Little-known Tips for Easy Holiday
By Mimi Cummins,
Cookbook author Mimi Cummins shares her secret to preventing those holiday
Are you wondering if you have the time to bake homemade Christmas cookies
this year? Every year at about this time we all start to get a little panicked
that the holidays are coming up fast and we're not really ready yet. Here
are a few little-known tips and tricks, for almost every type of cookie,
to help you get the most out of the time you spend baking.
Don't struggle with dough sticking to your rolling pin. Instead, roll out
your dough between two sheets of waxed paper. This will eliminate the sticking
Do your cutout cookies always seem to turn out dry, tough, and tasteless?
The trick with the waxed paper will help with this. Assuming that you started
with a good recipe, the problem is that you are overworking your dough and
working too much flour into it. Using the waxed paper will help you to manipulate
the dough less, and the dough won't pick up any extra flour.
Refrigerator (Icebox) Cookies and Pinwheels Ever notice how your roll of
icebox or pinwheel cookies gets flat on one side from sitting on the refrigerator
shelf? Keep them nice and round by standing them upright in a tall drinking
glass while they're chilling.
Do your cookies flatten further when you try to slice them? Try rotating
the log 1/4 turn after each slice.
Having trouble with the cookies crumbling as you try to slice them? Start
with a log that has been frozen for several hours. Then use a very a very
sharp to slice through.
Cookie Press Cookies (Spritz)
Having trouble getting your cookies to form properly? When your dough doesn't
seem to stick properly, put your baking sheet in the freezer for an hour
or two, while keeping the dough at room temperature. Then when you press
out your cookies onto the frozen sheet, the dough will stick to it just like
your tongue sticks to a frozen metal pole when you lick it (assuming you've
ever been silly enough to try this).
Don't forget you can pick up your mistakes and put them back into the press.
When making bar cookies, create a liner for your baking pan by turning the
pan upside-down and covering it with aluminum foil, making sure to form the
corners and leaving an overhang of an inch or two. Then, remove the foil,
turn the pan right side up, turn the foil over and place it inside the pan.
It will make a perfect liner for your pan. If required by your recipe, grease
the liner. Then continue baking your bar cookies as directed. Once baked,
you can lift out the entire batch of bars and place it on a cooling rack
to cool completely. You can then immediately re-use your baking pan for another
batch without having to wait for the previous batch to cool, and you won't
have to wash the pan.
Eliminate the need to grease your baking sheets and wash them later by lining
them with parchment paper. Parchment paper can be re-used several times and
gives excellent results.
Do your cookies seem to brown too much, or cook too fast? Buy a dependable
oven thermometer and check your oven temperature. Your oven's internal
thermometer may not be accurate. Or, perhaps you are using a non-stick baking
sheet or pan. The dark color of the non-stick coating can make your baked
goods brown too fast. Try a shiny metal pan instead or lower your oven
temperature by 25 degrees.
Are your cookies not browned enough, or take too long to cook? Again, verify
the oven temperature. Or, perhaps you're using an insulated baking sheet
or pan. Insulated bakeware can prevent your cookies from reaching the desired
temperature in the right amount of time. Try using a non-insulated pan, or
raise your oven temperature by 25 degrees.
Copyright 2004 Mimi Cummins. All Rights Reserved.
Mimi Cummins is co-author of the book "Christmas Cookies Are for Giving:
Recipes, Stories, and Tips for Making Heartwarming Gifts." This book,
"enthusiastically recommended" by Midwest Book Review, is full of baking
tips and hints, including nearly 50 recipes each with a full-color photo.
For more information visit
or order from your favorite online bookstore.