So I sat back and asked myself, "Just what do I do to get a flat sugar cookie?" and I came up with a few tips that may help you get that lovely flat decorating surface. If you're having trouble getting a good level cookie surface, or you just wanna do a little light cookie-theory reading, this one's for you!
Leaveners. You might notice that my sugar cookie recipe doesn't use a lot of baking powder (aka, a leavener). Leavener = rise, and you don't want a whole lot of rise out of your cookies. Do you have a tried and true sugar cookie recipe that you love, but the cookies come out a little too domed? Try reducing the leavener (such as baking powder) by a half to a quarter and see what happens. It should definitely help!
Dough, incorporated. Have you ever been rolling out your dough only to find little blobs of butter? They may look small, but they can mean big pains in your cookie baking future. Dough that is not thoroughly mixed will contain bits of unincorporated butter, and when baking, these bits of butter create lots of steam and seep and bubble out of your cookie, creating a misshapen mess along with it. Always mix your dough until these blobs of butter are no longer visible. But not a moment longer, unless you like tough cookies.
Sticky dough. If your dough is too sticky, you may notice that your sugar cookies aren't turning out as flat as you'd like them too. To make sure that your flour measurement is the most accurate it can be for your recipe, weigh the flour using a digital scale. Every baker should own one! As a general rule of thumb, 1 cup of all-purpose flour is around 120 grams. You'd be surprised how much of a difference it can make. Volume measurements are great for liquid, but over and under measuring dry ingredients like flour is easy to fall into. And don't be afraid to use a little flour when rolling out your dough - but not too much! Too much flour = a dry sugar cookie.
Chill out. I like to work with a chilled dough when rolling (not chilled enough that it'll break your arms or rolling pin, but chilled enough that you aren't trying to roll a gooey sticky mess) and I also chill my cookie dough in the freezer after rolling, cutting, and placing on parchment lined cookie sheets. 30 minutes usually does the trick. Some people swear by chilling, and others don't. Personally, I've tried putting my cookies in the oven straight after cutting and placing on cookie sheets, and I didn't end up with a very flat sugar cookie.
Getting rid of a little puffiness. Okay, so you followed all these tips and your cookies still came out of the oven looking a little puffy. If it's not too bad, they can be saved! Grab a plastic fondant smoother and gently press it on your sugar cookies and glide the smoother over their surface while still applying pressure. This trick only works while the cookies are still hot and fresh from the oven, but don't press down too hard - sugar cookies can be fragile things. This should get rid of any puffiness or bubbles.
So in addition to these two amazing orders, there was a real interesting variety this month, in addition to the huge amount of Valentines Day sugar cookies. Those are always fun, too! My favourite are the ones with the roses. I actually made a tutorial for it on YouTube, recently. They are one of those cookies that look a lot more complicated than they actually are. And they remind me of fancy tea china...
25 dozen cupcakes seems to be my comfortable limit for a day. This year, I'm in a different kitchen, so it should be a lot more comfortable this time around! And I've got my handy-dandy rolling rack, so I won't have to fill my kitchen with tables to hold all the cupcakes. I still have just a regular home oven that'll bake no more than two dozen at a time, but hey, who knows what the future will bring.
I've been looking at my kitchen, knowing that it's all mine and that we actually *own* the house we are in, as opposed to renting, and I've been thinking of the things that I could do to it. It could definitely use a facelift. I'll have to do some more research into it, but I honestly have no idea where to start. A kitchen reno seems pretty overwhelming. Have you guys renovated your kitchen before? I don't want to do a huge reno - just a lick of paint on the cabinets/drawers/etc. and some general cosmetic things. I don't want to set the bar too high, ya know? It'd be my first reno, and I don't wanna freak myself out.
Anyways - until next time. What great cookie mysteries do you guys want me to write about?
So, I just started a blog - finally, I guess. I figured there was enough random cookie and baking knowledge in my head over the past few years that I could share it with the world. I set a goal of writing in my blog just once a week, and we'll see how it goes.
I've always loved writing, so I can't imagine it'll be too difficult.
Just to give you a very short blurb about myself, I started cookie decorating about three years ago, now. And like a lot of cookie decorators, I started with things like cakes and cupcakes and whatnot. I still do these things, but I haven't delved into the world of sculpted, fondant covered, multiple tiered cakes. Instead, I decided to jump into decorated sugar cookies. And living in rural Southwestern Ontario, Canada, decorated sugar cookies were definitely an unheard of type of thing... people seemed really intrigued, though!
So I started doing live feeds on Facebook. People were messaging me and commenting, telling me how relaxing it was to watch and that they enjoyed it quite a lot, so I started making edited video tutorials, emphasis on one cookie and design at a time. All of a sudden, Buzzfeed Food got interested and did a video about me. And then a month later, they shared the same video on Tasty, too. I went from almost 200 followers on Instagram in December to 10.7k followers within just a few months. Plus noteable jumps in subscriptions, views, and likes on my YouTube channel, website, and Facebook page. That was definitely an interesting experience!
So now I've got all these new eyes on me, worldwide, so I guess I can't stop decorating sugar cookies, now can I? Honestly. I'm just glad that the eyes are on my cookies and not actually on me, because I'm a shy and quiet person that just keeps to themselves most of the time. That probably sounds mega-cliche, but it's true.
I actually started out apprenticing at a local fine dining restaurant as a teenager (that's where I got my nickname, Kookie, actually), and went from living in a town of 8,000 people for my whole life to living in a city of 2.8 million people - the big smoke of Toronto - while I attended chef school. Definitely a huge change, that's for sure, but I wanted to do something more different than moving to London, a smaller city closer to home, like every other teenager seemed to do at the time.
Much like a lot of other people who attend college in their teenage years, though, I ended up doing something pretty unrelated to my schooling for a living. I've always been an artsy and creative kinda girl, so I picked up polymer clay sculpting one day and stuck at it for eight years under my alias of Monster Kookies. But I was missing home, and after a few years of living in a tiny basement apartment on the Danforth, I decided to move back to my oh-so-small-and-delightful home town.
As well as working part-time at a local candy store making gelato and chocolate (which I loved), I was basically sculpting all day and all night, doing custom orders, and having other folks on the internet ripping off every single one of my ideas. I put every last bit of myself into what I sculpted, and it burnt me right out. And not only that, I ended up losing my job after a tornado destroyed the candy store. It never re-opened.
I put Monster Kookies on the back burner, and eventually got a retail job at another local shop - periodically making chocolate, but mostly scooping ice cream and making lattes. I was definitely missing something. People would come into the store once in awhile and ask us to make a cake - it'd get pawned off on me because I was the creative one, and I was most definitely okay with that. Those were my little happy moments. I decided I needed more of those moments, so I quit to make that happen. And that's how Sweethart Baking Experiment was born.
So here I am, back at the beginning, having a written conversation with my computer and about to hit "POST". My first real blog entry: COMPLETE.