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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Where have YOU BEEN?!? or COOKIE TIP #1

Well, ok, I am the one that's been MIA around here!  Life takes us many places we don't ever expect.  Mine took me away from posting on my blog!  Things happen - it's ok.  I forgive me for it, and I hope you will too!

That said, it's time to get back at it again, and this time, I have a plan.  What I would like to do (let's see if I can stick with this!) is use this forum for a way to share tips and ideas for you to use at YOUR house!  Rather than just posting all the different things I make (I do that on Facebook anyway) you might like to actually learn something.  

If you don't want to try any of it, that's ok too, but consider this a warning, you MAY actually want to jump in and try these things yourself!

So..... Here goes nothing!  
Tip #1 - Have you tried using cookie cutters to make a specific shape to decorate?  Most people that try this do Christmas cookies.  I grew up making rolled and cut sugar cookies every year, usually the weekend of Thanksgiving, by the hundreds.  It was a family tradition!  Thanksgiving weekend meant lots of dry, leftover turkey sandwiches and Christmas cookies!  Would you like to see some pictures of those early creations?!  I'd love to show you some, but alas, we did not photograph them.  But it's alright, I can tell you they were odd looking, goofy "gingerbread" men, over-puffed bells and stars and christmas trees.  Sometimes we even did reindeer, but you could never tell what they were!  Have you had this problem?  Read on for how to solve it!

There are 2 simple ways to reduce the spreading/puffing of your cookies as they bake. 
1 - Reduce or eliminate leavening agents.  
The worst culprits are baking soda and baking powder.  If either of these are in your recipe, try cutting it by half, or do what I do, and leave it out altogether!  If you don't want your dough spreading, why put in something who's only purpose is to make the dough spread!?  It's just silly!

(Ok, so I guess this is Tips 1 & 2.  Oh well.  They go together!)  

2 - Before you put your cut dough into the oven, make sure the dough is COLD!  How cold?  Well, I always put my tray of raw cookies into the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes before putting them into the oven.  When the metal tray feels cold to my touch, I figure it's good.  But the colder the better!  My favorite way to cool them is by putting the trays (covered with a lid of course!) on the back porch in the snowy dead of winter!  It's Michigan - They get REALLY cold in a hurry!

If you have trouble with puffy cookies that turn into unrecognizable blobs, try doing these 2 things and see what you think!  I'd love to hear your feedback if you do try it!  

Happy Baking!

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