Bake perfect sugar cookies every time

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