There is nothing more comforting than the smell of Christmas cookies fresh out of the oven. As a little girl, I remember eagerly watching my mom, as she would carefully remove the hot cookie sheets from the oven. I could not wait to help decorate with the homemade frosting, the cinnamon candies and the multi-colored sprinkles that would make each cookie design come to life. Those were different times then. Mom did not work outside the home and family lives were not as hectic as they are today. Today, it seems like there is a mad rush from Halloween to Christmas Day and little time to simply enjoy the moments shared.
You can enjoy the fun times of homemade holiday baking by planning ahead of time. Christmas cookies make delicious, thoughtful gifts and are a great way to involve children in the festivities. First, let us look at the calendar and start planning with enough time.
The first thing is to decide if you are going to bake holiday cookies for home, for entertaining or if you are going to be giving them as gifts and how many. Allow yourself plenty of time to start getting things together. Late October is not too early. Next, let us decide how many varieties of cookies to bake. A variety is nice, but too many can be overwhelming. I like to bake three to four different types of cookies.
This way, I can make larger dough batches ahead of time, and still have a nice display. Once you have decided how many different kinds you are going to bake, the next thing to do is pick your recipes. Whether you use your own Christmas cookie book or find recipes on the web, make a copy of each so that you can keep them all together. This makes it simpler than flipping around from the various cookbooks and will also help to make sure your cookbooks don't get soiled, either. Now it is time to gather your ingredient list.
Determine how many cookies you want to make of each recipe and then adjust your ingredients accordingly. Make one list of all ingredients, so that shopping can be done in one trip without forgetting important items. Let us review the recipes to see if there is any dough that can be made and frozen ahead of time. This will be a huge time-saver as later on, you will simply be able to defrost the dough, bake and decorate. Since you have all already shopped for the ingredients, set aside an hour or so to mix the dough recipes. Let us get out that calendar again and pick a time to set aside for the actual baking.
Since we have already prepared the dough, all we need to do is organize our decorations. It is best to just do one type of cookie at a time, this way you will not have to go back and forth between cookies. Whether it is during the week or on the weekend, clear off everything else from that day except for your baking. This way, you are not rushed and can simply enjoy the day. If you will be involving children, this is a great time to just enjoy very special moments together.
These special times come once a year and sometimes once in a lifetime. Christmas baking is a memorable tradition that you can start with your family.
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