Chatelaine Kitchen

Five tips for making the best holiday cookies

From planning ahead to baking with a pal, this season's holiday cookie exchange is yours to win (not that it's a competition). Happy baking!
Holiday Cookies. Holiday Cookies.

What better way to get in the holiday spirit then baking up batches of your favourite seasonal treats! Whether you’re into updated classics (this year we did 25 ways with shortbread) or totally decadent double-chocolate sablés, here are some tips on how to make sure they’re the best-ever — every time.

1. Be prepared: Holiday baking can get chaotic! Here in the test kitchen, we always read through our recipes at least twice before we get started to ensure we don’t run into any problems (like missing ingredients) while we’re in the zone. Bonus points for doing it the night before so you can pull your butter out of the fridge and bring it up room temperature.

2. Buddy up: Regardless of whether you love or hate baking, it’s always so much more fun to get together with your friends and family and devote a day to cookies. Everyone can bring their favourite recipes to the table, and divide up the finished product so you have a wider variety of treats to try. Who wants to feel like it’s a chore anyway?

3. Get creative: Baking is a science so you never want to change the basic structure of a cookie; however, spices can be interchanged and additions can be made. Don’t like nutmeg? Don’t use it! Swap flavourings, nuts and even chocolate to suit your personal taste.

4. One cookie, one tray: I have nightmares about this phrase. My chef in culinary school used to scream it through the kitchen anytime we were baking cookies. It may seem like a good idea to pull double-duty and load up your baking sheets with a few different kinds — especially if they all call for the same oven temperature — but you’re risking uneven baking and potential disaster. (You don't want to end up with burned cookies!)

5. Make ahead: Not only are all of our recipes triple-tested, they’re also storage tested! Most can be stored frozen in an airtight container for up to a month. Load up on a few batches ahead of time so you can pull them out when you have unexpected guests, or, when you need to bring along a hostess gift.


Bonus: This month we're holding a month-long cooking club challenge featuring holiday cookies — and there's an amazing prize for the best entry from TSC. Find out more here!


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