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Video:How to Roll Out Sugar Cookies

with Elizabeth LaBau

Sugar cookies are a classic treat that also make great gifts if the presentation is right. Learn how to roll out sugar cookie dough neatly and evenly.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Roll Out Sugar Cookies

Chill the Sugar Cookie Dough

The #1 rule of working with sugar cookie dough is to chill out—by which I mean to keep your dough chilled, of course. So after you've first made your dough, divide it into 2 or 3 portions, wrap them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for about 45 minutes, until it's firm but not rock hard.

Keep the Sugar Cookie Dough From Sticking

Once it's chilled, it's time to roll. This is where lots of folks run into trouble. To keep the dough from sticking, people often dust it liberally with flour, which leads to tough, tasteless cookies. One solution is to use powdered sugar instead of flour! It does an excellent job of keeping your chilled dough from sticking to the table or the rolling pin, and instead of adding a dry, floury taste, it adds a touch more sweetness. Use it just like you would flour, and sprinkle it all over your work surface and dough.

Another option is to not add anything at all, and instead roll the dough between two sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper. This is my favorite option, because it's easiest and cleanest—the cookie dough never gets too dry or too sticky, and you end up with nicely rolled dough every time.

Roll Sugar Cookies in an Even Layer

Now that we've talked about the basics, let's discuss rolling that dough in an even layer. One cheap and easy way to get perfect dough is to use wooden dowels. These can be found at any home improvement or craft store, and they come in a variety of sizes. Place two dowels of the same size on the sides of your dough, and roll the rolling pin over the dough—eventually it will hit the dowels and not be able to go lower, and you're left with a sheet of perfectly rolled, beautifully even cookie dough.

Cutting Shapes Into Sugar Cookie Dough

To get the cleanest cuts, chill the rolled dough before cutting it into shapes.You might know that you can dip cutters in flour to keep the dough from sticking to them. But did you know that vegetable oil works even better? Dip the very edge of a cutter in vegetable oil, tap the excess off, then use it to cut the dough. Works like a charm!

If you're cutting large or delicate shapes that are tricky to move, you can actually cut the cookies out on the baking sheet, and then peel away the excess dough to be re-rolled later.

Tips for Baking Sugar Cookies

What kind of tray should you use for baking cookies? Tray with a dark finish tend to give dark, even burned bottoms, so avoid those if you can. Insulated or double-layer trays might have the opposite problem—very light, potentially underdone, bottoms. The best trays for cookie baking are shiny aluminum—they distribute heat evenly and produce a golden brown bottom. So if you have the choice, choose aluminum.

For the easiest clean-up, bake cookies on a nonstick silicon liner or a sheet of parchment paper.After the cookie are rolled, cut, and put on the tray of your choice, make sure you chill them before baking so that they don't spread as much. Just 15 minutes in the refrigerator can make a big difference!When you're ready to bake, make sure your oven is preheated in plenty of time to allow it to reach the proper temperature. Use an oven thermometer for greatest accuracy, and check it periodically to make sure the oven's holding the temperature.

Bake the Sugar Cookies

Rotate the cookie sheet halfway through baking, so that the cookies bake evenly in the oven.Cool the sugar cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing them gently with a spatula and letting them cool completely on a wire rack. Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you roll and bake perfect sugar cookies every time!

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