Monday, July 29, 2013

Doughboard How-To


Since I accidentally preheated my cookie doughboard to 350°, I decided to share my secret for perfect cookie dough thickness (as it pertains to decorated sugar/shortbread cookies)!
When I started making decorated cookies, I hated having inconsistency with the thickness of my dough and no rolling pin have me the thickness I wanted.  Not being one to be satisfied when I know there must be a solution, I found a board online with adjustable sides. It was expensive and we were poor! That is where having a handy (very cute) husband, comes in. He came up with this very inexpensive, fabulous solution. I don't think we used a really good board the first time around but it worked for my purposes then. We've made several since then for various reasons and have found we like a hardwood with little or no odor, few knots and blemishes. I go to the shelving section to find them wrapped in plastic like the picture below.

You will need:
- ONE - 3/4 in X 16 in X 48 Stain Grade hardwood board with few blemishes.
- 3/4" X 18 (thickness) wire brads or finishing nails
- TWO 3/8" square dowels (Poplar wood)
- 320 grit sandpaper
- A handsaw with miter box makes cutting dowels easy.
- Crisco

1. Selecting the board is critical. You want a hardwood (no sap or strong smell like pine). Lay it on the concrete floor of your store to check for any warping. Don't worry about the stares from others. It's worth it to get a perfect board! Once you've found a perfectly flat board have it cut in half. I usually get the nice man at the hardware store to cut my board in half so I have 2 a 16" X 24" boards. The one I cooked today was my spare. :-/

2. Check each side of both boards to find the one with the least flaws. Pick your favorite side. 

3. Measure your dowels and cut them. NOTE: My boards are never the same length on each side. I like the dowels to fit exactly so I cut each one for its particular side. It might not matter to you if it's perfect but I care. I cut the colored ends off too. They're ugly.

4. Sand your board and the dowels very well with a superfine grit. I like 320. Wipe down with a barely damp paper towel to check for snags and wipe away dust. Sand and wipe down again as needed to achieve perfectly smooth surfaces and edges. When you're satisfied, wipe clean with a dry paper towel. Wipe clean again. Yes, again. While you're wiping, go ahead and wipe off the surface you are working on too.

5. After your board is smooth and completely free of dust, WASH YOUR HANDS. You're gonna get messy!

6. Now the fun part! Get yourself a nice, greasy dollop of lard. You know you want to. It's fun!

Rub down the top side ONLY of your board with Crisco just like you are greasing a casserole dish. It should easily spread to cover the board but not be goopy. Wipe off any excess Crisco with a clean, dry paper towel. Wipe it again. Go wash your greasy hands! Wipe down the board one more time. 

7. Attach the dowels. Start in the center then nail the ends and finally place 2 more so all 5 are evenly spaced. Be very careful to keep it flush with the sides and ends of the board as you go.  I don't like to get out the drill and do pilot holes but you can if you want. If you don't, hammer carefully lest you end up splitting your dowel like I did. 
This is especially frustrating if you were prideful and only bought 2 dowels because you believe you have mad hammer skills. 

8. If you can't get the nail heads all the way flush, use an awl or another nail to lightly tap it in using your hammer.
You could come back with wood putty if you don't like looking at the nails but I like them! And I don't have time for all that. 

9. Give your boards one more good wipe down with a dry, clean paper towel just in case you missed some Crisco. Trust me.

Beautiful! Crisco does a great job of sealing the board and bringing out the loveliness of the wood grain. See, Crisco is still good for something! (It also makes a mean buttermilk biscuit!)

Now you're ready to make cookies! Your board will require a little extra flouring until it gets a good coating on it. I'm usually happy with mine in a month or so.  It really depends on how much you use it. 

There is no need to put Crisco on the rest of the board. It attracts lint/dust and leaves greasy spots wherever you put it. Store it in a cool dry place away from pets. Dogs and Cats LOVE Crisco and the lovely residue of cookie dough that seasons the board! (Experience talking here!)

Finally, If you decide to store your board in the oven to keep it safe, check before preheating. 

I almost forgot the rolling pin! Get yourself a fat dowel rod like this one and cut in half. You might need to sand the ends! That's it.

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