It's the time of year when weekend cookie warriors get into the kitchen to make cookies that make happy memories. Truthfully, it doesn't always turn out that way. Time needed is misjudged, cookies burn , icing gets clumpy, kids get bored and you want to throw the whole mess out the window. Here are a few tips to make you the best cookie elf ever!
  1. Make dough in advance.
    Having dough prepared in advance, resting in the fridge or hibernating in the freezer, makes baking so much easier. Chocolate chip cookies can be scooped into balls, frozen on sheet trays, then popped into freezer bags and baked off at your will. Dough for cutout cookies can be rolled between two pieces of parchment paper and frozen. Peel off the paper when you're ready, cut 'em out and bake. Your shapes stay intact, too. Read more here:
  2. Have an action plan.
    Sketch out your designs. Keep 'me simple. Know before hand how you want your Santa to look before you even turn the oven on. Makes production much faster.
  3. Bake the cookies at one time.
    You can stacks them on top of each other and wrap them tightly with plastic wrap til you're ready to decorate.
  4. Keep the color palette simple.
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    Trust me, nothing's more tiring than mixing 12 colors of icing. Think ahead, and simplify your designs and color choices. One dark green can be lightened with white icing to make a lighter gree, for example. No need to make a rainbow of colors.
  5. Err on the side of looser icing.
    Your hands and fingers will thank you. Icing for outlining and writing should be the consistency of toothpaste. Icing to frost the whole cookie should be like pancake syrup.
  6. Dark colors first.
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    For instance, to keep red mittens from bleeding into their white cuffs, let the red dry overnight. Add the white or lighter color the next day. Perfection.
  7. However much time you allow, allow more.
    You know why? Sh*t happens.
  8. Love is the most important ingredient. If you give a gift you made to people you love, that's what counts.