I want to gather everyone's ideas about cookie cutting. I make rolled sugar cookies all of the time and after years of experimenting, I find that rolling my freshly made dough between 2 pieces of parchment, placing the whole thing on a large cutting board, and either chilling it in the fridge or the freezer for awhile before cutting works the best. The cookie dough will actually lift off of the parchment while still attached in the cutter and I place it on the cookie sheet and then gently punch out the cookie onto the cookie sheet. The result is a perfectly formed and somewhat stiff shape of cookie dough. Then I bake as normal and cool on rack. For most of my cookie cutter shapes this procedure works wonderful but for the really intricate shapes - or maybe even the not so intricate shapes but with cutters that have really narrow spaces, I have such a difficult time achieving a perfectly formed cookie! I have tried numerous methods but many times, small pieces of dough will remain in the corners or small edges. Ugh! So frustrating! What are some suggestions? Help? I'll try anything. In fact, I am making some budded crosses for Easter this weekend and that cutter sometimes poses a problem! And that one is not even that intricate! Help!
what i do:
I roll out cookie dough between to sheets of parchment paper then cut out my cookies leaving them right in the dough. Put the top sheet of parchment back on and put int the fridge for a few hours. When i take the cookie cut dough out its still so the cut cookies pop out. there might be small odd pieces on the cookies but i leave them alone foe now. I then take the cookies and put them in the freezer until frozen through. when you take them out of the freezer you can just rub of the small bits and it wont ruin your cookie, i have also found that freezing them first allows for even baking.
So you roll out the dough and use your cookie cutters while it's still room temperature? Do you use a spatula to lift the chilled cookies off of the parchment? And if it's only chilled dough and not frozen, is it hard to keep the cookie dough from folding or scrunching up when you push the spatula under it? It sounds like a good method! I'll have to try it tonight!
That's happened to me, too. Instead of my fingers, I use a rounded pate knife to push the dough out of the narrow parts of the cookie cutter.
Don't move the cookies off the parchment paper, you bake them in the oven right on it!! That way you never ruin the shape!!
I roll out freshly-made cookie dough. Cut the shapes right away. Put the whole sheet right into the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Take it out of the freezer and reach underneath and POP out the shapes. Really intricate and thin shapes are no problem at all. I take these frozen shapes and put them onto a second cookie sheet and right into the oven.
I explain the whole procedure in my "How to Decorate Cookies" article that's on this site for you.
Since Antonia and Cake-princess were the ones that got me hooked on these cookies I would follow their lead any day. Since I just started doing these last week made my first cutouts...ever. I had a flower cookie cutter that did the exact same thing. After playing around with a few ideas I found my own way of handling them. After rolling out the dough on parchment paper I put mine in the freezer. (Making several sheets of dough and into the freezer.) I only did this when I need to bake more then a few. I had to, hubby and kids kept eating them all. When I take the first sheet out I turn it over onto another sheet that I have dusted with powdered sugar. I dip my cookie cutter into the powdered sugar and press into the dough. I wiggle the cutter just a little to make sure it came away from the rest of the dough. I removed the excess, lifted the sheet of paper and the cutouts fell into my hand. Some times the cookie would stay in the cutter but most of the time it would remain on the sheet. When I peeled the extra dough away from the form I would get a clean cut and there were times I had the tags. I bent some floral wire to make a sculpting type tool that would get into the corners or I would use a tooth pick. I found using a soft paint brush (food use only) worked great to gently brush away the smaller tags. I also used the method Antonia gave. Beautiful, easy to handle and crack free.