Could some of you cookie gurus out there tell me how you get your cookie looking good using a template. When I cut around the template the cookie has ragged edges. I use an Exacto knife to cut out the cookies so it is certainly sharp enough. I don't like the look of the baked cookie, I much prefer the sharp edges you get with a cutter, but there are cookies I want to make that I don't have cutters for and I can't be bothered to get my flashing out to make my own cutters for just a few cookies.
I have the same problem, so what I do is after it is on the baking sheet but before I pop them in the freezer for a few minutes, I just take my index finger with a small coating of butter or crisco on it and smooth around the ragged edge. On bigger size cookies w/o a lot of curves, I use my pizza wheel and then don't get the ragged edge. I can't use the wheel on small cookies with lots of twists and turns. Hope this helps and good luck.
Pizza wheel sounds like a good idea, shame the cookies I am making now are too small for my wheel. I need a smooth version of my pastry wheel, that would be a perfect size.
I meant to ask in my original post if anybody had tried to cut around the cookies when the dough was chilled or even frozen. Mine was room temperature after having been rolled out so was not sure if that was the problem.
fiskars makes a small rotary cutter (originally intended for sewing) that i bought for cutting out smaller/finer shapes in fondant and chocolate clay. i bet it would work for cookie dough if chilled and could accomplish some of those tighter corners. that said, i have NOT tried it...yet
i have not had good luck with knives because the edges never seem to bake up straight (like with a cutter) even though they look straight in raw form....grrrrr.
Try using fine sandpaper or an emory board to file the sides after baking and cooling.
Thanks for all the replies everyone. I have another batch to do tomorrow so I will try some of the new tricks and see how I go.
i use templates for almost all my cookies. i try to use the dough right from the fridge. you get the best eddges then. it warms up pretty fast. after several cookies, it does get that ragged edge. by then the cookie is warm enough that if you just push it down with your fingers it usually stays. and i use just a very sharp knife. i would imagine a wheel couldn't get into some of the finer areas to cut out. good luck
I am right there with Kneadacookie! Very, very rarely do I do designs from pre-existing cutters, so I make my own cutters or templates, depending on how many cookies I need.
It is basically the same as Dawn, but here is what I do from start to finish: I figure out my image (sketch it, use clip art, use an actual pic to trace around, etc). I then enlarge or reduce it to the size I want. Trace your image onto template plastic, which you can find in the quilting section at Joannes (use the lighter weight of the two you will see). Cut it out and place it on top of your rolled out dough. The big trick is to make sure that your dough is well chilled. As Dawn said, this is key! Use a fine, sharp thin knife with as small a blade as possible (I prefer use a fine tip Exact-O) and cut around the template. If they start getting jagged, pop your dough back in the fridge. To salvage the ones that are jagged, pop the sheet back in the oven so they aren't too soft to pick up and just smooth/tap down the edges with the edge of your finger. Once they are all cut out, pop them back into the fridge so they will be well chilled before baking to help keep their shape. Wash off your template and store until the next time you need it! Basically the same thing Dawn does, but I thought I'd throw in where I get my templates.
I have had great luck with clipart and my laminator! Adjust the size of the clipart slightly smaller than you want the finished cookie to be. Laminate, then cut out a little outside the clipart (this will give you the desired size). roll out dough, chill, cut with sharp knife.
I totally agree with kneadacookie and Tracy - I find that if the dough is very, very well chilled they cut much better. I searched and searched for a small, sharp knife to use. And after re-rolling my dough, I put it back in the fridge for a few more hours (as opposed to 15-20 minutes with cutters) before doing the next batch. I also "smooth" down my edges with my fingers as soon as I've cut the cookie.