Solving Your Christmas Cookie Dilemmas
TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Families create a lot of memories and traditions this time of year and one tradition at our house is making Christmas cookies. It’s something we do every year. We spend hours in the kitchen laughing, getting flour everywhere, rolling and baking dozens of cookies. It is something we all love to do.
These are special holiday memories that we are developing that will last a lifetime. Chances are they will forget what gifts they received from year to year, but they will remember baking cookies every Christmas season.
What a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your children, grandchildren or next-door neighbors. To see their faces light up when they taste those yummy cookies they created is worth all the effort and yes, even the mess.
Cooks everywhere know that sometimes cookies just don’t turn out like they are supposed to. Cookie dough sticks to the rolling pin, the dough spreads out, cookies burn, and a host of other issues. There are things you can do to prevent these problems.
Let’s start with dough sticking to the rolling pin. Lightly dust the surface and rolling pin with flour. Repeat dusting occasionally. Or use a pastry cloth and stockinet-covered rolling pin to make rolling the dough easier, and to help prevent dough from sticking. Rub flour evenly onto the rolling pin and pastry cloth for easy handling. If dough is too soft, refrigerate for about one hour.
It is frustrating when your cookies spread and become flat after they have been baked. If this happens, try refrigerating the dough until well chilled, about 1 to 2 hours. If, after chilling, the dough is still too soft, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour.
During the holidays, remember good nutrition, but don’t sacrifice the quality of your baked goods either. Using a low fat spread with 60 percent or less fat in place of butter or margarine in baking recipes will make cookie dough very soft, due to the high moisture content.
If you want cookies that will be evenly browned, use a baking stone, or a shiny, aluminum cookie sheet at least two inches narrower and shorter than the oven. The sheet may be open on one, two or three sides.
If you choose to use a dark colored cookie sheet, watch it carefully. It may cause your cookies to brown quicker.
For best results, place cookies in the middle of the center rack of the oven. Cooking on the bottom rack may burn or not bake evenly.
Make sure that there is about 2 inches of space around the cookie sheet to allow for good air circulation.
Arrange cookies in a container lined with plastic food wrap or aluminum foil. For best results, wrap cookies individually in plastic wrap. Separate with layers of aluminum foil or plastic food wrap.
Store in an airtight container, label and date. Be sure to thaw cookies by letting them stand loosely covered on a serving plate for about 20 minutes.
Take this opportunity to bake with a child. Their sense of adventure and fun will make you laugh and enjoy the season even more. If you need answers to your baking questions, contact me at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, in Miller County by calling 870-779-3609, or e-mail me at Chadley@uada.edu.
This is the Haley family’s official holiday cookie. We make dozens a year and carry them to all the Christmas celebrations. I hope it helps build family memories like it has in our house.
Haley Family Favorite Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
In mixing bowl combine powdered sugar, margarine, vanilla, almond extract and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients, put in zip top bag and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough into halves. Roll each half on lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake until edges are light brown, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
Note: If using self-rising flour, omit baking soda and cream of tarter.
Tried and True Tip:
Make up several batches at a time and keep in the refrigerator in closed zip top bags. Then simply roll out and bake as needed.
By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
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