Many years ago my roommate and I had a tradition to bake and decorate sugar cookies for Easter. It was an all day affair that we both enjoyed and the results were well worth it. Since those days I haven't found anyone who will willingly tackle sugar cookies with me. Actually I did rope my sister and crafty friend Karen into sugar cookies once (maybe twice), but now 'sugar cookies' is a dirty word to them. I can't say I blame them for their distance, it can be a lot of work and a lot of mess.
This year after discovering a long forgotten giant Easter bunny cookie cutter (from Martha by Mail?) in my cookie cutter stash, I decided I had to make sugar cookies for Easter. I also used this opportunity to try out some of Martha's sugar cookie tips and tricks. I have to say her tips were very useful and made the overall task a lot more enjoyable and easier. Her tips and a few of my own are listed below:
Tip #1 - Make the dough the day before, it makes the overall task seem like less work.
Tip #2 - Don't attempt icing the cookies on a work night. Start fresh in the morning.
Tip #3 (from Martha) - Roll out your dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. This eliminates the need for bench flour. This has three positive effects: (1) your cookies will taste much better without the excess flour (2) it is a lot less messy and (3) it is much easier to manuvier your rolled out dough . This tip worked really well for me.
Tip #4 (from Martha) - After you have rolled your dough to the desired thickness, place on silpat and then cut out your shapes. This eliminates the need to transfer your raw cookie shapes and the risk of deformity.
Tip #5 - If you have cut out large cookies, let cool on the cookie sheet until firm. Make sure to carefully loosen under the large cookie before it cools. This will eliminate possible breakage why you try to manuavier the still soft cookie.
Tip #6 (from Martha) - Use squeeze bottles to ice your cookies. This was the first time I tried the squeeze bottle method and I was very pleased. The icing stayed usable all day long in the bottles (I was shocked) and it was a lot less messy. Also the bottles were easy for the boys to use, so they could get in on the action without me hovering over them. Admittedly they weren't great for fine detail, but I didn't have much need for that.
The first giant bunny that came out of the oven broke when transferring it to a cooling rack. The boys and I had fun decorating it anyway.