Baking Christmas cookies is one of the many joys of the holiday season. If you're new to the baking scene and need some pointers, you'll happily and deliciously find the basics here.
Baking cookies can be a fun and rewarding time to spend with children and family. And the result will be tasty cookies you can share with neighbors and friends! You can't lose in the name of Christmas cookies.
Every baker needs a pantry full of the basic baking ingredients. Some items are staples for just about all cookies. Here are some pantry basics that you'll want to keep on hand:
Refrigerated items that you should keep on hand are:
These are some of the most common things that gourmet desserts will call for. All other ingredients can be purchased on an as-needed basis.
Now that you've got all the basic ingredients stocked, you'll want to make sure you have the right pans and utensils on hand. You'll need at least three non-stick cookie sheets. Two can be in the oven baking while you refill another one. If you have more than three, so much the better.
A wire cooling rack is also a must. You will need a place for your Christmas cookies to cool and the air that circulates under the cooling rack makes that process happen more quickly.
A sturdy, flat plastic spatula is a must as well so you can lift the cookies off the sheets. A large mixing bowl and measuring cups and spoons are also necessities. If you have an electric stand mixer, your life will be much easier, but many a fine baker has made dozens of batches mixing either by hand or with a hand-held electric beater.
The better your tools, the easier and more enjoyable your baking time will be.
Image courtesy of Scott Schram on Flickr
There are plenty of places to find Christmas cookie recipes. Ask your co-workers or friends if they'd mind sharing their favorite recipes.
Or, look online under Christmas cookies and you'll find more recipes than you could ever use. Recipe sites usually have a rating system that will help you choose which recipe will be worth your time making.
Decide on which recipes you'll use this year. Choose as many as five so you will have a good selection if one batch doesn't turn out well.
Recipe box photo courtesy of Shimelle on Creative Commons
After you have gotten your ingredients together and baked your cookies, you're going to need somewhere to store them. Tupperware containers with lids that seal are excellent choices if you are only storing your cookies for a day or two.
If you want to make your cookies ahead of time, even months ahead, you can wrap them in two layers of plastic wrap and one layer of tin foil. Then mark them clearly with a magic marker and store them flat in the freezer.
When Christmas time arrives, simply bring them out and let them thaw at room temperature. Freezing cookies is a great way to spread your baking out so you're not overwhelmed by baking too much at once.
Plus, when you have all your cookies made and frozen, you can simply take them out and make Christmas baskets out of them, easily and with less stress.
Image courtesy of Norwichnuts on Flickr
The best part of cookie baking is sharing your treats with your coworkers, friends, and family. Bring a surprise batch into the office or give a plate to your mail person.
People on the job welcome homemade goodies while they're working, it's a special treat that they weren't expecting and it will brighten their day!
If you still have extras even then, bring some of your cookies to your neighbors to spread holiday cheer! Your kindness won't go unnoticed, and It's always fun to surprise someone with tasty home-baked goodness.