You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Yesterday, my kids celebrated the “100th Day of School.”  So for me, that means cookies!  What better way to celebrate, right?

I made “100” cookies for my daughter’s 1st grade class.  I also took this as an opportunity to try out some new tricks.

When I posted my “Top 14 things I learned in 2011” post, several of you commented about using the “plastic wrap around the icing inside the piping bag” trick.  I will admit that was one I hadn’t tried yet, even though I had seen several serious “cookiers” post they did this.  So, I thought this would be the perfect time to try it out.

For those not familiar with this trick, it’s pretty straight forward.  Just lay out some plastic wrap.  Scoop your icing into the middle of it.  Scoop more than you think.  My first round ended up being a very small piping bag because it holds more than I thought.

Then fold over one side until it grabs onto the other side.

Fold the other side over, then twist the ends in opposite directions to seal it.  Like a piece of candy!

Then just feed one end into the bag and through the coupler.  (I found this to be the most difficult part.  I ended up rolling down the bag to make it easier to get to the coupler).

I even decided to try it with my thick flood icing (20-second). (The above pictures are with this icing).  I find it quite a pain to get it in the squeeze bottles because it’s so thick.  A funnel is always involved.  So I was curious if this would work for that as well.

It worked out great!  I was able to fill the bag with as much icing as would normally fill one large squeeze bottle.

I also found that my icing didn’t separate as quickly as it normally does in a squeeze bottle.  Not sure why.  I’ll have to play around with this more to see if that continues to happen.  (Which would be a good thing, mind you).

The next thing I tried was using dowels to roll out my cookie dough.

I have a confession.  I don’t normally measure the thickness of my dough.  Ever.  I roll it until it “feels” right.  But I have found that my cookies can sometimes be uneven (one cookie thicker than another) and even different thicknesses within one cookie.  Both of those = bad for me.  I’m not a huge fan of the rings on the roller, and I couldn’t track down the dough board that everyone seems to love (ans it’s quite pricey), so I thought I’d start with the $.75 option.  What did I have to lose?  (Other than $.75).

I went with 1/4 inch.  Then I just rolled like I normally do.  Parchment paper, dough (with dowels on either side), more parchment.

After rolling it out for the first time, I realized one very startling thing.  I thought I knew how thick a 1/4 of an inch was, but after seeing my dough REALLY that thickness, I realized I was quite wrong.  It is WAY thicker than I thought.

So I think I’ve been rolling my dough more like an 1/8 of an inch, which after making these at 1/4 of an inch, I now think is too thin.  But, you do get fewer cookies out of a batch (obviously).

(Can you tell my 4th grader is learning fractions?  They are all over the place!)

So if you are currently eyeballing your dough thickness, I recommend spending the $1 and buying to dowels.  Curious if you will be as surprised as I was.

Our school colors are red and blue, but since there are lots of girls in the class, and it’s close to Valentine’s day, I threw in some pink.  Because I made the cookies and I can.

Both of these techniques are ones I will continue to use.  The plastic wrap made things MUCH easier, and the dowels made for nice, thick, even cookies.  Try these if you haven’t before and maybe you’ll add them to your list of tricks, too.

Happy baking!

6 thoughts on “You can teach an old dog new tricks.

  1. Your 100 cookies are bright and happy and I’m sure that all the kids loved them. I’ve used the plastic wrap method before but don’t normally use it. I also have the sizing rings for rolling dough and personally prefer the dowel method when rolling out my cookie dough. I’ve always used 1/4″ dowels as I like (as do my customers) the thicker cookie.

  2. I need to try the icing in plastic wrap method, seems like it would be alot less messy. I have 3 different sets of dowels sticks, 1/8″. 1/4″ and 3/8″…..I’ve been using the sticks for the past 10 years because I’ve been OCD forever and I couldn’t stand every cookie not being the exact same thickness. LOL I did try the rings and hated them and I believe they make a board now that does the same thing, but it’s expensive so I’ll stick with my simple sticks. :-) The 100th day of school cookie is such a fun idea….I miss having kids at home to do things like that for. LOL

    • I’ve only been using the dowels for a few weeks, but I’m really liking them. Cheap. Super easy to work with. And my cookies are the perfect width every time. I need to get some 1/8 inch dowels, because sometimes I do need them a little thinner than the 1/4 inch.

  3. I have and use the bands for my rolling pin, but found using the sticks easier. In lieu of dowels, I found the Home Depot “large” stir sticks for the 5 gal paint pails are 1/4″ and 2 glued together are 1/2″ thick. They are free, but since I wanted 4 of them I was sure to ask first and they said “no problem.”

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