From rolling out the dough to decorating with fun and festive sprinkles, some of our favorite holiday memories involve baking countless holiday cookies in the kitchen with our loved ones. With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start baking again, and we have a few tips that will help make this year’s batch the most delicious yet.
KNOW YOUR DOUGH
The key to any craveable cookie is perfecting the dough. For best results, start with butter that is perfectly softened. When you press it with a finger, it should only give slightly. Hard butter is not ready, while butter with no resistance is too soft.
When it comes to mixing, it’s important to not overmix the butter and sugar. Mix your butter and sugar until they are creamy and fully combined. Creaming too much, as you would for a cake, will make your cookies spread too much while baking.
Before you begin baking, line your baking sheets with parchment paper. This not only allows for easy cleanup, but it also ensures your cookies will not stick. It’s also important to space your cookies properly on the baking sheet. You don’t want to end up with one giant cookie!
If you are looking for a fool-proof soft sugar cookie dough, check out our recipe for Christmas Tree Cookies. The dough doesn’t have to be refrigerated, doesn’t stick when you roll it out, and doesn’t spread much when you bake it.
TIME TO DECORATE
When it comes to decorating, royal icing can’t be beat. When making your royal icing, a great marker for the perfect piping consistency is when it resembles toothpaste. This consistency works well for detail work, outlining, and writing. If you’re planning to cover the whole cookie in royal icing, you’ll want a thinner consistency. Add about 1 teaspoon of warm water to 1 cup royal icing, repeating until the icing begins to melt into the desired consistency.
If you’re planning to ship your cookies, bag them undecorated and send your icing and sprinkles in air-tight containers. With this method, your cookies will arrive in perfect condition and the recipients will get to enjoy decorating the cookies!
Bonus tip: Invest in cookie dough scoops. It makes cookies much easier and faster, plus it ensures every cookie will come out the same size.