Wednesday, February 13, 2013

No-Mess Sugar Cookies!!

Since my last post was called "When a Killer is Close By," I thought I would even things out a little bit on this bipolar blog by posting an AWESOME tip I just discovered, especially for all you Pinterest fanatics!

I don't know if I have ever shared this publicly, but I loathe making sugar cookies (and baking in general). Okay, it's not that bad, but I do tend to avoid it at all costs.  Unless I'm baking for my friends, then I love it. ;)

Most of the desserts I make are "no bake" like this Reese's Peanut Butter Pie (Ah-MAZING!), Microwave Caramels (totally addicting), Peanut Butter Bars, Scotcharoos, etc...  What can I say? I love peanut butter and chocolate.

But back to the sugar cookies.

I have pretty much never had a fun experience baking sugar cookies, even before kids.  After kids, it went even more downhill. Give kids a ton of dough with flour flying everywhere, fights over cookie cutters....this was supposed to be FUN?  What was I doing wrong?  It always ended in a huge mess that spanned over 3 rooms in our house.  So much for that idyllic dream pre-motherhood of baking Christmas cookies with my kids. This past Christmas, we got two HUGE cookie pans, slapped that dough right inside, and they each had ONE giant cookie to decorate.  It was bliss.

But back to the sugar cookies.

My boys wanted to make Valentine's Day cookies, and I was desperate - DESPERATE - for it to work this time.  So, on a whim, I tried something new, and it worked!! My entire sugar cookie making experience has just changed for the better, and I don't hate it anymore!

The secret? When rolling your cookie dough, use Parchment paper, NOT FLOUR.

You heard me right, my friends.  No more sweeping up flour that emanates up into your nostrils and all over your hair, and sticks to every surface and becomes like glue (after said cookie-making experience).  This time - TOTALLY CLEAN.

Let's start with the recipe.  My go-to awesome sugar cookie recipe comes from, and has never failed me yet.  How can you go wrong with over 5,000 5-star ratings?

Here is the key: The recipe says to refrigerate dough for at least one hour or overnight.  DO IT.

When your dough is hard as a rock, lay down your parchment paper.  Put a big wad of dough on it, and another piece of parchment paper on top.

Smash it down with your hands a bit to get it going.

Then start rolling with your roller (on top of the parchment paper)- or have your kids do it, to make it your desired thickness.

Carefully peel the parchment paper off the top (leaving the piece on the bottom), and cookie-cutter away.

This part is best if you do it:  take each cookie piece and remove it, and put it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  I did not have one cookie break or fall apart as I was doing this, because the dough was still semi-hard.

We baked them, they came out beautifully, and then we decorated them. The decorating was a little bit of a mess (although manageable and cute), but I'm just dealing with the cookie making part here.

And there you have it, folks, just say no to flour!  No more mess!

This is what our baking area looked like after:

And the cookies - not the best picture ever, but you get the idea:

I hope you find this helpful (some of you awesome bakers probably already knew this trick), and for the rest of you - go make some cookies! :)

Oh, and if you want the best buttercream frosting recipe, go here.

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