Cookie Cutouts

Fool-proof tips and tricks to make the perfect holiday cookies


Bella Koki, Junior Writer

Burnt bottoms, runny frosting, and barely visible shapes. These are the most common issues people see when it comes to cookie making. This Christmas, retire those failed attempts and create captivating cutout cookies better than any bakery’s.

The first step is recognizing the difference between a regular sugar cookie and a cutout cookie. Sugar cookies are easy to make and are typically just circles. Though similar, sugar cookie dough cannot be used to create cutout cookies. This will lead to a spread out mess with no distinct shape.

Successful cutout cookies focus more closely on the process instead of the ingredients. It is crucial that the dough does not get overmixed. Overmixing can cause the cookies to appear more flat and crispy. 

Throughout these tips, the one step that is recurring and essential to retaining a cookie’s shape is refrigeration. After the dough is complete, it must rest in the fridge for about an hour. Then it can be rolled flat, about ¾ of an inch thick, and returned to the refrigerator. The cold dough is the best way to ensure proper shape as well as easy molding. After the cutouts are made, best done by using cookie cutters, it must go back in the fridge once more. This last refrigeration is what will make or break the shapes when it goes into the oven.

“In combination with proper refrigeration, my family also uses silicon mats so nothing sticks, instead of your regular buttered pan. It makes it much easier to clean and it also keeps the shape more intact,” junior Jacob Barrett said.

It is also important not to overbake the cookies. The cookies end up actually continuing to cook well after they are removed from the heat source.

“I remove them from the oven a few minutes before the suggested time on the recipe because I like to have a perfectly baked cookie, not a tough one,” freshman Claire Vargo said.

Before the decorating process begins, make sure the cookies are completely cooled before icing is put on. Do not confuse icing- a thin consistency that hardens up when dry, with frosting that usually goes cakes. Frosting is too thick, and does not allow for the intricate and pretty designs that royal icing does. To create royal icing there are two ways that it can be done: one is using powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water, or using powdered sugar and egg whites. Both work well, but meringue powder tends to last longer on the counter than the egg white version.

Begin your design by outlining the cookie and slowly filling your way into the center or until desired look is achieved. The icing should be similar to the consistency of shampoo for optimal design capabilities. When using multiple colors, make sure to allow each layer adequate drying time (a couple hours) in between to prevent bleeding colors. And finally, allow the cookies to dry completely before storing them in goodie bags, refrigerator, or on the countertop. These tips will surely guarantee the perfect holiday cookies for any event.