[ Christmas Cookie Planning ]
Check, Select, Bake
Having a platter of homemade Christmas cookies is always a delightful surprise for your family and guests. You can make it a tradition. In our home, the children, who are now adults, place their requests for their favorite cookie. Each of them has a childhood memory regarding the
Making Christmas cookies takes planning to make it a fun experience.
Step 1: Check Out Your Equipment
To make it easy, you need to check your baking equipment. Air cushioned cookie sheets work best. Do not try to use older darkened sheets. Darkened sheets will challenge you with the baking time, resulting in “brown” bottom cookies.
Have a wired cooling rack. This helps not only for the cooling, but for the drying stage of decorating.
Check out your bowls, at least one large, 2 small and smaller cereal bowls for: chopped nuts, separated eggs, decorating options.
Good size mixer vs. a hand mixer.
Double boiler pot. This is used for melting chocolate.
A frosting spreader to give you a smooth glaze.
Containers or tins to store your beautiful product.
Step 2: Select Cookie Recipes
Determine what kind and how many varieties you plan to make. If this is your first attempt, keep it simple. If you are have a lot on your activities list, then, plan for about 2 varieties in a given day. I’m a power maker; I aim for 4 batches a day.
Select cookies of different varieties. This will help you make a pretty tray. For example: decorate with chocolate, white confectioner sugar, pink, green, colored sprinkles, nuts and frosting. Also, mix up the shapes; round, fingers, cut outs and bars.
Make a list of cookies and designate the days you plan to make them. You may want to group the cookies, for example; all chocolate on one day.
Review all the ingredients, and make a thorough shopping list. You want your game plan to be, “Ready, set, bake”. Running to the store for a forgotten ingredient changes your rhythm.
Use familiar brands. Over the years, I have favored the following,
Margarine; I Can’t Believe It’s Butter
Sugars: non- named brands
Nuts: Shelled (If you don’t use all of them, freezing them keeps them fresh.)
Wax paper, plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
Step 3: Start Baking
Take out your butter/margarine first, to get to room temperature. It’s so much easier to work with softened margarine.
Chop all your nuts, and set aside.
When recipe calls for “greased” cookie sheet, use the wrappers from the margarine. Then, add more if needed.
Watch your baking time. You don't want burnt bottoms. When I first started making cookies, I cooked them for half the time, and kept checking them.
Bake on one day, decorate on another.
Make cookies that require refrigeration on the same day. Mix several varieties tThen, when finished with mixing the last batch, retrieve the first batch and prepare to bake.
Make easy cookies and add a difficult one, so you have a sense of accomplishment.