Ramping up for Holiday Cookie Baking

November 30th, 2009 by Beth Somers

Woohoo, it is officially cookie season! And it’s also officially chaotic holiday season, too! With all of the parties, shopping, and planning, this time of year can be stressful. If you’re thinking that there won’t be time for homemade cookies this year, think again. Whether you’re a first time baker or a pastry guru, I’ve got some tips to simplify your holiday cookie agenda. There’s no time to waste, so here we go!

  1. Decorated cut out cookies are a Christmas tradition, but most sugar cookie recipes call for several hours of refrigeration before the dough can be rolled and cut. Our Roll-Out Cookie Dough eliminates that step, which is great because the dough can be rolled out right after it’s mixed. It’s a super time saver, and with almond and vanilla flavors, these cookies smell just how holiday baking should. This recipe doubles easily, too.
  2. The holidays are all about spending time with loved ones, so enlist the help of friends and family for your baking efforts. You’ll enjoy lasting memories as well as delicious eats. Kids love to get involved with decorating. Equip them with cookie icing, sprinkles, and sugars from the Christmas Cookie Shop and see where their imaginations go.
  3. Snowman CookieIf you’re serious about cookie decorating and have a specific design to replicate onto numerous cookies, try setting up an assembly line to streamline the work. Check out this Snowman cookie as an example. Prepare all of your color flow icing colors, white, red, green, orange, and black and keep them well covered to prevent crusting. Have your cooled Snowman cookies laid out on a flat surface. Outline all of the cookies in stiff white icing first. Then, go back and flood all of the cookies with thinned white icing. After that has dried, begin working from the top of the cookie down: Add the green hat to all of the snowmen, then the red hat band, then the charcoal eyes and mouth, etc. It takes time to put down one colored icing bag to pick up another, and the assembly line technique minimizes that lost time. Working from the top down reduces the risk of smudging the decorations with a piping bag or hand. Before you know it, you’ll be tying the knot on the last Snowman’s scarf.
  4. Need to make a lot of cookies fast? Try our Comfort Grip Cookie Press™. There are lots of great shapes to choose from, and the trigger is designed so your hand won’t get tired. Two recipes are included with the cookie press, and the dainty cookies can be embellished with sparkling sugars, nonpareils, or melted chocolate.
  5. Use a sturdy stainless steel cookie scoop for perfectly portioned drop cookies. No more messy fingers, either. Your famous chocolate chippers have never been so easy…
  6. And speaking of drop cookies, make multiple batches of dough, portion it into balls with a scoop, and freezing them raw. After they are cold and firm, layer the balls between sheets of parchment paper and wrap well in plastic. When you’re ready to bake, place the frozen dough on a cookie sheet just like regular cookie dough, and allow it to come to room temperature for a few minutes before popping it in a preheated oven. If you keep portioned dough in the freezer, you’ll always have the option for fresh baked cookies in a flash.
  7. Bar cookies are great for crowds. They can be cut large or small, and many freeze well so they can be made in advance. Creme De Menthe Bars and Coconut Raspberry Bars add hints of festive color. Both are baked in 13 X 9” baking pans and can yield up to 4 dozen pieces each.
  8. In a cookie rut? Need new ideas and recipes? Check out Wilton’s Cookie Exchange book, full of wonderful recipes submitted by Wilton employees. Of course, there’s also lots of simple decorating ideas to help you celebrate the season.
  9. Above all else, enjoy your time in the kitchen. Baking cookies should be fun, because eating cookies is fun!

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Beth Somers Beth Somers is the Senior Test Kitchen Manager and has taught at the internationally acclaimed Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Confectionery Art in Darien, IL. As a competitor on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars, she shined as a champion during season 6. Before joining Wilton, Beth honed her pastry skills at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago. Beth loves showing people how fun and easy it can be to bake and decorate amazing sweet treats with Wilton products.

19 Replies

  1. Maria E. Benages says:

    I really want to get the book!!!!!!

  2. Vickie Anderson says:

    I have made my color flow and now going to make my cut out cookies. What,i want to know is if i have any left over color flow,how long will it keep?
    Vickie Anderson

    • Laura says:

      The best way I’ve found to keep color flow is in an airtight ziplock bag. I’ve kept it for a week, but don’t know how much longer after that it’ll last. Good luck to you!

    • Beth Somers says:

      Vickie, your best bet is to store it with a damp paper towel directly covering the surface, and then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. The icing will keep for two weeks. Just rewhip it a little bit before you use it again for the best consistency.

  3. Linda Asche says:

    I like the sugar cookie recipe, except my husband is allergic to almond. Can I just add more vanilla to compensate?

    • Laura says:

      I have heard that imitation almond extract doesn’t contain real almond, which makes sense, but I’d check that with your husband’s doctor. I don’t see why extra vanilla wouldn’t work just as well as long as the amount of liquid is the same since it’s just substituting one flavor for the other.

    • Beth Somers says:

      Hi Linda! Yes, you can definitely use additional vanilla extract in place of the almond. Other flavors would be great, too – lemon, orange, or anise would all work. The base of this cookie is neutral, so you can flavor it with almost anything. Good luck!

  4. lisset says:

    Hello! I¨m from Guatemala, I want to know if you can send a gengibre cookie recipe. I have 3 daughters, they are happy to make this christmas many cookies.

    I hope you soon answer.

    Thanks,

    Greetings to all you.

  5. Laura says:

    Try this website…..

    http://www.northpole.com/Kitchen/Cookbook/MissingRecipe.asp

    It has all kinds of recipes, including gingerbread cookies.

  6. ping v. loja says:

    Sir/Madam:

    Greetings of Peace and Joy!

    Thanks for sending me some of your tips about baking. I love the quality of Wilton products (utensils, accessories, colors and tips). My sister and I have a cake and pastries business here in the Philippines.

    Can I ask some other tips on how to make fondant cakes and cookies?

    Looking forward to hear your reply.

    Thank you and More Power to Wilton.

  7. Cindy says:

    Hi, I just tried your sugar cookie recipe , the dough was too soft, could not roll, please tell me what I did wrong.

    • Beth Somers says:

      This cookie dough is softer than traditional rolled cookie dough, but it rolls out like a dream. Make sure your butter is softened, but not overly warm, as that can cause dough to go slack. If you keep your house very warm, that can also contribute. If your dough is still too soft to roll, pat it into a flat disk and refrigerate it for 10-20 minutes. This will help the butter to firm up, making the dough more solid.

  8. ester says:

    como haser un pastel tres leches

  9. it’s very good and supprice forme

  10. tim says:

    The sugar cookie recipe was really good. The kids had lots of fun helping in the decorations: pool houston.

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