If you want to make some unique, fun-shaped cookies for a special occasion, you don’t have to stick to the regular ‘ole sugar cookie method. You can actually make any shape of cookie using virtually any kind of cookie dough! Here’s my no-fail method of how to cut perfectly shaped cookies into any shape using your favorite cookie recipe! I list out the steps first, and then be sure to check out my tips for how to make sure this process is a complete success. 🙂
Make your cookie dough as you typically would. You don’t need to change anything about your dough for this unless you’re adding M&Ms or sprinkles. If you’re adding either/both of those, I would sprinkle them on after you’ve spread the dough out on the pan. Spread the cookie dough out on a baking pan (make sure the pan has an edge/a lip all the way around – you don’t want to use a cookie pan without a raised edge border) and press it evenly on the pan. You don’t need to worry about making sure the dough reaches all the way to the edge of the pan – it’ll spread out as it bakes.
Bake the dough at what ever temperature you normally would bake that particular cookie dough (probably 350), but add about 4-5 minutes to the bake time. If you would normally bake rolled cookie dough at 350 for 8 minutes, check the dough after baking it for 12-13 minutes. You’ll want the edges a little bit golden brown, and you’ll want to see a little bit of golden brown throughout the dough on the top. You do NOT want to over bake, but you also don’t want really soupy cookie dough!
Allow the dough to cool for about 10 minutes, and then take a cookie cutter and begin cutting the dough. Most of the time the cookie cutter will pick the cookie right up and you can then gently press out the cookie onto a cooling rack.
Repeat until you’ve loaded up your cooling rack and don’t have any more dough left to cut. (These are my Chocolate Chip Texas-Shaped Cookies – YUM and FUN!) You wanna know what makes these cookies extra fun beyond just the shape? You get all these in-betweens! (And we’ve deemed that, since in-betweens aren’t really cookies, they don’t have any calories.)
Allow cookies to completely cool on the cooling rack before you transfer them to a tray or container.
That’s it! Look – you can do this method for so many different kinds of cookies. Here are my strawberry cake mix cookies for Valentine’s Day.
And my game day cookies! Red Velvet Texas A&M Cookies! If you’re not an Aggie (I’m sorry if you’re not – you’re missing out!), you can get a cookie cutter for your alma mater and make them for your team.
And for patriotic occasions (every day?) – Patriotic Cake Mix Lemonade Cookies.
Those yummy, yummy in-betweens. 🙂
And of course, Christmas cookies! Perfect for Santa?!
You really can use this method to make fun-shaped cookies for any occasion! Any holiday (Easter eggs, clovers for St. Patty’s Day, pumpkins for Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving), occasion (maybe like a number 1 for a first birthday party? A football shape for a sports-themed birthday party?), shower (a rattle for a baby shower? A ring-shape for a wedding shower), etc! Get creative! Read these tips before you plan out what you’re going to make:
Thoughts and Tips:
- While you really can make shaped cookies with just about any kind of cookie dough, you’ll want to avoid using this method for brittle or crumbly cookies. Cutting the dough after it’s baked like this is more difficult if you’re making cookies that crumble pretty easily (like shortbread).
- You DO want to allow the dough to cool a little bit before you begin cutting the dough with the cookie cutter, but you want to avoid having it cool completely before you cut them. Once the dough gets too firm, it’s not going to cut quite as easily and there’s more of a chance of your cookies breaking as you’re cutting them. Waiting 10-15 minutes after you pull them out of the oven is perfect.
- You do not want to over-bake or under-bake the dough. Like I mentioned, add about 4-5 minutes of cook time to your regular cookie recipe, but check the dough for the coloring – if you’re seeing a “kiss” of gold on the edges and a little bit all over the top, the pan is probably perfect and ready to come out of the oven!
- If the the cookie isn’t coming up with the cookie cutter, you can cut the cookies with the cutter, pull up the in-betweens, and then remove the shaped cookie from the cookie pan using a spatula. I usually don’t have any issues transferring the cut cookie to the cooling rack using the cookie cutter, though!
- If you’re making cookies that have a lot of chunks in them (large chocolate chips, nuts, candies, etc.), you won’t want to use a cookie cutter that has a lot of detail or narrow sections. For instance, the star cookie cutter (if the star tips are narrow instead of it being a “thick” star) wouldn’t work very well on chocolate chip & pecan oatmeal cookies – it just won’t cut the shape very easily. So, if you’re wanting to make cookies with lots of chunks in them, stick with a cookie cutter that doesn’t have narrow areas.
Have so much fun making cookies to celebrate something or someone! 🙂