Confession … up until about 6 years ago I used to buy my Christmas cookies and put them on a pretty platter to make people think they were my own. But after starting a family of my own, I really loved the idea of all of us getting into the kitchen together to make cookies. I knew that this dream couldn’t even be a reality until I learned how to bake some decent cookies. Armed with determination, I looked for guidance from the one person in my family that managed to turn out hundreds of amazing holiday treats every year; my grandma. After an entire day of baking, she armed me with her classic recipes and these
5 Commandments For Perfect Christmas Cookies:
1: Thou Shall Use The Right Materials: If you have the perfect recipe, but not the right materials … your cookies are almost certainly doomed. Make sure to have a cooling rack to properly cool the cookies as cooling them on the cookie pan you used can cause your cookies to overcook. Cooling racks also provide the right amount of air circulation to properly cool a cookie. If your baking light coloured cookies (like shortbread) use a light coloured baking sheet. If your baking darker coloured cookies (like gingerbread) use a darker coloured baking sheet. Finally, line your baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Greasing your baking sheets can cause burning and it adds ingredients to the recipe.
2: Thou Shall Use The Right Ingredients: Cookies often don’t require a lot of ingredients. This makes cookies an easy go to for Christmas bakers everywhere, but it also means every ingredients counts. Unless the recipe says otherwise: use large eggs, unsalted butter (in a pinch you can get away with salted if the recipe calls for more then 1/4C – just skip any other salt in the recipe), and unbleached all-purpose flour (the white flower contains benzoyl peroxide that can disturb the chemical balance in a recipe). Also, a little side tip: bring all your cold ingredients to room temperature to make your dough much easier to work with.
4: Thou Shall Bake Cookies With Patience: As my grandma use to say: ‘Patience is a virtue.’ In the case of Christmas cookies, patience will help your cookies turn out perfect. When baking cookies bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. Putting more than 1 sheet in the oven, or not cooking in the middle rack, disrupts proper heat distribution. This can cause your cookies to be over baked or under baked. If you have a convection oven, you can bake more then 2 sheets at a time, just make sure to use separate racks. If you are baking multiple batches on one baking sheet, cool the baking sheet before using it again. A hot cookie sheet can cause the cookie dough to spread out more and even bake them a little bit before they get into the oven.
5: Thou Shall Store Cookies Properly: Now you have the perfect Christmas cookies, don’t mess them up by not storing them the right way. Most recipes will have a note on how to store them so their texture and taste don’t change. If your recipe has that, use it. If not there are some general guidelines to store your cookies the right way. First let them cool completely before packing them away. Second store chewy and crunchy cookies in separate airtight containers. Lastly, place a piece of parchment paper between layers of cookies.
There you have it – right from the mouth of my grandma. Now that you are armed with the right recipe and these commandments, head forth to thou kitchen and get your bake on!
Do you have any Christmas baking tips? Share them below!