25 days of delicious Christmas cookies

These delicious holiday cookies are perfect to give as a gift

W hat would the holiday be without their traditional small cookies? Whether you serve these cookies at holiday receptions, leave out for Santa, or send them as gifts to friends, one thing is certain: you want the best confections. These small delicacies have still many followers! Our gift to you is a selection of 25 of our favorite cookie recipes, one for each day from December 1 until Christmas Day.

Tips for successful cookies:

  • Weigh the ingredients

In a cookie recipe like chocolate chips, there is not a lot of liquid. Adding one extra ounce of flour and the cookies would lose their softness, would not spread and harden. Hence the importance of weighing the dry ingredients.

  • Spread the Facts

  • Spreads
(tub margarines or butters; reduced fat sticks) contain much more water than butter, shortening or margarine and the cookie dough will spread WAY out.

  • Butter and margarine vs shortening and oil
Butter and margarine are 80% fat; shortening and oil are 100% fat, so substituting one for the other will affect the spread, chewiness, crispness and flavor.

  • Vegetable or cooking oil
does not hold air so will not cream with the sugar. Some types of cookies will then be greasy and too thin when baked.

  • Shortening and margarine
are hydrogenated fat and they will melt slower than butter in baking and the resulting cookie may be thicker and chewier. Shortening is generally less flavorful than butter.
Margarine does not need to be softened before creaming or mixing with the sugar(s).
If butter or margarine are softened too much (melted or fingers go all the way through the stick when touched), they will not incorporate air and get fluffy-- when mixed (creamed) with the sugar. The water or liquid part of the butter or margarine will also be released and will make the cookie tough, greasy and affect spread.

  • Salted or unsalted butter
If there is salt in the recipe, unsalted butter is best OR adjust the salt called for to taste if using salted butter.

  • spices and flavorings
Holiday baking often uses exotic spices and flavorings with liberal abandon. Rum and Pepper Gingersnaps! Pfefferneusse! French Honey Wafers!

  • final hint
As a final hint, read your recipe through carefully before beginning. Think about which ingredients are building structure and which act as tenderizers. And if your recipe isn't high in fat, remember that the more you work the dough, the more the gluten develops and the stronger and less tender its framework becomes. Of course there's much more to cookies than simply their framework. But as is the case with putting most things together, the framework comes first!
You will find more information on http://www.exploratorium.edu/

  • Right oven temperature

It is necessary to ensure that the temperature of the oven is accurate especially for baking cookies. An oven thermometer is recommended for measuring the temperature and adjust accordingly.

  • Consistency of the dough
Several types of cookie dough require some time in the fridge before they are formed and baked. The cold temperature will help to strengthen the dough, making it easier to cut the rolled dough, also, cookies cut with cutter retain their final form and will have a better flavor.

  • Storing the cookies

When the cookies are baked and cooled, store them between sheets of baking or parchment paper in an airtight container at room temperature. In general, cookies do not need to be refrigerated, but if you plan to keep them longer than a few days, consider freezing. If you freeze them, make sure they are properly packaged. Thaw slowly to room temperature before serving.

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