Ten tips for holiday baking

Posted on Dec 01 2014 in General
  1. Christmas cookiesStir flour before scooping and measuring. In storage, flour settles and compacts. Leveling off with the back of a knife is the best way to get the right amount; tapping the measuring cup on the counter or shaking it to level it packs the flour, so you’ll end up adding too much.
  2. Keep it cool for crusts. Cold ingredients, a cold mixing bowl, and ice water make flaky pie crusts.
  3. Ingredients should be room temperature for cakes. You can warm cold eggs by placing in a bowl of tap water for 10 minutes.
  4. Each time you open the oven door during baking, the temperature inside drops by about 25 degrees. This can cause baked goods to cook unevenly. Put that oven light to use!
  5. When making cookies, beat butter and sugars until almost white and creamy. Beating lots of air into the dough results in a light, chewy cookie.
  6. For cakes, avoid overmixing! Beating butter and sugars a lot is OK, but once you add dry ingredients, mix as little as possible to ensure a light, airy cake.
  7. Bake ahead! Most baked goodies have a high butter content, so they freeze well. Plan ahead and get your baking done early so you have more time to enjoy holiday hosting. Freeze dough or already baked treats.
  8. Let cookie sheets cool between batches for more uniform cookies.
  9. For softer, chewier cutout cookies, roll dough to ¼-inch thickness and reduce the baking time slightly.
  10. Keep cookies consistent in size so they bake evenly. If you make drop cookies, use a cookie dough scoop, melon baller or tablespoon. If making cutout cookies, bake similar-sized cookies at the same time.