Here's a little project I am pulling out of the archives. I made these fancy cookies some time ago, but was reminded of them recently by way of a request to make more, since Valentine's Day is right around the corner. When I originally dreamed these up, someone had asked me to make.... oh.... any old cookie with some kind of Valentine theme, for an event at my local art gallery. I had several heart shaped cookie cutters, and debated using them adorned with some girly touches in pink and white. But that seemed too expected. Something with roses on them, perhaps? .... same ol' same ol'. Well, finally I imagined this chocolate-dipped strawberry cookie, and it seemed to have the right of degree of difficulty. (What do I always say? "Expect complications!")
First things first.... the dough. When doing cutouts, it's necessary to use a dough recipe that will keep its shape during baking. Some cookies end up swelling so much that you barely recognize the intended shape. The dough recipe I've used for a few years now is not my own concoction. I admit I found it online, and it works so well that I need to search no further. It keeps its shape very well during baking, and it also tastes great! Since I scribbled down the recipe years ago, I can't recall the source. I don't make any claims of creating this recipe, and wish I could give credit where it's due. Sorry about that.
Once you've conquered the dough recipe (which is listed at the end of this post), the cutting and baking is very standard. Just keep the dough chilled, returning it to the fridge when necessary, and after rolling and cutting out, put the tray of unbaked cookies back in the fridge for an additional 20-30 minutes to rechill them before popping the cookies into the oven. This also helps them keep their shape while baking.
*Helpful tip* To get even dough thickness when rolling it out, use something raised on each side of the dough for your rolling pin to rest on. I use square wooden dowel pieces. These are available in a variety of sizes from home improvement stores, as well as most hobby shops. I lay out parchment paper first, then the wooden sticks, with the dough in between, and top it off with more parchment. For smaller cookies, I roll out the dough to about a quarter of an inch thickness. Larger cookies, or ones baked on sticks, should be about 5/16" to 3/8". That's about what I've opted for here.