With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to fire up your oven for homemade Halloween treats.  Decorated cookies are always a favorite this time of year and cute new ideas are popping up on Pinterest every day.  There’s only one problem, remember the last time you attempted homemade sugar cookies?  They bloated to shapes beyond recognition, were too hard or soft, were too thick or thin, crumbled during frosting, and the list goes on.  This time can be different.  Here are tried and true tips straight from our bakery for the perfect rolled sugar cookies.

1.  Chill Out
Chilled dough works best for rolled sugar cookies. Once you’ve mixed your dough, cover and refrigerate it for 2 to 6 hours. Be careful, though; refrigerating dough for too long can dry it out.

2.  Divide and Conquer
Portion your dough out as you roll and cut your cookies. Smaller quantities of dough are easier to manage. In addition to being easier, this tip also keeps your extra dough cool until you’re ready to roll and cut it.

3.  Get on a Roll
Roll your dough anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Thinner dough yields more cookies and can make for faster baking, sometimes crispy cookies. Thicker dough yields fewer cookies with a longer bake time and a softer cookie in the end. An easy way to keep your dough to the desired thickness is with a rolling pin like this that does the measuring for you.

4.  Make a Sandwich
When rolling out your dough, do so between 2 sheets of parchment paper. This keeps the dough from sticking to your rolling pin. A light dusting of flour can do the trick as well, but too much flour can dry out your dough, so be sure to use it sparingly if you go this route.

5.  Line ‘em Up
Use an offset spatula to transfer your cut-outs to a cookie sheet. Place your cookies in rows at least 1 inch apart to allow room for your cookies to expand slightly as they bake.

6.  Go the Extra Mile
After cutting out your shapes, chill them one last time before popping them in the oven. Don’t skip this step! It will help your cookies hold their shape while baking instead of spreading into unrecognizable blobs. We’ve all been there.

7.  Be Patient
After baking, allow your cookies to come to room temperature before decorating. This will prevent melted frosting and crumbled cookies.

You may have a favorite family recipe you like to use for your rolled sugar cookies.  These tricks will come in handy for most all sugar cookie recipes.  However, if you’re looking to change things up, here’s a favorite recipe we recommend for homemade sugar cookies.

RECIPE:  Perfect Rolled Sugar Cookies
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least two hours.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on parchment paper or a floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely before decorating.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles…enjoy!