Friday, September 16, 2016

Cookies Shortcut

Have you ever seen break apart cookie dough and wondered if you can do it from scratch?

I did and am so glad I didn't have to pull out my rolling pin for all the cookies I made!

What you need:
a square or rectangle pan that is smaller than your freezer bags
parchment or wax paper
your favorite cookie dough**

I made my friend's mom's spicy molasses cookie dough. I picked this one b/c the recipe is for A LOT of cookies! I always forget to half it until I get to the flour and go "that's a lot of flour...oh yeah - this is their Christmas Plate cookie recipe and it makes 12 dozen (albeit small, thin) cookies." I made this recipe so that I could try out a few options. The one thing that I did not try out is cutting and cooking them immediately - the spices need to meld with the dough.

So anyway, I lined my small aluminum baking pan with waxed paper (I'm out of parchment) and pressed 1/8 (by weight) of the dough evenly into the pan which gave me about a 1/4" sheet of dough.

Then I experimented a bit:

Option 1: the dough sheet

I pulled out the waxed paper and dough, wrapped it up and put it in the gallon sized freezer bag. When I took them out to bake, cutting the cold dough cracked it a little bit. It is a dry dough though - same thing happens when I roll out the cookies.

Option 2:  pre-scoring the cookies

I pulled the dough sheet and waxed paper out of the pan, cut about 3/4 thru the dough, wrapped it up and put it in my gallon sized freezer bag. This way actually worked out better - the squares pretty much broke apart without much chipping and cracking or crumbs.

Storage Option A: Fridge

The store bought ones come refrigerated and my rolled dough recipes all include chilling 4+ hours in the fridge. This option went as expected.

Storage Option B: Freezer (cook straight from freezer)

This also went as expected - longer cooking time, a bit undercooked in the center.

Storage Option C: Freezer (thaw and cook)

The only problem with this option is that I did this in the humid summer of Virginia - I set it out to thaw and there was a lot of condensation so the dough was a bit soggy... oh well... It will be fine to do in the winter when it'd dryer or maybe put in a towel into the freezer bag to collect the dampness - I'm up for other suggestions!

**Note - this works better for a dryer cookie dough. I did try it with the Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe and it was more difficult to push into the paper-lined pan, broke when I cut it and stuck to the paper. However, I have now looked up how to make shaped chocolate chip cookies and will be trying these recipes:

1.  use less or no leavener (baking soda or baking powder) so it won't spread as much. They will rise a bit anyway because of the egg. I'm not sure that's helpful here as it still has a wet dough.

2. cut down on the liquids (1.5 sticks butter instead of 2, 1 egg instead of 2) and reduce the leavener (3/4 tsp baking soda instead of 1 tsp, no baking powder) (

3. experiment with your own recipe!

My Funny Square Cookies!