No doubt, if you have ever made even one batch of cookies, you have realized that it is not an exact science. From the humidity to the ovens to what temperature your butter is- there is so much that can go wrong! We are going to cover the 7 biggest mistakes that new cookiers make and how to avoid these pitfalls.
New to Sugar Cookies? Read these 7 Mistakes.
A sugar cookie decorator’s worst nightmare is spreading. I was even scared to type the word in fear I would jinx myself. You might think that spreading isn’t so bad if your cookies taste good but the last thing you want is your heart-shaped wedding favors to look like blobs because nothing says “congrats on the wedding” like a bulbous plop of dough trying to pass as a heart. So, find a no-spread recipe or eliminate baking powder from your recipe which is known to cause spread.
2. Uneven Cookies
You finally found a recipe that doesn’t spread BUT you cannot seem to roll your dough out with the same thickness. When cutting your dough, make sure to have a rolling pin that is going to work for you and not against you. You want your cookies to come out of the oven firm on the outside and a little soft on the inside and a good rolling pin will make this possible.
You want your cookies to come out of the oven firm
There are some awesome rolling pins out there with set guides on the side that make sure you have the same size cookie thickness every time. Don’t have time to order one? Grab two books that are the same size and put them on the sides of your dough before you roll it out. Doing this will make sure your rolling pin doesn’t go too hard on one side and will keep your cookies even.
3. Overmixed Icing
In this episode, Attentive founder and CTO Pedro Araújo talks about what it takes You think you are doing fine until your cookie icing never seems to dry. This could because the icing is overmixed and brought too much air into your mixture. This will end up with a sponge-like texture that will always seem wet (and there isn’t much you can do to fix it besides scraping it off and starting it all over). So, use your mixer on the lowest setting or even use a spatula to mix your icing and fold in the color instead of stirring. This will help keep your icing from a spongy disaster.
4. Not Mixing in the Color all the Way
One of those most fun things about decorating cookies is being able to choose fun colors for your icing. Do you know how we just talked about mixing your icing too much? Well, you can also not mix your color in enough causing weird streaks when your icing dries. So make sure your icing is well mixed and that the color is throughout the entire bowl of icing before you bag it.
5. Air Bubbles will Burst your Bubble
Air bubbles seem to be something you can never fully get rid of but there are ways to cut down on these dreadful lumps in your icing. Using a paddle instead of a whisk will help with bringing less air into your icing mixture. Also, using your mixer on the lowest setting will also have your future self thanking you because it doesn’t allow air to get trapped under the folds of your icing so easily. Another way to eliminate bubbles in your icing is to let your icing sit for a bit after you mix it. You will then take a spatula and comb it across the top layer of your icing and pop all those bubbles before bagging your icing. Lastly, when you bag your icing, twist the end of your bag and hold it firmly in your hand and swing it over your head like a helicopter. You will absolutely look insane, but it will also bring the bubbles away from the tip of your bag and eliminate bubbles on your cookies. What’s looking a little insane if you aren’t going insane over bubbles!
6. Not Sifting through your Powdered Sugar
I am guilty of not always sifting my powdered sugar and I always get mad at myself. Sifting your sugar will help eliminate lumps in your icing that can clog your tips and icing bags. Sometimes the lumps are too big and you have to cut open your bags and rebag (which is a total bummer) so don’t be me and definitely always sift your powdered sugar. Your future self will thank you!
7. Using Icing That is too Stiff
Icing that is too stiff will not make you happy if you are going for a flooding consistency. When you have an icing that is too stiff, you will have a heard time create that level icing look you see on so many sugar cookies. It will also leave a ton of cracks and spaces in your icing that will have you pulling your hair out. So, make sure your icing has enough water. I always try to get my flooding icing to look like honey coming off the spatula (think long ribbons of icing that flows back into itself).
I have made each and every one of these mistakes and that is why I can tell you what to avoid and how to avoid it. Need a bit more practice on making cookies and using icing? Sign up for one of our classes!