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Just thought I'd share. Top cookie cut with dough that was in the refrigerator for 2 days. Bottom cookie cut with dough that was in the frig for a couple of hours. A little bit of difference, eh?


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  • Dough Chilled to Different Degrees
Last edited by Julia M. Usher
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Wow, what a difference!

 

Though I think each recipe will behave a little differently wrt refrigeration. Spreading is not just a function of dough temp, but also composition (flour to fat ratio, type of fat used, etc.), handling, thickness to which dough is rolled, etc. I never chill my dough after rolling and cutting, but I do cut and bake some batches straight from the fridge and others after the dough has been sitting out at room temp for a while. I'm not sure how much bigger the bottom cookie is (it looks at least a half inch bigger), but I've never experienced this amount of variation in spreading with my recipe. Possibly because I have a higher flour to fat ratio, or because of the type of fat I use.

 

That said, I still advocate for using a well chilled dough. You'll use less flour to dust the work surface and the cookie will end up more tender.

Originally Posted by Julia M. Usher:

Wow, what a difference!

 

Though I think each recipe will behave a little differently wrt refrigeration. Spreading is not just a function of dough temp, but also composition (flour to fat ratio, type of fat used, etc.), handling, thickness to which dough is rolled, etc. I never chill my dough after rolling and cutting, but I do cut and bake some batches straight from the fridge and others after the dough has been sitting out at room temp for a while. I'm not sure how much bigger the bottom cookie is (it looks at least a half inch bigger), but I've never experienced this amount of variation in spreading with my recipe. Possibly because I have a higher flour to fat ratio, or because of the type of fat I use.

 

That said, I still advocate for using a well chilled dough. You'll use less flour to dust the work surface and the cookie will end up more tender.

TIP:
I never dust the work surface with flower, i roll my dough out between 2 pieces of baking parchment or 2 sheets of cling film 

I also hate rolling between 2 pieces of parchment. And I read about people doing this all of the time.  Do they tape it all over the place to the counter? Mine still always moves all over. Just curious as to how these people use it

We recently made the investment of a dough-sheeter and it has made life beautiful! It rolls the dough out evenly each time and then, I can cut a zillion cookies on my refrigerated-top-prep table (with a floured surface) and then plop into the oven...lately, since doing it this way, we have not had an issues with the size differences (but used to often when they were all hand-rolled). We did cut the amount of baking powder and salt that we add to the batter in half vs. completely omitting so reduce spreading as well. It's crazy how the cookie baking really is a science!

Patricia's right about less dusting when the dough is chilled.

I make a batch of dough, divide it into 3 disk & wrap each disk in wax paper and put the 3 together in a gallon size ziplock baggie and chill for 3 hours. Take one disk, roll out on wax paper and cut cookies w/o removing the scrap dough. Drag the wax paper off onto a cookie sheet and put in the freezer. Get another disk and do the same until I have a full sheet of cookies to bake. Take all the scraps and roll together to make another disk and chill.

 I never remove my fresh cut cookies until they are frozen because they get miss-shapened or discombulated. Is that a word? I heard it somewhere.

I have tried to roll my cookies between wax paper and it wrinkles on me and makes impressions I don't want.

By the way. . . what does "wrt" mean?

Last edited by Classic.Cookies

Sorry for the abbreviations, Cookies Parr Excellence - I'm typing very fast most of the time that I'm in here. I'll try to avoid them as much as possible.

I don't have much strength to cut out w/ cold dough...just too hard for me, so I use a recipe w/ a higher flour to fat ratio and removed the baking powder from the recipe...they don't spread at all.

I've used parchment paper and don't like it. It moves and then creases and I don't catch it until it's creased my dough...just don't like it at all.

A dough-sheeter??? not heard of that, but it sounds incredible...

I've read that if you want nice round circles to freeze them after you cut them out and they won't "mis-shape" while they bake...I don't have much problem with that I guess so I've not tried it.

As for freezing dough, I've done that. It was a lifesaver for me when I learned you can make dough ahead of time and freeze. I smooth each recipe out in a disc, wrap in saran wrap and then put down in a freezer bag, and then that freezer bag in a freezer container {Tupperware/Ziploc}. I've kept dough frozen for a couple of months. Let thaw and use. Great time saver!!

I roll my cookies out between folded over freezer paper, wax side in.  I never have problems with it sliding around and it doesn't wrinkle.  I don't have to add any flour at all and it works beautifully for me.  I don't refrigerate my dough before rolling and cutting it and my cookies spread very little.  I actually have found that I have more trouble with misshapen cookies AFTER refrigerating so it must have something to do with my recipe.  I use CookieCrazie's recipe and the directions are not to chill.

