On December 21, 2016

Christmas cookies made simple—time-saving tips for the traditionalist

Baking cookies is a holiday tradition for many families. Come the holiday season, many homes are filled with the inviting scents of vanilla, cinnamon and melting chocolate.
Baking cookies can be a social occasion in which family members and friends gather to create recipes passed down through generations. Or baking can be a solitary venture in which cookies are prepared and packaged as holiday gifts. Either way, people who bake during the holiday season understand that making Christmas cookies can be a time-consuming, yet rewarding, process.
This year, holiday bakers can embrace a number of time-saving tips and tricks to reduce the amount of time they spend in the kitchen and possibly even improve on existing recipes.
Use a cookie mix
Who says you have to toil and make cookies from scratch? It’s the thought that counts, and any number of creative recipes can begin by utilizing a pre-made baking mix. These mixes already have most of the dry cookie ingredients sifted together, including flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. All you have to do is add the wet ingredients and any extra embellishments to make the mix your own. If mixes are too much work, purchase refrigerated or frozen cookie dough. Include your own add-ins, such as nuts, white chocolate chips, bits of dried fruit, or crumbled candy canes, to give the pre-made dough a unique flavor.
Prepare ahead
Many cookie dough recipes can be made and stored for later use. In fact, refrigerating a log of cookie dough can make it easier to cut or handle later on. Spread out the bulk of your baking over two days and you might feel less taxed.
Try a no-bake recipe
Creative culinary experts continually reveal their clever tricks, and many of these include no-bake versions of favorite desserts. No bake cookies come together in a matter of minutes, but still employ a host of delicious ingredients. Recipes frequently feature similar ingredients to traditional cookies, but rely on chocolate, honey or peanut butter as the setting agent to keep them together. Bakers may also like not having to turn on their ovens.
Recycle leftover cookies
If you have a fair amount of cookies remaining or several that broke apart or do not look good enough to serve, never fear. Such cookies can be used as part of another delicious dessert. Grind cookies into crumbs that can serve as a pie crust for pudding pies or no-bake cheesecakes, or mix cookie crumbs with cake frosting or a nut butter and roll into balls. Dunk the balls into melted chocolate, add a lollipop stick and make delicious cookie pops.
Cookies may be holiday traditions, but there are ways to reduce the amount of work and time required of holiday baking.


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