T’is the season of sugar, spice and everything nice…like cookies! Every December, I give cookie tins to everyone at James’ company. He works for a small family business, but that is still between 9 and 15 trades guys with at least a dozen cookies each. That’s a lot of cookies, so I have learned some holiday cookie baking tips over the years.
I consider myself a cookie making expert and I am going to bestow you with my best holiday cookie baking tips (through lots of trial and error…mostly error…it’s not easy making perfect cookies!). I now have a collection of go-to recipes and my cookies have become a delicacy that people write sonnets about (or something).
I’ve been running around like a headless chicken for the last few weeks, but unfortunately I haven’t been doing much of what I actually want to do (like reading or writing). Luckily, I have next week off and in between time with my family, I’m hoping to get some planning and drafting done to make sure 2019 is my best one yet.
What are your best holiday baking tips?
Holiday cookie baking tips
- Make your dough in advance and freeze it. This saves time because all you’ll have to do is bake them when you need them for absolute freshness. Also, baking from frozen results in a puffy cookie because the ingredients have had the time to work their magic.
- Roll into cookie cubes. Rather than roll your cookies into balls, roll them into cubes that are higher than they are wider. The result? Soft, pillowy cookie clouds.
- Set a timer. Remember, a minute is an eternity in cookie land and can be the difference between a perfectly baked cookie and a hard rock. I use a timer so I can multi-task while the cookies are baking.
- Use the same base for multiple types of cookies. For example, shortbread cookies can also become Russian tea cakes if you cook them in balls and roll them in icing sugar. No one knows the difference, trust me.
- Test a single cookie before you bake a whole sheet. This is especially important if you’re trying a new recipe or you’ve doubled a recipe, which sometimes has unexpected results. Rather than waste your ingredients, try a single cookie first and then adjust the temperature as required.
- Get your tins early. The dollar store often sells out of cookie tins, so if you aren’t planning in October, then you may be out of luck (Amazon can usually save the day).
- Underbake the majority of your cookie recipes. If they look done in the oven, they’re overdone and will get harder as time goes on.
- Make pretty cookies that don’t require rolling. Rolling cookies is a phenomenal waste of time in my opinion. Chocolate chop cookies with seasonal sprinkles and coloured chips are just as pretty and take a quarter of the time.
- Use silicon baking sheets. To prevent sticking, mess and waste, I highly recommend using silicon baking sheets. They are reusable lifesavers in my kitchen.
- Do a cookie swap with your friends. If each of your friends makes one kind of cookie, you can swap with them to have a huge variety with a fraction of the work.
- Choose cookies that stand the test of time. Some recipes don’t stay fresh for very long and if you’re giving them as gifts, this can be a problem. Most of us don’t want to wake up at 5 a.m. to make cookies straight from the oven to give as gifts, so find recipes that stay tasty even if you bake them a few days early.
- Sneak in some fitness. You’re going to be eating some of those cookies you’re making right? So, dance around the kitchen and do calf raises while you knead dough.
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