I've heard lots of people say that actually decorating the cookies is "the fun part" and I agree! Making the dough and the icing are fun for me, but sometimes they can feel like a hassle on the way to "the fun part". Large batch dough making and freezing, is a great way to cut down on time and clean up. Its kind of like meal prepping at the beginning of the week. You make all your meals at one time and do all your clean up at one time so you can eat all week, and not have to do dishes! This method is great for the pro cookie decorator trying to make their process more efficient or for the busy mama who is prepping for her Christmas bake-a-thon. Here's how I prep cookie dough in advance and freeze it to use later.
1 Mix it up
Using my No Spread Cookie Recipe which you can download for free here, I mix all the cookie dough and put it in Ziploc bags until I'm ready to roll it out. I like doing each step all at once, rather than mixing a batch, then rolling and repeating. I only have to clean up each mess once this way. I get out all my ingredients, mix the dough, then put it all away when I'm finished mixing. I'm obsessed with this spatula paddle attachment for my Kitchen Aid. It keeps me from having to constantly scrape down the bowl.
2 Roll It Out
After I've cleaned up the mess from the mixing portion of my day, I set up a dough rolling station, and get busy. I use a silicone rolling mat like this one from Amazon.
Then, I divide each batch of dough (in the Ziplocs) into fourths and roll those fourths in between the baking mat and a piece of pre-cut parchment paper. I like to use cake dowels under my rolling pin to ensure each piece of dough is the same consistency.
Once each piece is rolled, I flip it over and remove the baking mat. Then I place another piece of parchment on the exposed side and put it on the sheet pan. I like to put around 4 sheets of dough to a sheet pan (1 batch of dough).
3 Wrap It Up
The most important step in freezing dough, and keeping it from having a freezer taste is wrapping the pan tightly in plastic wrap so that no air can get in while in the freezer. I like to wrap around the pan width-wise and length-wise to ensure a nice seal. To see how I wrap each pan, and how this entire process comes together, you can check out this video on YouTube.
Cookie Dough will be good in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to use mine within a month, since I'm selling to the public and want to be absolutely sure its fresh. You can re-roll this dough and put it back into the freezer after you've cut shapes from it. I like to re-roll only once. I find that after two rolls, the dough becomes lumpy.
When you're ready to use the dough, pull it out of the freezer 10-15 minutes before cutting, so that it has time to soften a bit, but its still chilled and will maintain those crisp edges. Then, get to the fun part!
If you's like to learn more about cookie decorating, I'd love it if you subscribed to my YouTube channel!