Friday, 27 November 2015

We Tried It! Pillsbury Ready-Made Sugar Cookie Dough

I love sweets, but I have exactly zero willpower. A box of cookies is a very dangerous thing to have on hand, so I don't often put one in the cart as a safety precaution. I also love baking, within reason... I have so little time on my hands with a toddler that a multi-step, chill, roll-cut-repeat sugar cookie just seemed out of the question. Or is it? I've seen tubes of oh so tempting chocolate chip cookie dough in the grocery store refrigerator before, but this week I saw something new - pre-made sugar cookie dough, ready to slice and bake, or cut and decorate with your brood. I love this idea, especially for this time before a helper with patient measuring is an option, so I'm trying it out!

I paid $3.49 for my roll of dough. This article is not sponsored, and this is a true reflection of how I felt baking cookies while my toddler slept and my husband played video games.

I decided to try both styles of preparation to see what worked better. Slice and go seemed straight forward, but the dough is a little crumbly, and maintaining an equal cut wasn't exactly easy. I'm not sure if a bigger knife would have made a difference. Or heating the knife, like you would a spoon for ice cream? I don't know...

I also rolled out half with flour as suggested and cut out shapes with my one Christmasy cutter, a tree shape. This was way harder. The fat component (vegetable oil, I assume) made the dough very greasy when left unchilled for too long. You really need to work quickly - something that would be hard with young children. It also stuck terribly to the counter, so moving the shapes was kinda tricky despite the flour. If you were the kind of baker that had a Silpat baking mat this probably wouldn't be an issue. Then again, if you have a Silpat, you're not often making Pillsbury.

I was a little worried that my well-intentioned sugar ovals would bake inconsistently, but they rounded out nicely and cooked evenly.  Then again, the package really didn't explain how much these babies would expand. I spaced my 24 cookies over 3 baking sheets and they still puffed up to probably 3 times their size. I would suggest a smaller cookie cutter could yield double the cookies with great results.

While the first cookies baked, I decided to create a side experiment; I wondered whether it would be easier to decorate the cookies before or after the baked. Then I realized, I had very little decorating "stuff." I always have chocolate chips in the house (who doesn't?), so I brought those out. Then I remembered I had some gel icing writers and sprinkles left from my son's first birthday cake. Blue and brown aren't exactly "holiday" colours, I suppose, but why not?

The baked-in decorations worked really well and would be better for decorating with really young kids. A small assortment of chocolate, sprinkles, or candies just to give the cookies a bit of personality. It's just beige dough after all. I had more fun with the after cookies though, and I think older kids would too. Making fun icing shapes and intricate patterns. The gel pens worked great for this and with some patience you could get some great detail. A fun idea for a teacher gift, maybe?

Taste-wise, they were pretty darn good. They are not a chewy cookie by any means if that's your thing, not that they are meant to be, and they have a bit of a "store bought" quality to them. I don't think you could fool anyone in to thinking you baked these from scratch, but that's okay. Ironically, I liked them more than my toddler, so I don't know what that says. Largely kids are excited about any kind of cookie. Overall, considering the fun of the Christmas cookie "experience," I think it's pretty great. Quick to the point, fun for a cold afternoon indoors after tobogganing or making a snowman. I give it 4 out of 5.

Have you tried this product before? What do you think? 
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