If I wanted to learn to sew I would need, at the very least, a decent sewing machine, thread, and some needles.
But I have a hankering to learn cookie decorating so I obviously need cookie decorating supplies. And since I am aiming to become a cookie decorator extraordinaire one day as opposed to just wading through it in a half-ass way it makes sense to own the proper cookie decorating supplies.
A cookie decorating toolbox so to speak.
Thankfully this is one area where I’m one step ahead of the game. Hidden among an array of cupcake tins, cake pans in all shapes and sizes, and a collection of assorted-size mixing bowls, my kitchen cabinets hold all the basic cookie decorating supplies that I need to make cookie dough and bake cookies.
Once I have that down to a science I’ll worry about the supplies I need to start learning the decorating process.
Below is a list of basic supplies as well as a few other tools that are nice to have.
Measuring cups: Both dry and liquid measuring cups. Contrary to what some may believe, you can not accurately measure liquids in a dry measuring cup so if you have a burning desire to do any type of baking you’ll need to go ahead and splurge on a liquid measuring cup. I promise it won’t break the bank.
Stand Mixer: This is by far the biggest investment but worth its weight in gold. An electric hand mixer is an alternative but using one does take a bit longer and may require a little muscle for a thick dough.
Damp dish towel/tea towel: This is one of those nice-to-have items. Whether I’m making bread dough, a cookie dough, or any type of batter, I always put the towel over my mixer bowl to avoid being covered in flour. I learned that the hard way and it wasn’t pretty.
A pastry board/large cutting board: I’ve got a marble pastry board but to be perfectly honest the island in my kitchen is where I usually end up rolling out dough. Don’t get me wrong – I love the marble pastry board because it’s big and it keeps dough chilled. But it’s also heavy as hell and most of the time I just can’t be bothered hauling it out of the cabinet it resides in. Call me lazy.
Rolling Pin: My silicone rolling-pin is just adorable and it’s easier to clean than my wooden pin. Dough doesn’t stick to it as much as it does to my wooden pin so I use a lot less flour. That’s a good thing. It’s also perfectly weighted and it takes almost no muscle power to roll out dough.
Perfection Strips or silicone rolling-pin dough spacers: Rolling dough to an even consistency can be a task to say the least. A couple of years ago I read about Perfection Strips and silicone rolling-pin dough spacers and bought both immediately. They take the guesswork out completely and I love using them for rolling out all kinds of things.
I do find the Perfection Strips easier to use but it’s a matter of opinion. I just lay them down on parchment paper, on either side of the dough, top the dough with another piece of parchment paper, and roll away. Once the rolling-pin is at an even height with the Perfection Strips, the dough is exactly the thickness I want.
How cool is that? Whoever invented them is a genius.
Perfection Strips come in three thicknesses – 1/16″, 1/8″, and 1/4″. I usually roll all of my cookie dough to 1/4″ thickness so they’re perfect.
If I wanted my dough just a bit thicker, I could use both the 1/8″ and the 1/4″ strips at the same time by holding them together with a rubber band at each end.
The only drawback is that they are not marked. It’s not a big deal though. I marked them myself using a permanent marker, and a piece of masking tape on the black strip.
The rolling-pin dough spacers serve the same purpose and come in four thicknesses. You just slip one on at each end of the rolling-pin and roll out the dough until the spacers are at the same height as the dough. It really doesn’t get much simpler.
Bench Scraper: Either metal or plastic, a bench scraper is great for cutting dough.
Cookie Spatula: Something thin and flexible. Mine is small and silicone. Nothing sticks to it.
Parchment Paper: This is a no-brainer. I wouldn’t bake cookies without using either parchment, a Silpat or similar silicone baking mat. Nothing sticks, cookies are easy to remove from the pan, and cleanup is a breeze. I reuse my parchment two or three times when I’m baking a few dozen cookies on any given day.
Cooling Racks: Having a few of them makes life easier.
Sheet Pans: One of the most useful kitchen tools I own believe it or not. I use my sheet pans for baking cookies, roasting vegetables, and for a whole host of things.
I use half sheet pans (as opposed to full-size sheet pans which don’t fit in a standard home oven) and I only buy heavy-duty sheet pans. They don’t warp in the oven. If you own cheap cookie sheets or sheet pans you’re familiar with the annoying sound of “the warp”.
You know precisely when it happens. You’re minding your business when all of a sudden you hear a little gun shot go off in your oven. Yup, that’s the warp and now one end of your pan is sitting precariously an inch or two above the other end and your food is sliding towards the oven floor. I personally am not fond of gun shots or warped pans so I don’t waste my money on cheap sheet pans. It’s a matter of personal opinion.
The Nordic Ware pans are my favorite.
A kitchen scale: I always weigh my flour and just love, love, love my digital Oxo scale.
Fine Mesh Sieve or a Sifter: No preference here. Whichever I grab out of the cabinet on any given day, I use to sift flour or confectioner’s sugar. I do prefer the type of sifter in this picture over the “crank” type though. I find those to be a total pain in the ass and I usually need a nap by the time I’m done sifting. Mine went in the garbage years ago.
Cookie cutters: If you read my last post admitting the lack of organization I have with my cookie cutters, you already know I have an unexplained infatuation with them.
Air tight storage containers: These are great for freezing baked goods and I have a number of them.
Plastic Wrap or resealable plastic bags: To keep the air out of fresh-baked cookies, cakes, biscotti and more; especially if you are going to freeze them. Some people layer cookies in the plastic bags, between layers of wax paper or parchment. I prefer to layer first and then completely enclose in plastic wrap, before putting them into a container. I hardly ever use plastic bags for cookies. Again, a matter of opinion. It’s what works best for me.
So there you have it. Fascinating reading that you haven’t been able to get enough of. Now that I have that off my chest I can move on to making and baking the “perfect” cookie.
My cookie decorating education is under way.