Baking cookies is a holiday tradition for many of us. Come the holiday season, many homes are filled with the heavenly and inviting fragrances of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, peppermint and decadent chocolate. For me, they evoke fond memories of Christmas’s long past.
Baking cookies can be a social occasion where family members and friends gather to create beloved recipes passed down through several generations. Or maybe you like to be in the kitchen yourself to prepare cookies as holiday gifts. Either way, people who bake during the holiday season understand that making Christmas cookies can be a time-consuming yet heartwarming process.
This year, holiday bakers can embrace a number of time-saving tips, tricks, and techniques to reduce the amount of time they spend in the kitchen and maybe even tweak existing recipes.
*Use a cookie mix. Who says you have to toil and make cookies from scratch? It’s the thought that counts and any number of creative recipes can begin by utilizing a premade baking mix. These mixes already have most of the dry cookie ingredients sifted together, all you have to do is add the wet ingredient and maybe some extra embellishments to make it your own. If mixes are too much work, purchase refrigerated or frozen cookie dough. Personalize your recipes by adding nuts, white chocolate chips, diced dried fruit or crushed candy canes to give the premade dough a unique and festive flavor.
*Prepare ahead. Many cookie dough recipes can be made and stored for later use. In fact, refrigerating a log of cookie dough can make it easier to cut or handle later on. Spread out the bulk of your baking over two days so you’re not overwhelmed.
*Try a no-bake recipe. Creative culinary pros are always willing to share their clever tricks, and many of these include no-bake versions of some of our favorite festive desserts. No bake cookies can be whipped up quite quickly, and can still be filled with holiday ingredients. Recipes frequently feature similar ingredients to traditional cookies, but rely on chocolate, honey or peanut butter as a setting agent to keep them together. It’s also nice not to have to turn the oven on.
*Recycle leftover cookies. Although this has never happened in my home, but if you have a fair amount of cookies remaining or some broken or crumbled ones, they can be repurposed. These cookies can be used as part of another delicious dessert. Grind cookies into crumbs and make a pie crust out of them for pudding pies or no-bake cheesecakes. Or mix cookie crumbs with cake frosting or a nut butter and roll into balls. Dunk the balls into melted chocolate, add a lollipop stick and serve yummy cake pops.
Cookies may be a holiday tradition, but there are so many ways to reduce the amount of time and work required to make them. Seasons Eatings!