday, July 13, 2014

I Didn't Know That - Chilling Out - Cookies

I probably make more cookies and cakes than any other food, because they are so versatile.  Most of my cookies are drop or those that are rolled into balls and flattened.  I've often wondered how I could make my dough easier to work with and this is what I found.

Many cookie recipes call for chilling the dough in the refrigerator before shaping, slicing, or rolling.  This helps to stiffen the butter or shortening and makes the dough more manageable.  It also makes the finished product better because chilled dough needs to be worked less than an unchilled dough.  (This is exactly what I run into.  My dough is sticky and hard to work with so I actually find myself either wetting my hands to form the balls or just doing drop cookies.  This isn't good because I feel sure I don't need to add the extra liquid that is on my hands and I also know that making drop cookies with dough that was meant to be shaped into balls or rolled out don't cook evenly.)

Chill all cookie dough made with butter or shortening in the refrigerator for the time recommended in the recipe.  If you're using margarine for shaping or sliced cookies, you should quick-chill the dough in the freezer for about 1/3 of the refrigerator chilling time.  Do not quick-chill cookie dough made with butter or shortening in the freezer;  it will become too firm.  (I've gone back and looked at a lot of my cookie recipes and most do not suggest refrigerating the dough but they do use a good amount of butter.  Since reading this I've made cookies that use butter and have started refrigerating them for 30 minutes.  This has made them a lot easier to work with, I can roll them into balls easily, and they do seem to cook more evenly.)

For rolled cookies made with margarine, refrigerate the dough at least 5 hours or freeze for 2 hours before rolling.  (I seldom roll out cookies for cutting but if I do, this will come in hand.)

Now, with the holidays just around the corner I hope this information will help you too have some fun times making cookies.

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