Give Personalized Gifts of Christmas Cookies
TEXARKANA, Ark. –
I miss the days of my children being young when we baked and decorated cookies for the Christmas season. They were a personalized gift we made for those we loved. Little did my children know but we were also making memories. We spent time together getting flour all over ourselves, the floor, cabinets, and occasionally even getting some into the mixing bowl.
It’s not too late to make Christmas cookies as presents this year. Homemade gifts are the best gifts because the giver actually spent time and effort making that item.
Gifts are even more special when children are involved in the making of them. Nearly every child wants to join in the kitchen during this holiday season. They will gain a sense of accomplishment when they taste those yummy cookies they helped to make, plus you are teaching them to give to others.
If you don’t bake sugar cookies on a regular basis, don’t be scared. Get out your mixer, quality ingredients, and get ready to bake up gifts and memories. Just follow these tips and you will be making presents anyone would be proud to receive. Don’t worry about them being perfect if your children or grandchildren are helping. That’s what makes them special.
One of the frustrations of rolling out dough is keeping it from sticking to the rolling pin. The best thing to do is lightly dust the surface and the rolling pin with flour. It may take repeat dustings. Some bakers use a pastry cloth and stockinet-covered rolling pin to make rolling the dough easier, and to help prevent dough from sticking. Rub flour evenly onto the rolling pin and pastry cloth for easy handling.
Keep your cookies from spreading on the baking pan when you bake them by refrigerating the dough until well chilled (1 to 2 hours). If the dough is still too soft, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour.
Do not grease the cookie sheet unless the recipe tells you to. Greasing a cookie sheet when the recipe does not call for it can cause the cookies to spread too much and brown too quickly around the edges.
Always use quality ingredients when baking if you want quality cookies. Never use a low fat spread with 60 percent or less fat in place of butter or margarine in baking recipes. Low fat spreads have higher moisture content and will make cookie dough very soft.
If you want cookies that will be evenly browned, use a baking stone, or a shiny, aluminum cookie sheet at least two inches narrower and shorter than the oven to allow for good air circulation. The sheet may be open on any or all sides. If you choose to use a dark colored cookie sheet, watch it carefully. It may cause your cookies to brown quicker.
For best results, place one cookie sheet in the oven at a time in the middle of the center rack of the oven during traditional baking. If cookies are baked on the bottom rack of the oven they may burn or not bake evenly.
If you make an abundance, you can freeze some for later use. Both frosted and unfrosted cookies may be frozen for up to 2 months, although unfrosted freezes best. Sometimes frozen frosted cookies become moist under the frosting.
Arrange cookies in a container lined with plastic food wrap or aluminum foil. For best results, wrap cookies individually in plastic wrap. Separate with layers of aluminum foil or plastic food wrap.
Store in an airtight container, with label and date. Be sure to thaw cookies, by letting them stand loosely covered on a serving plate for about 20 minutes before frosting or serving.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
Gather up your little bakers, roll up your sleeves, and try out this holiday recipe for my family’s favorite sugar cookie. Make up several batches at a time and keep dough in the refrigerator in closed zip top bags. Then simply roll out, bake and decorate as needed.
Carla’s Family Favorite Sugar Cookies
One and one half cup powdered sugar
1-teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
In a mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar, margarine, vanilla, almond extract, and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients; put in zip top bag and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Divide dough into halves. Roll each half on lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake until edges are light brown, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
Note: If using self-rising flour, omit baking soda and cream of tarter.
By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
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