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Icebox Cookie Cutting - How to keep them from crumbling/cracking?

I just made the world peace chocolate cookie recipe. I like the texture of those log-rolled cookies that you freeze or refrigerate before slicing and baking, but they always break apart when I'm slicing them (not just this recipe, although this one does warn you that they crumble). Also, they don't rise much, and so they keep the shape they had from the log, which is not usually very pretty when they are hand-rolled and not from an extruder. Any advice on keeping them from crumbling and keeping them looking nice? Using the crumbs to press into a cookie results in a very different texture, almost like gooey raw cookie dough instead of sandy. Is freezing and slicing better than refrigerating and slicing?

asked by CecilyTechuan almost 2 years ago
6 answers 1061 views
B3038408 42c1 4c18 b002 8441bee13ed3  new years kitchen hlc only

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 2 years ago

Generally, if you let refrigerated cookie dough logs warm up a bit before slicing, it works much better. I'm not sure what is causing the failure to rise. Others here should be able to advise you on that. Perhaps it's just the recipe, i.e., they don't rise for anyone else. ;o)

0970f7ff 0bb3 4d29 a642 5099f83af41f  stringio
added almost 2 years ago

Yup, they don't have a lot of leavener in them, so they don't rise, and that's okay, I'm sure they are meant to be that way. But when I make them for an occasion, I like them to look nice, and I end up shaping their edges by hand to make them pretty. I'll try warming them to room temp next time.

B060878a 30a3 4de6 b178 d626ffef0fe8  img 1470

PieceofLayerCake is a trusted source on baking.

added almost 2 years ago

They seem like sablé in the way that their texture is supposed to be rather short and sandy,. The baking soda is probably not even there for any lift, but to aid in flavor and browning. There are also no eggs, so the dough shouldn't expand or spread much either, also inhibiting rise. The dough should really just maintain the shape that they're formed into before baking. There are some cookies that just provide less presentation that others. You shouldn't need to freeze the dough in order to slice them. I would recommend shaping into a log, chilling it on a soft surface (I've done it with rice before) in order to prevent that dent at the bottom of the log, and wrapping very, very well. The crumbling may be from slight dehydration. They shouldn't need to be frozen unless you're storing long term, in which case I would temper the log in the fridge overnight before baking from a frozen product. After reading the recipe, it does actually state that the dough may crack...so I maintain that this may not be the best cookie to provide a visual wow factor. I'm not even sure I answered your question....

0970f7ff 0bb3 4d29 a642 5099f83af41f  stringio
added almost 2 years ago

Thanks! I love the idea of rice...I've tried the CI method of a cut up paper towel tube without much success, so I'm definitely putting that in my bag of tricks.

I posted the question after making the WP cookies, but I've had this problem with some other cookies of the same type, so I figure it's just the nature of the dough and I'm really just looking for some tweaks or hacks (like the rice) to make it easier to work with.

84baef1b 1614 4c3d a895 e859c9d40bd1  chris in oslo

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

added almost 2 years ago

Have you read the extensive comments on the recipe? https://food52.com/recipes... and https://food52.com/hotline...

Here's what I had to say:
I read all the comments before I made the cookies, so I wasn't surprised when I mixed them up and had a pile of crumbs. I resisted the urge to use more butter or some liquid. Instead, I gathered up the piles into plastic wrap, did what I could to form logs, and put them in the refrigerator. The next day, I gingerly sliced them with a very thin serrated knife (a tomato knife). I managed to keep a lot of them pretty much together, but there were still a lot of pieces, which I did my best to reform into slices. The upshot? They looked just like the picture in the recipe, and even more importantly, they were delicious! I guess that's where the "genius" comes in.

You are right that firmly pressing crumbs together makes for a different cookie. But gently pushing the pieces together works surprisingly well. Others added more fat, and there was also some discussion about various brands of cocoa powder--I disagreed with that discussion, as I had in fact used one of the recommended brands.

0970f7ff 0bb3 4d29 a642 5099f83af41f  stringio
added almost 2 years ago

Thanks! I intended to use the WP cookies as an example, since I've had this problem with other cookies too. I didn't read down far enough in the comments to see the discussion until you directed me to it.

I also noticed the reduction of the brown sugar (my copy shows 180g instead of 120g) and I baked by weight so perhaps that affected it.

Ones that simply cracked in halves or thirds were easy to push together but I ended up w/ a mound of literal crumbs that equated to at least 6 cookies (double batch).

I will keep the serrated knife idea in mind; that seems ideal for these with the added challenge of keeping the chocolate chips in the cookie.