Cookie bowls just might be the most perfect and delicious ways to serve an ice cream sundae. Or any other dessert for that matter. It's a dessert within a dessert. The internet is littered with pictures of perfectly golden, evenly shaped, crisp and sturdy-looking bowls crafted from sugar cookie dough. But, for every perfect-looking bowl you come across, there's an equal number of complete and utter epic cookie bowl failures.
In theory cookie bowls seem easy enough to make. Just mix together a batch of sugar cookie dough, roll it out, shape it around the individual cups of a muffin tin or mini bundt pan, bake and voila. But, does it really happen that easily?
We had to find out, so we put ourselves to the cookie bowl test! Are these delicious bowls actually easy to make and worth the effort, or are we just setting ourselves up for an epic baking failure?
The Original Tip
I found the original idea and method for making these bowls from Wilton, the baking supply company. You can also find a lot of iterations of this on Pinterest and around the internet.
Wilton offers a recipe for a basic sugar cookie dough. They recommend rolling the dough to 1/8-inch thick, cutting a 4 1/2-inch round of dough (they use a circular cookie cutter to keep things precise), place the dough around their signature cookie bowl mold, bake and voila.
→ See the original idea: Sugar Cookie Bowls at Wilton
The Testing Method
I stocked up on extra butter, flour and sugar to make sure I had enough supplies to carry me through many rounds of testing. There were four rounds of testing — two using a jumbo muffin tin and two using a mini bundt pan.
I played it safe and followed Wilton's recipe for basic sugar cookies, plus the addition of mini chocolate chips. Because, why not!
After the dough was made I divided it into quarters — one quarter for each round of testing. Plus, I thought it would be easier to roll out smaller portions of dough.
For each round of testing I used the following procedure: I rolled out one portion at a time on a very well-floured countertop, trying to get as close to the 1/8-inch thickness that Wilton suggests. I used a small bowl, approximately 4 1/2-inches in diameter, to cut the dough into even rounds. Then, I used a large spatula to carefully lift the dough off the counter, draped it over a well-greased mold and pressed the dough firmly against the mold.
For baking, I placed the mold on a baking sheet just in case the dough spread too much.
After baking, I let the cookie bowls and molds cool fully before attempting to remove the bowl. Opposed to what I expected the cookie bowls did not slide right off the mold. Instead, I used a paring knife to gently lift the edges of the bowl from the mold.
While I did manage to make a few decent cookie bowls, it was not without many failed attempts and a lot of effort.
In the beginning, I was worried about not rolling the dough thin enough, and instead ended up rolling it too thin. As a result, the dough split during baking, creating gaping holes along the sides of almost all the bowls in the batch.
As long as the dough is rolled to the proper thickness, a jumbo muffin tin and a mini bundt pan work equally well. Although, the scalloped edges of the bundt pan make the bowls a little prettier.
No matter how well your grease the molds, don't expected the cookie bowls to come free without a battle. This was possibly the most difficult, and definitely the most frustrating part of the process. For every bowl I successfully removed from the molds, I shattered an almost equal amount. The easiest way to remove the bowls is by using a paring knife to gently lift the edges of the bowl away from the mold.
Verdict: Cookie bowls look beautiful, but they are not that easy to make and definitely not worth the effort!
This is not a mind-blowing tip.
The cookie bowl ice cream sundae was a really fun and absolutely delicious treat, but I can't say that I'll be making them again anytime soon.
The type of cookie dough matters - not all dough is created equal. Sugar cookie dough is your best choice. It becomes firm and crisp as it cools after baking, which makes for a sturdy bowl. Also, keep in mind that the dough spreads during baking, so the raw dough should only come 1/4 to 1/3 of the way down the side of the mold.
→ Get our recipe for the best sugar cookies: Recipe: Sugar Cookies
Have you ever made cookie bowls before?
(Image credits: Kelli Dunn)