Cookie Tips – Dough Thickness

Using cookies with indented details can be tricky, and there’s no one ‘right’ way to do it, but rather a few different routes you can take, depending on what you want the cookies to turn out like.

When people are having trouble with the cutters, I have a number of recommendations for them, mostly involving the type of dough they’re using, and coating the cutters in flour between each use.  

Some recipes don’t work very well with detailed cookies, just because the recipe is too soft, or too sticky.  I often suggest people try adding small increments of additional flour to the dough till it no longer feels 'sticky', but another way to deal with it when you have a lot of trouble with the cutters, is to just adjust the thickness that you roll the dough to.

The thinner the dough is, the less likely it’ll get stuck.  The trick is getting it thick enough to still get inner impressions, but not too thick as to get stuck.

The cutters are .5in from the cutting edge, to the lip.  The indents are .15in from the cutting edge, so your cookies can be fairly thin and still get some impression.


Decoration Considerations

Another reason one might chose to roll the dough thinner is for decorating reasons.  When the cookies are thicker, the indents are deeper, and the top parts of the cookie surface get more ‘puffy’, and may make it difficult to decorate the cookies.

Here are two cookies made with the same cutter, but with the dough rolled to different thicknesses.  The cookie on the left was rolled thin and came out of the cutter very easily, but the lines are much lighter.  The overall surface is smoother, and this type of cookie is easier to decorate with the Royal Icing flood filling technique.
The cookie below was rolled thicker.  The lines are much easier to see, but the dough is more likely to get stuck in the cutter, and it'll be especially important to coat the cutters really well with flour between every stamping.    The thicker cutter also came out a lot ‘puffier’ in the top areas, which could make decorating more difficult.
I am not someone who tends to put icing on my cookies.  It’s the primary reason I ended up making cookie cutters that 'could do the decorating for me’ – I’m awful with icing.  Just no good at it at all.  So I like the indented details to be deep and easy to see.  I also like puffy cookies, so for me, I usually go through the trouble of coating the cutters in flour between every stamping, and stick with thicker dough.


It’s all down to preferences and what outcome you’re aiming for.