At Christmas, I received cookies from several people, and was struck by the fact that other people make smaller cookies than I do. I mean the recipes call for ‘walnut-size’ or tablespoon size balls of dough, and that seems to define the cookie size. But, when I go to give cookies away, I can only get a few of that size cookie on a paper plate; other people seem to make smaller cookies and get more on a gift plate.
So I decided that for Valentine Day, I would make smaller cookies. My final plate of cookies that I gave away contained:
Ethel’s Sugar Cookies cutout as hearts and decorated with Royal Icing,
Russian Tea Cakes,
Rocky Road Cookies,
Chocolate filled Bon Bon Cookies,
Lemon Squares, and
If you are interested in the recipes for the various cookies, just click and the recipe should come up in a separate tab for review. Below is a photo of how I decorated the cutout cookies.
The list of cookies (and candy) can be broken into three parts when it comes to making smaller items; the cutout cookies, the drop and molded cookies, and the pan baked cookies (and candy). Each category is a different problem.
For cutout cookies, you are at the mercy of the cookie cutter. Mine was slightly larger than I would have liked. I have some smaller cutters, but I wanted the heart shape and was too impatient to go looking in stores for a smaller one.
For the pan baked cookies, making the smaller size is only a matter of cutting the cookies smaller. I made cuts between 3/4 inches and 1.5 inches, but think probably 1 inch square is the best goal. I do have some thoughts about pan bake cookies; most important is to NOT cut them in the baking pan. That damages the knife blade- dulls it- and scratches the baking pan! I do all my pan baked goods in pans that I have lined with foil with overhang; when they are done cooking and cooled, the foil lifts out easily and you can work on a proper cutting board.
However, where the foil is fitted into the corners of the baking pan, it gets wrinkled, and many times the raw cookie batter will seep into the corner folds and make it very difficult to peel the foil from the cookies. This is especially true with the Magic Cookies; in the future, I would spray the foil to ensure it comes off the cookies easier.
Finally, there are the drop and molded cookies. These are where the work is. I started with the concept that the ‘walnut-size’ or Tablespoon size cookie was the amount of dough I scooped with my #60 scoop- it actually should be a #64, but that is a very small difference. I have a smaller, unmarked scoop, which I have calculated to be about a #120 to #128; that should be 1/2 Tablespoon. I tried using that as a starting point, but felt it was still too big. So I formed into balls the cookie dough using the smaller scoop, and then cut the balls in half. This gave me the size I wanted. That would be about 1.5 teaspoons.
Now I had to do some things to make the cookies right. First, the Bon Bon cookies are normally formed around a chocolate Kiss. I weighed a Kiss, and then chocolate chips and discovered that a Kiss was about equivalent to 11 chips. Since the dough was now about 1/4th of the normal amount of dough, I chose to wrap the Bon Bon around 2 chocolate chips-(maybe I should have used 3). And cooking time with experimentation and errors turns out to be about 2/3 the suggested time for the normal cookie.
For the Rocky Road cookies, I ended up cutting the mini marshmallows in half. All the other drop cookies just needed an adjustment in the cooking time, and all were good using 1/2 the dough from the small scoop.
Now, if you are making smaller cookies, you soon learn that the normal recipe which makes 3 – 4 dozen cookies will make 6 to 8 dozen small cookies. So the second area in which you want to do some changes is probably with the ingredient list of the recipe. In most cases, you will want to cut the amounts in half. If the recipe calls for a single egg, then the trick is to break the egg into a separate bowl and whip it to a scramble, then measure out 2 Tablespoons of the scrambled egg as equivalent to 1/2 an egg.