Tip 4: Simply put a Silpat down on the counter. Put the parchment on top of the Silpat and ta-da, it sticks! Be careful not to get flour under the Silpat, though, or you’ll have to clean everything thoroughly to get it to stick again.
But I don’t have a Silpat, you say! Simply take a clean dishrag, get it wet, and squeeze the dickens out of it. You want it to be barely damp. Put that down on your counter, and put either your cookie sheet (if you’re not using parchment paper) or your parchment paper on top. The parchment will get a little damp, but it’s not a problem, I promise.
Tip 5: Your dough will spread at least a bit while cooking, especially since this recipe doesn’t require chilling before rolling (and is WAY easier to roll because of that little fact). If you want the pieces to fit together with precision–and that’s pretty important in construction of the real or cookie kind you’ll need to trim the edges. Do this immediately after pulling the cookies out of the oven. Don’t even wait 30 seconds! You need to move very quickly, while the cookies are still very hot! Use your template and a sharp paring knife and trim the excess away.
There’s a great benefit to doing this. The trimmings are the perfect shape for snacking and dunking in milk or coffee! Bags of our trimmings are highly coveted on baking weekend.
Tip 6: Let pieces cool completely before daring to stack any up to save space. Once completely cool, you can stack the pieces three or four high to save counter and cooling rack space. Do not stack higher! If you do, you run the risk of the pieces cementing to each other. If you live in a humid place (I’m talking to you, Paula!) like Florida, I wouldn’t stack more than two pieces high. We learned that one the hard way when we lived in Melbourne, FL. Here in perfect-for-pastry-Phoenix, I could probably push it and stack 6 or 7 high, but I wouldn’t want run the risk. I max out at 4. Besides, if I only stack two or three high, I can fit them in sheet pans and stack those.
Let dry overnight before attempting to assemble the houses.