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Larry Crowe / AP

Sugar cookies are a favorite choice for holiday baking and decorating. Make sure to let them dry overnight before packaging for gift giving.

Bake perfect sugar cookies every time

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 - 9:16 am

Sugar cookies are a holiday mainstay, but how do you bake perfect treats every time? With Christmas only a week away, there’s no time for mistakes — or burnt cookies.

The editors of Country Woman magazine shared their best tips for great sugar cookies:

• Use a light touch. Over-working the dough will make it tough. Try to handle it as little as possible.

• Chill. Refrigerate the dough before rolling out; it makes for easier handling.

• Don’t get stuck. Prevent the dough from sticking by lightly dusting with flour both the rolling pin and work surface. Be careful; working too much extra flour into the dough will make the cookies tough.

• Start small. Instead of rolling all the dough out at once, roll out in small portions, such as enough to make a dozen cookies. Keep remaining dough in the refrigerator, so it stays chilled.

• Keep it even. Roll the dough from the center out, maintaining a uniform thickness. Use a ruler to check; uneven thickness makes for uneven baking. Thinner cookies will burn before thick ones are done.

• Make clean cuts. Dip your cookie cutters in flour or spray them with nonstick cooking spray to keep dough from sticking.

• Use right tools. Have a large spatula or pancake turner handy to transfer cutout cookies to and from baking sheets. To keep cookies intact, make sure the entire cutout fits on the spatula or turner.

• Keep it simple. Limit your designs and colors while decorating. The job will go faster and results will look (and taste) better.

• Leave time for drying. Let decorated cookies dry overnight before packaging for gift giving or freezing.

For more cookie tips and recipes, click here.

These tips also apply to many other cookie recipes. If looking for a new recipe to try this holiday season, check out The Bee’s own Cookie Corner. Today’s installment features quick and easy Snow Squares, super-thin and almost guilt-free lemon bars. Or try the thin chocolate mint variation. Find that recipe at

Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.

Read more articles by Debbie Arrington

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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Note: The Appetizers blog switched blog platforms in August 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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