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May 14, 2008
Yesterday, I decided to turn my Midnight Crackles (the recipe is from Baking From My Home to Yours), cookies that you form by rolling balls of dough between your palms then pressing the puffs down lightly on the baking sheet, into roll-out cookies.Â I wanted something flatter than the pillowy buttons the ball-and-press technique gave me and I knew, because the dough was firmish right after it was mixed, and downright hard after it chilled, that it would be a good candidate for roll-out treatment.Â I also knew that I could take a short-cut with the dough: instead of shaping the dough into a disk, chilling the disk and then rolling the dough, I went directly to roll-out without passing GO and without mishap.
Here's what I did: As soon as the dough was mixed, I divided it and
placed each piece of dough between two sheets of wax paper and gently
rolled the dough to the thickness I needed (in this case, the dough was
about 1/8-inch thick). I then slid the "sandwich" onto a cutting board
and chilled the dough for an hour or so until it was very firm. (Since
this dough has a lot of chocolate it in, it firms quickly and
Because the straight-from-the-mixer dough was soft, the rolling was
easy; because the straight-from-the-fridge dough was hard, the cutting
was easy - a happy combination of conditions.
This wasn't the first time I'd used this technique - it's what I do
pretty routinely with shortbread cookies (actually, with sticky
shortbread dough I scoop the dough into a zipper-lock plastic bag, roll
it to fill the bag, chill it, then slit the bag and cut the dough into
squares with a knife - I get the perfect thickness that way), but as I
was rolling and cutting, it occurred to me -- again -- that it's a cool
technique for making fast work of what can be a fussy job.
Tags: Baking from My Home to Yours
| May 14, 2008 1:21 PM
Wouldn't rolling the dough into a cylinder shape, wrapping, chilling and then cutting into appropriate thickness be easier? Just curious.
Thanks,and I so love your book!
| May 14, 2008 1:29 PM
Those are great tips! I'll have to give that a try.
| May 14, 2008 2:58 PM
Very good column today with a technique that is very useful and clever that I will use.
You might be interested that I convinced the Los Angeles Public library to buy a copy of your book "Baking from My Home to Yours" - they now have 17 copies and all but three are out with patrons and one of the copies is in the Popular Library. This will probably encourage more people to buy your book!
Thanks to your book, I have become a better baker and can now read recipes and know when the proportions are just wrong. I just made your cinnamon cake with the chocolate swirl, following your "playing around" spirit, I replaced the milk with cream soured with lemon juice, substituted cake flour for the flour, mixed most of the cinnamon with the flour, a premium American chocolate (S.....) semiweet Chocolate and added no frosting the first time I made it. The result was a very light coffee cake with a fine crumb and perfection. Thanks again.
| May 14, 2008 4:52 PM
I have only been working from your book for about 3 weeks. I have among others made the World Peace cookies. i like the idea of slice and bake. I want to know if any of the other cookie recipes can become slicing refrigerator cookies. Sally
| May 14, 2008 4:54 PM
I also am interested in Shelley's question. How can I tell if a cookie can be made into a roll and slice cookie.
| May 14, 2008 6:07 PM
Shelley -- you ask a good question about shaping the dough into cylinders and making slice-and-bake rather than roll-and-cut-out cookies. It's a possibility, but it's very hard to get very thin and consistently even cookies with the slice-and-bake technique. Slice-and-bake is better suited to cookies that need to be cut thicker.
Along the same lines, Sally asked about what types of cookies could become slice-and-bake. Many drop cookies -- including chocoalte-chip cookies -- are good candidates for slice-and-bake, as are cookies with doughs that are firm right after they're mixed or that become firm when they are chilled. And cookies like the Midnight Crackles or the Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies, which are meant to be rolled into balls and then flattened, can be rolled out or, possibly made into slice-and-bakes.
Because I haven't played around with changing the techniques used with many cookies -- all the recipes were tested using the techniques in the directions -- I can't say for sure what will work perfectly and what won't, but it's a fun area to experiment in.
Shari, I hope you'll play around with the recipes and let us all know how things work.
Mark, thanks so much for telling me that the LA Public Library has so many copies of my book -- that's great. It's also great that you're baking more and more and become better and better. I love that you're experimenting.