The recipe I use came from Food & Wine Magazine in 1992 is freezable too. It is just as if you made it fresh when ready to use.

Tracie, I don't understand your comment about not having much strength to cut cold dough. I chill mine but I let it warm up a bit but not totally room temperature. It just comes out smoother and cracks less if I roll while still a bit cold.

Ok, everyone is saying they chill their dough, but is ur butter soft when u make the dough?? Cause I use cold butter when making my dough and I don't chill it before rolling and cutting it. I do however put it in the freezer for 5ish mins. after cutting it and before baking it. This works great for me

 

Sort of.  The key is not to beat it so long that the butter is warm, but just until it is mixed with the sugar thoroughly.  The mixture will still be quite cool.  As I understand it, this creates fewer air bubbles and results in less cookie spread.  Hopefully this makes sense 

I see. I didn't know that about air bubbles. Maybe that is why my cookies get broken during shipping. Either that or the post office plays football with my packages.

 

I can't knead or re-roll my dough more than 3 times. Each time I rework the dough, the cookies are smaller. So if I have a small cutter that I want to be bigger. I cut them first. If I have a cutter that is a bit large, I cut it with the 3rd working. If there is any dough left after the 3rd working, I roll and cut new cookies for practice. They are still good but firm and chewy. Great for dipping in your favorite drink.

Last edited by Classic.Cookies

I try to minimize the creaming of my butter and sugar too, though I start with softened butter (not squishy-soft, but pliable). I just cream until the butter and sugar are thoroughly blended - can't be more than a minute. Any more creaming incorporates more air than is needed/desired. Trapped air converts to steam in the baking process and expands as it heats up. As it expands, it pushes the dough up and out, so Kelly is completely right in suggesting that minimizing creaming leads to less spread. 

 

With cakes, it's more important to cream longer, because you want to create a nice fluffy crumb and uniformly aerated cake. With cookies, not so much.

I use cold butter also, it works so much better for my recipe.  I have found that the brand of butter makes a HUGE difference in the need to refrigerate the dough afterward. I recently switched from land of lakes to a store brand, and all of a sudden, my dough was getting really soft and sticky, even with refrigeration, and they started spreading wonky on me.  Switched back to land of lakes, and problem gone.   (whew!).

 

During that time of figuring out why my dough was going wonky, I started rolling my fresh dough between Saran Wrap sheets and putting on cookie sheets into the freezer.  And then cutting/baking from frozen.  It works like a dream.  Nice crisp edges, no spreading or mis shaping at all from transferring to the cookie sheet.  I used to use dough from refrigerated, and it was tough to roll, and by the time it was rolled out, it was softer and although the recipe didn't spread, I would get them a little mis-shapen from taking them off my mat to the cookie sheet.   (I use Lila Loa's vanilla variation recipe)

I chill my dough and roll with roul-pat(a big sil-pat) on the bottom and wax paper on top.  No flour ever used to roll.  I change wax paper when it gets wrinkly.

 

Freeze cut outs directly on cookie sheets covered with parchment and cutouts covered with wax paper while in freezer(I also reuse my parchment and wax paper for the entire process for the day).  By the time I am done rolling, it's time to put the first sheet inthe freezer inthe oven to bake. I bake just a little longer than recipe calls for.  Works great for me, no spreading.  I also use only half of the baking powder called for in recipe.

 

I rarely remember to leave butter out and use cold but cut in chunks and cream with sugar till just blended.

Hi girls,
I read somewhere that you could freeze your cookies already cut before baking them. I think it was on SweetAmbs blog, but I'm not completely sure. She wrote that she rolls the dough, cut the cookies and freeze them. When she needs to decorate some, she pulls the cookies out of the freezer and put them directly in the oven (no thawing). What do you think of this? Could this work with every recipes without a misshapen of the cookie? If you already do this, where do you store them in the freezer? Tupperware? Last question, another possibility could be to freeze baked (but not decorated) cookies? In this case, how much time for thawing before decoration time? This is a huge aspect of my new hobby because of my baby boy... I only have time to decorate during nap time and after he goes to bed at night, so freezing some cookies already cut could save me a huge amount of time! I don't sell them; I just bake for friends and family but of course I want them to be perfect as well.
I really hope this is a new question... If a repetition, I'm really sorry!
Kiss.
Jen.