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A simple cookie dough that won't spread?

I'm looking for a basic refrigerator dough that lends itself to variations but that will not spread (or at least not very much).

I'd like something I could roll out not too thinly (maybe 3/8"-1/2") and cut with decorative cutters. I'll be covering them with a mock fondant and decorating them. Ideally, I'd like to divide the recipe (or make several batches of it) and use different flavored extracts. Thanks if you can help.

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  1. Make sugar cookies. They don't spread. You can drop them, roll and cut, freeze and slice. No spreading. Foolproof. Stands up to all sorts of frosting and confection.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sal Vanilla

      Thank you, sal. I *knew* not to use a butter cookie recipe, but I honestly couldn't remember about sugar cookies. (Obviously, I don't make cookies often.)

    2. I agree with the sugar cookie suggestion and would also suggest an overnight stay in the fridge instead of the suggested minimum of 3 hours.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Velda Mae

        That's a good suggestion, Velda Mae. I will make it a point to do that.

      2. I will preface this by saying that I never bake! I cook a lot, but don't bake. But I do have to make about 3 dozen cookies this weekend using my dreidel and menorah cookie cutters.

        Seems like sugar cookies will be the way to go, but can anyone provide a fool-proof recipe? Thanks.

        5 Replies
        1. re: valerie

          No-Fail Sugar Cookies

          6 cups flour
          3 tsp. baking powder
          2 cups butter
          2 cups sugar
          2 eggs
          2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring
          1 tsp. salt

          1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.

          2. Chill for 1 to 2 hours (or see Hint below)

          3. Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. This recipe can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies.

          4. HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess -- Rather than wait for your cookie dough to chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop it into the refrigerator. Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all. By the time you are finished, the first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut. Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process! An added bonus is that you are not adding any additional flour to your cookies.

          1. re: lstormont

            Great, thanks! Now I better get a rolling pin...

            1. re: valerie

              Istormont's suggestion to chill the dough after rolling is a good one, especially because it'll help make it easy to cut something like a menorah, which has a lot of pieces that are prone to stretching or breaking. I'd also suggest giving the cookies 5 or 10 minutes in the fridge or freezer after you cut the shapes to make sure the fat stays cold, which will help keep the cookies from spreading too quickly when you bake them. I know how long this process feels and what a pain it can be if you, like me, have a smallish fridge, but it is worth the extra step, especially with shapes like dreidels and menorahs. Happy Chanukah!

              1. re: Velda Mae

                When it's 29 degrees out, a back porch is handy for the overload.

                1. re: yayadave

                  I've actually cut them and then layered the cutouts on sheets of parchment in containers in the freezer, and baked them from frozen. Not holiday cutouts, just simple circles :) But, when you need fresh baked cookies in a hurry.....

                  I'm also lucky to have an extra freezer so I can do this. You can halve the recipe.

        2. You might also want to roll your dough on parchment or even foil. That way, you can cut your delicate shapes, remove the scraps from around them, and just transfer the parchment or foil to the baking sheet. With delicate shapes, transferring them individually to a baking sheet will inevitably screw them up.

          And I like Martha Stewart's sugar cookie recipe - you'll find it on her website.

          1. My 2 cents - invest in a silicon sheet or two. As mentioned already, you can roll out dough on silicon sheet, bake in oven, doesn't stick. Have had mine (3 of them) for about 8-10 years. They wash up great and I love them for cookies, candies, meringues and other stuff prone to sticking. You can buy them at BB&B, other places or order from web.