Kate Holmes Thompson
| May 14, 2008 6:18 PM
These are a favorite cookie in our house. I'm curious, how do the roll-out cookies fair in terms of snappy / hardness when they are baked and cooled? The original recipe cookies have some softness to them - does that remain with the roll-outs? I think this would be a good cookie flavor for ice cream sandwiches and the roll-out factor would make it a cinch. Thanks!
| May 14, 2008 6:50 PM
Kate - I'm so glad you like the Midnight Crackles. As you suspected, when you roll them out, they have more snap than softness. What's funny is that 2 seconds before I saw your comment, my son and I were saying that the cookies would make fabulous ice cream sandwiches and we were heading to the freezer.
| May 14, 2008 10:58 PM
why don't you roll the soft dough onto the cookie sheet with parchment paper below and wax paper above. when you reached the desired thickness, peel off the top wax paper, stamp out the cookie circles in the dough, remove the scraps of dough from around each cookie and bake the circles remaining on the cookie sheet. this saves transferring the precut, cookies onto the baking sheet and guarrantees perfect circles. then reshape the scraps from the first set, roll back out onto a second parchment sheet and cut a second set. when the scraps get too small, then free form the ball and flatten with your palms. it sure saves alot of transferring, wrapping and prechilling.
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
| May 14, 2008 11:11 PM
Wow -- I've been using the two-sheets-of-parchment rolling out method for several years for my Drop In & Decorate cookies for donation. It's a great way to do production baking -- and with rolling pin bands to help keep the thickness uniform, my cookies all come out the same thickness, and I can stack the sheets in the refrigerator for a day or so before cutting out, so they are well chilled.
| May 15, 2008 9:49 AM
I am glad you played around with this recipe. Rolling out hte dough is a great idea! I am going to try ice cream sandwiches with these cookies!
| May 15, 2008 9:51 AM
I love your blog! I like to come here, there are a lot of interesting recipes! I am working at Burdick Chocolate, our chocolates are luxurious, delicate... if you want to discover our product : burdickchocolate.com.
| May 16, 2008 8:43 AM
That is a very clever short-cut! I must try it!
| May 16, 2008 4:18 PM
I have sort of a piggy back question. I couldn't find a place to ask directly, and since it sort of pertains to something mentioned in this entry, I thought I'd ask here. I just made the brown sugar pecan shortbread cookies, and they spread into flat rounds. A few others have mentioned this same thing happening to them. The suggestion was to freeze the dough once it had been cut and poked with a fork to help keep the shape. Any feedback as to why it happened in the first place? Any and all information is helpful!
| May 17, 2008 10:25 AM
First, let me just say how much I adore your book! My husband gave it to me right after it came out, and I've pretty much baked from it exclusively ever since. The black and white celebration cake is now his permanent birthday cake - he adores it.
Re: this cookies, I definitely have to try this method. I wanted to make them last year for a party, but while the douugh came together beautifully, something odd happened once it was chilled - it hardened so much that it never softened enough to pull off bits to ball into cookies. Very odd. Has that ever happened to you before? In any case, while I personally adore soft cookies, the flavor of this dough as so good that I can't wait to try this method (though if you have any advice for softening too-hard dough, I'd love to hear it!)
| May 22, 2008 1:28 PM
Oh they look so good. I can't wait for my copy of this book to arrive :)
| May 23, 2008 12:08 AM
What a fun idea and they look so perfect! They remind me of TKO's (which I haven't made yet either but will).
| June 21, 2008 4:29 PM
I love your baking book and use it exclusively - thank you! Today, I made several batches of the World Peace cookies for one of the moveon.org bake sales to raise money for Barack Obama - let's hope those delicious cookies actually do contribute to world peace! Thanks for the delicious and clear recipes.
| July 8, 2008 4:14 AM
Thanks Dorie. Just yesterday I was rolling dough between sheets of wax paper. I had chilled the dough first so it was pretty hard rolling it out. I never thought to roll it out first and then chill it.
| November 28, 2008 2:40 PM
Wow! This blog was a true lifesaver! I stumbled upon it this morning, when I was looking for some help with rolled out cookies. I've made them for many years and it's always tough because the dough is soft and sticky. I love the idea of rolling out the dough between sheets of wax paper and then freezing it. That cuts so much time from this labor of love. Thanks for the tip!
| January 4, 2011 1:41 AM
I love this idea! I actually wondered about how to do that while I was making the cookies. I can't wait to try it this way next time. I hope 2011 brings many more wonderful things your way. Best wishes!
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