Hi, everyone! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if gingerbread is the only cookie dough that can be used for 3-D projects. Or why some doughs crack and spread, and others don’t, when baked over curved surfaces or molds. And so . . . I decided to create this video to answer these questions definitively, once and for all! This video is less demonstration and more lecture, controlled experiments, and food science, so I encourage you to get comfy, get rid of any distractions, and take out a notebook or laptop to record key points along the way. In other words, this video requires more concentration than usual!

In it, I examine both the recipe- and process-related variables that make my Cutout Cookie Gingerbread (the dough I most often use in my videos) perform well for 3-D projects. (I briefly touched on these topics in my earlier “Cutout Cookie Gingerbread Dough” video, link below, but here I go much deeper.)

The Unadapted Control (Left) vs. Adapted Dough, A Closer Look!
The Unadapted Control (Left) vs. Adapted Dough, A Closer Look! Photo by Julia M. Usher

In a nutshell, the less any dough spreads, the less it will crack and distort when shaped and baked on curved 3-D surfaces. Through a series of controlled tests of my gingerbread, I explore the impact of four recipe-related variables on its spreading: (1) flour-to-fat ratio, (2) type of fat (butter versus shortening), (3) amount of leavening, and (4) use of egg. As for process-related variables, I mean those that relate to dough handling, such as how thin the dough is rolled and whether it is chilled after rolling and before baking. I test those variables with my gingerbread as well.

BONUS: Once the results of my gingerbread experiments are in, I then apply those lessons learned to my Signature Sugar Cookie Dough, which typically spreads and cracks a lot more, and turn it into an awesome dough for 3-D work too!

IMPORTANT: The aim of this video is NOT to give you exact formulas for adapting your own recipes – that would be virtually impossible to do without knowing your recipes and testing them myself. Rather, the intent is to: (1) demonstrate that gingerbread isn’t the only dough that can be used for 3-D work and (2) highlight the variables that most impact dough spreading so you can successfully adapt your own recipes. (Or, if you don’t want to do that, just use mine! Recipes below!)

P.S. If you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thank you!