Baking cookies is something that I grew up doing around Christmas time – it’s still one of my favorite things to do! As a child, I’m sure my mother practiced lots of patience with us, but my very favorite kind of cookie to make was, of course, sugar cookies. We could decorate them. When I was little, we would just sprinkle the jimmies (or sprinkles, as some people call them) all over the cookie. As I got a little older, I started taking my time with the jimmies, and putting patterns on the cookies.
Here are my top five tips for baking cookies:
1. Get to know your oven. My oven is a hot one, if the recipe calls for me to set the oven on 350 degrees, I know that I should just set it on 325, otherwise it will burn. If you’re not sure about yours, invest in an oven thermometer, you can get one for about 5 or 10 bucks.
2. Use good cookie sheets. If you just have thin ones, the cookies are more likely to burn on the bottom, but to help, you can add a layer of wax paper or tin foil. Also, some of the non-stick pans that are dark get hotter, and also can burn the bottoms of the cookies faster, so it’s best to use a good silver shiny one.
3. Wax paper is your friend. When rolling the dough for cut out cookies, instead of using flour, and more flour, and MORE flour to keep it from sticking to the table and to your rolling pin, put the dough between wax paper and roll it out. It won’t stick, and your dough won’t be as tough from working it so much!
4. Use non-traditional decorations! We all know that chocolate makes everything better, so drizzle some melted chocolate on cookies, mix white & dark chocolate drizzles together. You can also use some icing if you’d like, or you can paint the cookies before you bake them by mixing a few drops of food coloring with an egg yolk. This will give them a glazed look and tint them to be that color!
5. If you’re not a cooking baking kind of gal or guy, there are some really great places to buy all types of cookies. Head to the Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop or Willow Valley Bakery for some fresh homemade goodies, for gourmet desserts, you can hit up La Dolce Vita Courthouse Bakery in Downtown Lancaster – they carry fresh baked Italian desserts. For a more traditional German cookie, head to the Springerle House Cookie & Tea Cafe, where they specialize in the traditional German “picture cookies,” and they’ve also made some into ornaments!