If you are anything like me at this time of year, you are always looking for shortcuts to make your holiday baking quick and easy, yet still look and taste fabulous when given as a gift or served at your holiday party.
There are some tried and true “shortcuts” that I always use and are always a big success. One of the recipes I use which is a real winner is our Three-in-One Cookie Dough. This recipe is wonderful as it can be used for spritz cookies, roll and cut-out cookies, and also slice and bake cookies. This recipe can be used for so many quick but fabulous looking cookies…..a must on my cookie baking list of recipes.
Slice and bake cookies are one of the quickest and easiest cookies to make. After mixing your dough, (a lot of cookie doughs can be used for this as long as they are stiff enough to hold the roll) roll it into logs about 2 inches in diameter. Your log can be then rolled in a large variety of different colored sugars or holiday sprinkles. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate the logs for approximately 2 hours. Pull from refrigerator, remove plastic wrap, cut into 1/4 inch slices place on a cookie sheet and bake. These can make a beautiful array of different cookies depending on the sugars or sprinkles you use.
An even quicker shortcut for people who are really strapped for time is to purchase the pre-mixed rolls of sugar cookie dough sold at your local supermarket. Roll the dough in the sprinkles or sugars and handle as above. Voila! You have quick fresh baked holiday sugar cookies.
Always a winner is Wilton’s holiday stencils or the icing decorations. Both are fun accents when added to any cookie. Again cut your cookies as above or in shapes, bake and cool and then add your stencil or icing decoration to the middle of your cookie. Add sprinkles or sugars to the edge of the cookies for some added pizazz.
An easy gourmet truffle filling can make beautiful small sandwich cookies. Take one can of the Ready-to-Use chocolate decorator icing, add 3/4 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla, mix. Use this as a filling between two shaped or small round cut-out cookies. Use a round #12 or star #21 to pipe icing on one cookie and then top it off with another cookie, press lightly together to seal. You can also roll these edges in holiday sugars or sprinkles too.
You can do a multitude of different and very gourmet looking cookies just by using Wilton’s candy melts® in assorted colors. Any cookie recipe can be drizzled, dipped, poured and even decorated with candy to add an elegant finish to them and always a big hit for flavor. Again, when dipping, adding sprinkles or sugars you are always adding to the overall appeal. And don’t forget nuts (almonds, pecans or walnuts), chopped or whole added after dipping or pouring add elegance and flavor also. Dipping or drizzling any store bought cookie and then adding sprinkles adds your personal touch and can take them from boring to beautiful within minutes.
Another fun, quick but WOW idea I do for kids’ parties and gifts is take my cereal treats recipe (whether it be with krispie cereal, corn flakes or oat cereal rings) and tint the mixture green using Wilton’s icing colors. I make wreaths or mini tree shapes and then decorate them using candy gumdrops and/or cinnamon drops.
Marbelized almond bark adds color and interest to any cookie tray. You can marbleize your chocolate and white candy, but I also like to add in Wilton’s red or green candy melts and marbleize it with white. The combination creates a festive color burst!
There are many variations to many recipes I use. Sometimes things just happen in my kitchen when my daughter and I start using our imagination. The key for me is to not limit my imagination. I also encourage my daughter to use her imagination. We usually end up with truly a wide assortment of cookies in very little time, and we have a lot of fun while doing it.
This weekend I will line up my counter in my kitchen with my melting pots, my candy melts® and all my sprinkles, sugars and nuts in bowls ready to go and let the creating begin!!!
Happy Holiday Baking!