Here are our top 5 baking tips for Holiday Cookies –
- READ THROUGH ALL YOUR RECIPES
Read through all the recipes at once to understand how each recipe will work and map out a plan. Start ahead, and pace yourself, to match the recipes and to bake efficiently. One idea: You can make all your dough at once, cut out and bake another day, and then decorate on a different day. Try our ideas below by using your freezer and refrigerator.
- CHECK ALL YOUR INGREDIENTS FOR FRESHNESS
Freshness counts – it makes a huge difference between successful and unsuccessful baking. Buy fresh ingredients and check the rest of your ingredients for expiration dates. Nuts, seeds, and high-protein flours turn rancid quickly. Test nuts and seeds by smell or tasting them prior to use. Spoiled flour will have a rancid smell. Lastly, be sure to check the expirations dates on your baking soda and baking powder to make sure they are not past their prime.
- UNDERSTAND TEMPERATURE
Temperature plays a variety of roles when baking. Butter won’t cream correctly if it’s too cold or too warm. Your oven’s temperature needs to be accurate. Some recipes call for chilling the dough prior to cutting, rolling, or baking.
The proper creaming of the butter and sugar is critical to the finished texture of your cookies. Make sure you start far enough ahead to have all your ingredients at the proper temperature. If you haven’t checked your oven in a while, invest in an oven thermometer. Make sure your oven is heating to the proper temperature so you don’t over or under bake your cookies. If it’s required by your recipes, always allow plenty of time for your dough to chill properly. Some dough can be left refrigerated for up to a week prior to baking!
- FREEZE THE DOUGH
Make your dough ahead of time and freeze it. Slice and bake cookies can be frozen as a log, then bring the dough back to refrigerator temperature before slicing. Drop cookies can be scooped into balls and frozen on sheet trays. Once frozen, simply transfer to a freezer bag for storage. Cut-out cookie dough can be shaped into disks, then wrapped in plastic and frozen. When it’s time to bake, bring the dough back to refrigerator temperature before rolling and cutting.
- BAKE AND FREEZE THE COOKIES PRIOR TO DECORATING
No time to decorate? Freeze your baked cookies, then thaw and decorate right before serving or giving as gifts. Store them in an airtight container in your freezer to help prevent breaking and separate the cookies with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking.