Cookie baking and decorating frequently asked questions.
Q: How can I add flavoring to my cookie dough?
A: The easiest way to add flavoring to cookie dough is to add different flavor extracts. Almond, lemon and peppermint are particular favorites for cookies. Adding grated lemon or lime zest also adds rich citrus flavor.
Q: What is the best way to color cookie dough?
A: Icing colors are perfect for coloring cookie dough. Add small amount of color at a time to the dough to reach desired shade. Use a mixer to blend the color well.
Q: What is the best way to prevent cookies from spreading?
A: Grease pan only when recipe recommends. Cool sheets between baking. On warm or humid days - place cookies on sheet and chill a few minutes before baking.
Q: Why do my cookies burn when using non-stick cookie sheets?
A: Cookies will not burn on non-stick sheets when baked according to recipe directions. For dark baking sheets, try lowering the temperature 25 degrees.
Q: What is the easiest way to decorate small cookies with different colored sugars (without running sugar colors together)?
A: Areas of small cookies can be masked with wax paper and then sugared. You can also place the sugars in a disposable decorating bag, cut a small opening in the tip, then fill in the area you need covered.
Q: Why do my cookies stick?
A: Let cookies stand 1-2 minutes or as directed in recipe. As cookies continue to cool they will become firm enough to remove from pan. Transfer to cooling rack. Dark cookie sheets will bake darker than aluminum; turn oven down 25°.
Q: I have trouble using cookie cutters because the dough usually stays in the cutter. What am I doing wrong?
A: Be sure to dip the cutter each time in flour before use. Jiggling or slightly shaking the cutter before you lift it will help the dough release from the cutter.
Q: When baking cookies for ornaments, how do you make a hole to insert a ribbon?
A: When cookie is cut and on the baking sheet prior to baking, cut the hole with a drinking straw. As soon as the cookies are out of the oven, re-cut the hole with the straw again.
Q: How do I get a glossy finish on my cookies?
A: Use Wilton's meringue powder to make royal icing or color flow icing made with Wilton Color Flow Mix. For cookies you can thin the icing to make a hard glaze that can be flowed onto the cookie surface.
Q: What can I do so my spritz cookies don't stick?
A: Use the recipe provided with the cookie press. Do not use non-stick cookie pans to make spritz cookies – the cookies slip off the surface, not releasing. Chill pans - makes dough stick to sheet when pressing out - don't chill dough; it will be too firm to pipe. Distribute cookies evenly around cookie sheet. When using a cookie press - if impressions do not come out distinctly - chill dough for a few minutes.
Q: Can all types of cookie dough be frozen?
A: Yes. The dough should be wrapped in plastic and placed in a resealable bag. Dough can be kept for about 2 months. Meringue cookies and cookies that are iced tend not to freeze well.
Q: My cookies start tasting stale after a few days in the cookie jar. Any way to avoid this?
A: For soft, chewy cookies, put a piece of bread or apple in the cookie jar. Crisp cookies should be stored in an airtight container.
Q: Is there a difference between regular vanilla extract and clear vanilla extract?
A: Regular vanilla extract has a brown tint and will affect the color of some products, especially those that are white or cream colored while clear does not. The flavor of both products is about the same.
Q: Do extracts work just as well as pure flavorings?
A: Both extracts and oils will flavor your product. Pure oil flavorings will have a slightly stronger intensity so you may require less if your recipe calls for extract and you use oil.
Q: When I make cookies with a cookie cutter, I roll the dough out on my floured counter. Sometimes the cookies get distorted when I transfer them to a cookie sheet. Is there a way to avoid this?
A: Try rolling the dough itself out on the cookie sheet, then cutting the cookies and removing the excess dough.
Q: What is the difference between light and dark brown sugar? Does one make chewy cookies?
A: Light brown sugar will make a lighter brown cookie as opposed to a darker color. They will both make chewy cookies.