By Maria Lichty of Two Peas and Their Pod
It is no secret that I love cookies. Ok, I don’t just love them, I am obsessed. I am a cookie fanatic 365 days of the year, but during the holidays I am completely cookie crazy. I love turning on the Christmas music and baking up a storm. I spend most of December baking cookies, sharing cookies, and of course eating cookies. If you are getting ready to start your holiday baking here are a few tips to help you with all of your holiday cookie baking adventures:
- Always use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for stick-free, even baking and easy clean-up. I personally prefer Silpats. I don’t bake cookies without them. They are inexpensive and you can use them over and over again.
- Unless the recipe calls for cold butter, use butter at room temperature. When you touch the butter your finger should leave a slight mark in it. The butter should be slightly firm, not soft and greasy. Take the butter out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before baking, depending on the temperature of your house.
- Cream butter and sugars together: you want the mixture to look lighter in color and fluffy. Using a stand mixer, this usually takes 2-3 minutes on medium speed.
- Measure all of your ingredients accurately. For dry ingredients, always use dry measuring cups. Spoon the ingredients into the measuring cup–without packing or tapping on the counter–then level off with the straight edge of a knife. Brown sugar is the exception to this rule. When measuring brown sugar, I always firmly pack the sugar into the cup. The brown sugar should hold its shape when removed from the cup.
- Check the expiration date on your baking soda and baking powder. If you use outdated ingredients, you might end up with flat cookies.
- Always place cookie dough onto a cool baking sheet. Placing the dough on a hot baking sheet will cause the dough to melt before going into the oven and will make your cookies spread out.
- Remove the cookies from the oven when they still look a little underdone in the center. Cookies will finish baking on the baking sheets when you remove them from the oven, so even if they don’t look done, take them out. They will set up.
And if you are looking for a few new cookie recipes to add to your holiday baking list, here are a few of our favorites:
Meet the Author
Maria Lichty is a recipe developer, writer and one-half of the popular food blog Two Peas and Their Pod, with her husband Josh. Originally from Illinois, Maria now lives in Salt Lake City and has been blogging for four years. She is a cookie connoisseur, with close to 200 cookie recipes on her blog. Maria is also the author of the successful e-cookbook, Cookie Cravings. Maria has been featured on Saveur, Fine Cooking, Bon Appetit, LA Times, PBS Food, Foodie Crush Magazine, Where Women Cook Magazine, The Kitchn, Gourmet Live and is a regular contributor to Tasty Kitchen. When not creating new recipes in the kitchen, Maria enjoys spending time with her son Caleb and husband Josh, exercising, and is an avid sports fan.