Now that you’ve got a list of cookies to make, here are the tips and tricks for making this year’s cookies your best ever.
When baking cookies there are two common missteps to be aware of. If you can avoid these, you’ll off to a strong start.
- Use softened butter. If you pull your butter out of the fridge about 30 minutes before beating it with sugar, it should be about perfect. If your butter is too soft, your dough will be soft, and cookies will spread too much. If your butter is too hard, your texture will also be off, because you won’t be able to incorporate air into the dough, see next tip.
- Beat your butter and sugar together – called creaming the butter – long enough for the mixture to become fluffy in texture and lighter in color. You can do this with your electric mixer or the old-fashioned way, with a spoon, either method will work.
When your cookies are the gift, remember these quick tips for packaging them up perfectly.
- Look for inexpensive plates or serving containers in the dollar section of your discount store.
- Cushion items by first placing a paper towel or napkin in the bottom of the container. If you stack items, place layers of waxed paper between layers.
- If baking in advance and freezing, let frozen cookies thaw directly in gift container for maximum freshness.
When you’ve spent hours baking cookies, the last thing you want is for them to get soggy or stale before you’ve even had the chance to enjoy them. Here’s how to store your cookies properly.
- Store crisp cookies at room temperature in loosely covered containers.
- Keep chewy and soft cookies at room temperature in resealable food-storage plastic bags or tightly covered containers.
- Let frosted or decorated cookies set or harden before storing; place them between layers of parchment or waxed paper, plastic wrap or foil.
- Put crisp cookies and chewy, soft cookies in separate containers to prevent the crisp cookies from becoming soft.
- Store cookies with different flavors in separate containers, or they will pick up the flavors of the other cookies.
When you’re trying to get ahead of the game, freezing cookies is the way to go. Here’s how to freeze with ease.
- Wrap tightly and label.
- Freeze unfrosted cookies up to 1 year and frosted cookies up to 3 months.
- Do not freeze meringue, custard-filled or cream-filled cookies.
- To freeze delicate frosted or decorated cookies, place in single layers in freezer containers and cover with waxed paper before adding another layer.
- Thaw cookies, covered, in the container at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. For crisp cookies, remove from the container to thaw.
Ready for more tips like these, check out Betty’s Cookie Cheat Sheet. And don’t even think this is not the end of Betty’s Christmas cookie recipes!