Does the idea of baking homemade cookies appeal to you but does the actuality of making it happen seem intimidating? By following a few simple guidelines, you can make baking Christmas cookies a snap!
Making Christmas Cookies- How to Get Started
Sometimes, getting started is the hardest part. The same can be true of baking. Who should you bake for? What kind of cookies should you bake? Where can you find the best recipes? When should you bake them? With all of the who, what, when, where and whys, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Just follow these simple steps and you will quickly have your thoughts and ideas in order and be on your way to baking with ease:
Choose a recipe- if you are a novice baker, your best bet is to choose a recipe that you already know. For example, if you have a tried and true recipe for chocolate chip cookies, bake them! Don’t feel as though you have to bake a classic Christmas cookie. If you are unfamiliar with classic Christmas cookie recipes, and are not quite comfortable trying something new-don’t! You can easily add a festive flare to your cookies by packing them in seasonal containers.
If you do not have a recipe that you are familiar with, there are countless online resources that offer a wide variety of easy recipes.
Gather the ingredients- It is essential to gather all of the recipe’s ingredients before you begin.
Make sure the ingredients are the proper temperature. If a recipe calls for softened butter, for example, make sure that you allow enough time for the butter to soften. Depending upon the temperature of your house, this can take anywhere from one hour to several hours.
Pre-Measure Ingredients Before Mixing Cookie Dough
Once you have gathered all of the ingredients measure them out and place them in separate bowls according to type; dry ingredients, wet ingredients etc… and mix well. For example, most recipes will have you add all of the dry ingredients at the same time. Dry ingredients include:
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
This allows you to quickly add the ingredients at the proper time and ensures that the ingredients are incorporated thoroughly.
How to Mix Christmas Cookie Dough
Now that you have premeasured all of the ingredients and made sure that they are at the proper temperature, it’s time to start combining the ingredients. Simply follow the recipe step by step and your cookie dough should turn out properly.
Making Cookie Dough Ahead of Time
Another way to make baking easier is to prepare several batches of dough in advance and either refrigerate them or freeze them until you are ready to bake. This serves two purposes:
- Most cookie doughs contain some of the same basic ingredients. While you have the ingredients out and have the measuring cups, spoons etc …in use, it makes good sense to double up. Why pull it all out again to make a new batch of dough when you can process several doughs one after the other and then bake them at a later time.
- Another nice aspect of having dough prepared and in the refrigerator is the ability to quickly bake off a tray right before company arrives. The smell of baking cookies certainly adds to the ambiance of your holiday home!
Conversely, baking several batches of cookies at the same time can serve multiple purposes:
- The oven runs more efficiently.
- You eliminate the need to wash and clean the cookie sheets, cooling racks and counters numerous times.
- After the cookies have all been baked and cooled, you can quickly create assorted containers while they are all out to select from.
How to Store Homemade Cookies
If you have baked and packed your Christmas cookies in advance, you can freeze or refrigerate them until you are ready to use or gift. Be sure that the cookies have cooled completely before storing or freezing for best results. If you are making cookies that require multiple steps, like a Linzer Tart, you can bake and freeze the parts until you are ready to assemble. This will help to keep certain cookies, like those that are filled with jams and jellies, from getting soggy.
If you are among the many who dream of giving home baked treats as holiday gifts, but are overwhelmed at the thought or simply feel that you cannot squeeze another item on to your to-do list, don’t stress, it’s easier than you think! With a little planning and organization, you will soon be on your way to creating delicious gifts with lasting memories for you and your family as an added bonus.
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