February 8, 2012...10:40 pm

5 Tricks for Faster Cookies

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February. Time to exchange those too-small sweaters from Christmas. Time to repurpose the Yankee swap gifts (I always get the short end of that stick). At least I took down the tree, finally. One gift that won’t be going back? My Kuhn Rikon cookie press.

It’s no ipad, I know. But if you love to bake and are results-oriented (i.e., a PITA perfectionist) it is a huge time saver–with a few tweaks you can use your favorite recipe, get professional looking cookies, and cut the time required for the whole operation in half. No more rolling and cutting, which let’s face it, takes forever and makes a giant mess.

Now, I’m not the person with every flashy kitchen gadget. I prefer to stick with the basics, so I’ve been skeptical of these in the past. I’ve found that the dough either doesn’t dispense easily, doesn’t stick to the baking sheet, or worse–it doesn’t produce the flawless cookies that materialize in mere moments when Martha Stewart whips out her cookie press on TV and in moments has a picture-perfect, bakery spread of confections.

Molds, on the other hand, are no good for buttery doughs that spread (and butter cookies are in demand in this house). The cookies won’t hold their shape, and you’re back to the tedious rolling and cutting.

I can blast out two dozen cookies in literally two minutes with the press. AND they look prefect. The first time a tried this, I was amazed. So far I’ve used a recipe for sugar,  butter and Linzer cookies with good results (it’s particularly great for sandwich cookies, since the shapes are uniform).

A few tips that I found through trial and error:

  • First, make sure the cookie dough is room temperature; it won’t dispense evenly if it’s too cold.
  • If you’re using a butter dough that you normally keep very cold, press the cookies and then refrigerate the whole pan afterwards
  • Nonstick cookie sheets can pose a problem; if they are too slick, the dough won’t “stick.” My Calphalon is the one nonstick does seem to work.
  • Airbake type cookie sheets aren’t ideal because the cookies made with the press are small and delicate (they burn quickly on the bottoms).
  • Cookies made with these disks are smaller than my usual cutouts; most bake in fewer than 10 minutes, so keep and eye out and lower the temperature if your oven runs hot.

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