10 Best Tips for Baking Cookie Cutouts

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I think I could have been in that commercial.

Remember the one where the mom’s in the kitchen and she dusts her face with flour to fool her family into thinking she has baked for hours, then she hands them a plate of Rice Krispy treats?

Only my family would be on to me because they know Rice Krispy treats aren’t made with flour.

Now I am one busy momma, probably just like you, who likes traditions, especially for the holidays, and sugar cookies are my kid’s favorite.  They get really excited when they see cookie cutters on the kitchen counter. And I must admit, I enjoy making and eating sugar cookies, too!

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Have you ever noticed the clock while making a batch?

They will take up your whole Saturday if you’re not prepared with a few tricks up your sleeve.

Thankfully, these great tried and true tips will help keep baking and frosting time running smoothly and quickly.

1. Start with this recipe for the best tasting sugar cookies ever! They are easily made with one package of sugar cookie mix, an extra cup of flour, half a block of cream cheese, eggs and almond or vanilla extract. The cream cheese and almond extract are key to their amazing flavor.

2. Gather items you need days in advance and place them on a baking sheet ready-to-go once the mood strikes or you find time to bake.

3. To save more prep time, mix the dough the day before, then cover with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap and refrigerate. Work with a small hunk of dough at a time and refrigerate the rest.

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Oh my stars…

4. Pick a simple cookie cutter. I’ve used all shapes and sizes but have found small stars to be the easiest for pressing, baking and frosting. Plus, I can make so many more, which is perfect for gift giving or sharing at gatherings. Elaborate, fancy cutters with narrow grooves are not always easy to work with. So, if you need to save time, stick with simple shapes.

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5. Begin by rolling out a small batch of dough over lightly dusted powdered sugar or flour, then press as many cookies as possible before removing the extra dough away from the edges. Keep each cut as close to the next one as possible.

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My friend rocks. 

6. Speaking of sugar…. my friend Nita shared with me in passing at church the other Sunday to try powdered sugar instead of flour to roll out dough before cutting. Her tip is so much better than blowing the flour dust off.

Just kidding. 🙂

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Here’s another sweet tip…

7. To keep your cutter from sticking to the dough, dip in powdered sugar (or flour) first before pressing. By the way, the thicker the rolled-out dough the more tender the cookie will be.

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Frosting that last umpteenth cookie is so satisfying…

…until you turn to see a big messy kitchen.

Avoid that by keeping things tidy along the way.

8. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. This makes for a nice surface to bake and frost on, along with easy cleanup because you can simply throw the papers away.  Once the cookies are cool, use the same surface to ice and decorate on. Baking sheets with an edge will keep cookie crumbs and decorating sugar in the pan and off the floor. Use a thin metal spatula to move cookies off the sheet. Wipe up spills and crumbs as you work and put things back as you finish with them.

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9. To get all those cookies frosted quickly, stick with white icing and sprinkles. My favorite way to decorate and save time is simple powdered sugar icing and a sprinkle of gold shimmer sugar. So elegant, festive and fast.

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Squeeze on the icing.

10. Purchase small plastic squeeze bottles with a pointed tip from the baking aisles at your craft store. Use the tip of the bottle (or a toothpick) to swirl icing around the cookie quickly. Sprinkle on sugary glitter while icing is wet. Allow frosting to dry completely before moving and storing in an airtight container. Clear gift bags with gold twist ties or lidded tin pans are an easy and fun way to package them. Both are available at crafts  stores. {Check out more icing tips here.}

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Here are the items I usually have on hand before starting to bake.

sugar cookie recipe ingredients here.

icing ingredients here

heavy-duty electric mixer with stand

cookie cutout shapes


large baking pan with an edge

parchment paper sheets (pre-cut are so much easier)

small squeeze bottles for icing

toothpicks for swirling icing (optional)

sprinkles or shimmer sugar

powdered sugar to roll out dough (and for the icing)

gel food coloring (less messy than the liquid and usually comes with color combinations)

gift bags or lidded tins for gift giving and/or storage containers and tags

large, clean counter or working surface area for dough rolling

damp paper towels for quick clean-ups

holiday music playing in the background

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Have fun making your cutouts. They’re not just for Christmas anymore either. Bake them for Valentine’s, Easter and Thanksgiving. Also, fun for baby showers, too. You’ll be the bell of the ball when you show up to any event with a plate of delicious, pretty cookies.

And don’t worry about making them Pinterest perfect either… embrace their cute imperfections and enjoy every bite with someone you love.


1 Comment

  1. nita says:

    I made mine this morning. And now can call cookie baking done for this year…made so many…never used the prepared sugar cookie mix with a few added ideas from Lisa…but think this will be my cookie recipe from now on…thanks Lisa…Merry Christmas…

    Liked by 1 person

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