Episode 57 Stress-Free Holiday Cookie Baking
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It is the time of year when many of us get the itch to bake cookies. Some people do it because they love it, others do it because they want to make memories with their kids. It is important to ask yourself why you want to bake. Do you want to spend time with your children or do you want beautiful cookies to give away to friends and neighbors? In my experience, it is difficult to accomplish both of those goals at the same time. That is why we make gingerbread cookies just for our family.
Making gingerbread cookies was the most important holiday activity for my children. We will make one batch of cookies in several different sizes and decorate them with royal icing. I don’t stress bout kids licking their fingers or about the cookies looking perfect because my goal with gingerbread cookies is to enjoy my time with my kids.
My mother, on the other hand, loves to give away cookies. She usually makes 45 batches of dough and freezes it. She will have a long day of cookie baking and then she and my father will plate and wrap the cookies and deliver them to friends and neighbors. This year she is changing things up. She only made two kinds of cookie dough and plans to give away fewer cookies. She has made the same five recipes for over 30 years and this year she is ready to try something new.
It doesn’t matter if you make one batch or dozens of batches of cookies, what matters is that you know why you are making the cookies. If your goal is to spend time with your kids, then don’t worry about having lots of cookies to give away. If your goal is to use the cookies as gifts, then you may want to make them without the kids. Both ideas are great, it is just important to identify why you are making them and to keep your expectations clear.
Tips for stress-free cooking baking:
1-Put it on the calendar. You want to schedule a time to make the cookies. This time of year is so busy and if you don’t schedule time, you will feel stressed as you make the cookies.
2- Try not to make the dough and bake the cookies in the same day. Most cookie recipes chill the dough after it is made before shaping and baking. If you can make the dough one day and chill it, the next day you are ready to bake. If you try to do it all in one day, you will spend hours in the kitchen which can create unnecessary stress.
3-Make sure you leave time for your butter to come to room temperature. That means you want to take the butter out of the refrigerator at least two hours before you make your dough.
4-If you are making cut out cookies, roll out the dough between parchment paper before you chill the dough. Place the dough on a floured piece of parchment paper, sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour and cover with another piece of parchment paper. Roll out the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Place the rolled dough on a cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator. You can stack several layers of dough on one cookie sheet. Then, you can cut the cookies and pull the scraps away. Leave the cookies on the parchment and bake.
5-Use parchment paper or silicone baking mats. It will keep the cookies from sticking and makes cookie baking easier. Use pre-cut parchment sheets if you can. This is the parchment I buy. (not affiliate)
6-If you enjoy decorating cookies, keep a few for yourself to decorate. You can still decorate with the kids, but have some to decorate all by yourself without the kids.
Links for this episode
My mother’s icing for sugar cookies
How to use frozen cookie dough