I have an old recipe of my grandmother's for sugar cookies and I'd love for them to turn out just like hers. However, whenever I try to roll out the dough, I find I either can't get it thin enough, it is too sticky or it ends up tearing. What are the proper tools and techniques I need to roll out sugar cookie dough?
There's a lot of things that can throw off baking recipes --
- Regional variations in flour hardness. 'All purpose' flour from the US South tends to be softer than brands from other areas.
- The humidity and temperature.
- Altitude (affects the boiling point of water, which will require adjusting baking times and possibly leavening agents)
- How you measure your flour -- I'm lazy and use scoop & sweep -- my mom, however, would use spoon and sweep.
- Size of your eggs. Most recipes in the US assume 'Large' eggs unless otherwise specified.
- Type of salt used. Most recipes in the US assume table salt unless otherwise specified.
- How you mix the dough, and how long you mix it.
- How long you rest the dough before rolling out.
In your case, for rolled doughs:
- temperature of the dough. (you want it chilled, but not so cold that it crumbles)
- work surface / rolling pin material (specific to your problem, will affect how much things stick, and how they retain/transfer heat)
The dough and everything with which it comes in contact must be chilled as much as possible. Chill the dough thoroughly. Throw the rolling pin in there, too. Once you take everything out, work quickly so that it doesn't warm up before you're done.
We experimented with a new cookie dough recipe last Christmas and I ended up rolling it into thick sheets and then putting it in the freezer for a while before I finished rolling it out.