Cut out cookies or cookie cutter cookies are among the most spectacular and most versatile.
A kaleidoscope of colors and patterns can be achieved by combining different colored doughs, then rolling or layering.
Cut out cookies can be iced and decorated or cut out and filled with boiled sweets or jam.
One of the advantages is that they can be made into any shape or size imaginable.
There are a myriad different cookie cutters now available and it would be rare not to find the right one. However in the event that you can't find the shape you are looking for, you can make your own out of cardboard.
To cut out the cookies simply place the cardboard on the cookie dough, hold it firmly in place and cut out with a pointed knife.
To ensure your cookies always turn out perfectly the following tips and techniques will bring you cookie success:
Most cut out cookie doughs benefit from being chilled in the refrigerator. Place your dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or even longer. This makes rolling out much easier. If you find you have left the dough in the fridge too long, simply leave it at room temperature for about 10 - 15 minutes to allow it to soften before rolling out.
Place the dough on a lightly floured board and roll from the centre towards the edges using short strokes. Be careful not to press too heavily so that you crush the dough.
Roll out to a thickness of 1/8 to ¼ inch turning the dough frequently to prevent it sticking to the board.
Only lightly dust the work surface with flour. After cutting out your shapes brush off any excess flour.
If the dough becomes too sticky to work, return it to the fridge or roll it out between two sheets of baking paper.
When cutting out the dough, place the cookie cutters as close to the edges as possible. Try to get as many cookies as possible from the initial roll.
Gather the scraps and reroll, repeating the above steps. It is important not to reroll more than twice, otherwise your cookies will be tough.
Dip the cookie cutters in flour to prevent them sticking. Press the cookie cutters down firmly, but don't twist as you will distort the shape.
The easiest way to make ring cookies is to cut out the shape on a floured board, transfer the cookie onto the baking tray, then cut out the centre with a smaller cookie cutter.
Alternatively, bake the rounds whole, remove from the oven then cut out the centers while the cookie dough is still warm. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you are wondering what to do with all the leftover cookie dough, then why not make mini cookies from the centers. Kids love them. Simply ice and decorate, or better still, let the kids ice and decorate themselves.
Exotic looking two-tone or multi-colored cookies can be made by combining two or more different colored cookie doughs.
There are several different ways of doing this. The cookie dough can be rolled, cut out or layered together then cut into shapes.
Pinwheels are made this way. Two different colored layers of cookie dough are rolled together to form a log, then sliced.
Another easy method that just looks sensational is to make two-tone cookies. To make these have two different colored doughs. Cut out both colored doughs with your cookie cutters. Cut out the centers with the smaller sized cookie cutters. Swap the centers over, placing each into a different coloured cookie.
Layered cookies are a bit more complicated but look really impressive. Checkerboard cookies are made this way. The different colored doughs are layered then cut into slices. These are not hard, but the extra effort is well worth the spectacular results.
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