A big part of the holiday season includes treating yourself and loved ones to seasonal sweets. While pumpkin pie is pretty great and eggnog is all well and good, nothing beats a batch of fresh baked cookies this time of the year. From inside cabinet accessories for your DIY cabinets to some of the best tricks of the trade, we’ve got all the knowledge you need to bake and decorate holiday cookies like a pro.
Prep your kitchen for a season of baking.
Just like an artist, a baker needs the right canvas and tools. If your kitchen is cluttered and countertop space is scarce, now is the perfect time to get organized. Inside cabinet accessories for your DIY cabinets make it easy to sort those spices and cookie sheets. And storage solutions like our heavy-duty mixer lift free up countertop space while also increasing your kitchen’s functionality.
After you have your cookie canvas prepped, you can start thinking about the tools you’ll need. Almost every recipe will require measuring cups and spoons. While some recipes have wiggle room, cookies call for very specific measurements. Unless it’s just an extra dash of cinnamon or splash of vanilla, it’s better to save your creativity for the decorating and leave recipes as they are.
You’ll also want to invest in a quality mixer. While mixing ingredients by hand is definitely doable, you’ll achieve a much better consistency with a mixer — and save a ton of time!
Durable, non-stick cookie sheets are a must for keeping your baked goods in one piece. Most professional bakers will also recommend using a non-stick silicone baking mat on top of your tray. This mat will replace parchment paper, and allows you to bake without greasing your tray with butter or oil.
Last but not least, splurge for the cooling racks. If you’re making multiple batches of cookies, these will be a lifesaver. As an alternative, you can put down aluminum foil, but some cookies might get stuck — and it will difficult to move cookies from one spot to another if you need to make more room.
Follow these baking and decorating tips.
Have you ever wondered why some cookies are just so much better than others? It could be that undeniable denseness, or when the edges are perfectly crisp but the center is still soft. Some cookies just have it going on. Get that je ne sais quoi thing happening with your cookies by following a few tricks of the trade.
- Chill your dough before baking. To get the most flavorful, solid and structured cookies, chill to harden your dough before baking. Just keep the dough in the refrigerator until it cools and then roll your dough into balls.
- Use an oven thermometer to make sure your setting is accurate. Even though your oven reads 350 degrees, it may be just below or slightly above. 10 or 15 degrees can be the difference between good and out-of-this-world cookies. Use an oven thermometer to gauge the real temperature inside of your oven and adjust accordingly.
- Don’t always rely on the instructed baking time. Sometimes an extra minute or two can turn perfectly baked cookies into burnt duds. Always check cookies a few minutes before their specified baking time to see if they’re ready early. You can tell cookies are done when the edges are lightly browned and set. If you prefer your cookies on the softer side, you can take them out even if the center seems not quite done. Once out of the oven, they will continue to cook for a few more minutes, and this will give them a nice, soft center.
- Put together a pastry bag and coupler to achieve the perfect lines. The best way to apply frosting to a cookie is with a pastry bag and coupler. This will allow you to switch out different sized tips so you can achieve the perfect lines when decorating. Although convenient, never frost cookies with a store-bought tube. Either transfer the pre-made frosting into your pastry bag or make your own.
- Apply sprinkles when the frosting is wet. Sprinkles should be added immediately after you apply frosting to a cookie. Otherwise, the frosting will start to dry, and it will be impossible to evenly distribute your sprinkles or other decorations.
At The RTA Store we help make your dream home a reality with RTA (Ready To Assemble) and Pre-Assembled cabinets and accessories. Whether it’s your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, home office, home bar, or TV room, we offer the same (if not better) quality you would find at any retail store, but for a fraction of the price. Stop by our website or give us a call and let us make your dreams come true with the help of our free room design tool!