Most of my Christmas memories revolve around cookies. My sister and I began at an early age to help our mother bake these annual treats because Mom liked to cook, not bake. But to Mom, Christmas required cookies, and her favorite eggnog butter cookies were a big recipe that called for a lot of decorating with bits of sparkle and color to make them just right. My mother was very big on making things just right.
Now, I bake these eggnog cookies every year and cajole my kids to help decorate. Imagine my surprise to find many of my girls’ friends did not have homemade cookies for the holidays! Baking from scratch seems to be going out of style because everyone is too busy or on a diet. What is the world coming to! If the wise men had been women they would have brought cookies to baby Jesus.
To encourage you to bake some fun and delicious memories with your kids, here are ten tips for producing great cookies:
1. Use light-colored edgeless baking sheets.
2. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper for even baking with no
3. Beat that shortening/butter and sugar to a fluffy pulp. And eggs at room
temp mix in with that better.
4. Use real vanilla. Use real butter. Use fresh spices. Always.
5. If rolling out dough, keep it at about 1/8 inch thick – any thinner
and they’ll end up too crunchy.
6. Bake similar sized cookies on one sheet (do not mix sizes or they
won’t bake evenly).
7. Check on cookies at the minimum bake time. Do not overbake
unless you like dry crunchies*
8. Let finished cookies set a few minutes on the baking sheet and then
remove or they will continue to cook.
9. Put cooled cookies in airtight plastic containers or in tins with a piece
of plastic wrap under the lid. Nobody likes dried out cookies.
10. Do not store more than one type of cookie in a container or the
smells and flavors meld together.
*If you do happen to overbake, immediately remove cookies (parchment sheet and all) onto a cooling rack.
The most important tip? Have fun!