Baking Christmas cookies is one of my absolute favorite things about this season and it has been a ritual of mine since I was a teenager. Way back then, I seemed to have all the time in the world but now with it being so busy, I like to make sure that I get a few things in order before I get started to make sure that my baking escapades go off without a hitch. As with anything I prepare in the kitchen, the most important element is the ingredients, and holiday cookies are no exception. Today, I’ll share with you what to look for when stocking up on pantry staples for your holiday baking – having the right ingredients on hand really does make all the difference!
I always use unsalted butter for everything but when it comes to baking cookies it’s a must. By doing so, you get to control the amount of salt that goes into a recipe. Otherwise, you never know just how much of a salty taste the butter might impart and if and how much you should adjust the salt that the recipe calls for. Another interesting fact about salted butter: it’s usually older than its unsalted counterpart since the salt preserves the butter.
When any of my recipes call for flour, I use unbleached flour. I find that it has the best texture and a naturally delicate creamy colour that makes for beautiful cookies. Really, it’s just perfect as it is, there’s really no need to bleach it white.
With winter being such a dry season, brown sugar just doesn't stay as moist as it does in warmer weather. To help avoid those big clumps and make sure your brown sugar is always easy to work with, store your sugar in a plastic container with a stale piece of bread and seal it tightly.
Did you know that there are two different types of measuring cups – one for liquid ingredients and the other for dry? Not only is it more convenient to use the right type of measuring cup for the right ingredient, it will also ensure that everything is measured properly. When measuring dry ingredients, do not compact the flour. Instead, use a separate scoop to gently sprinkle it into the measuring cup and then use a spatula to level it off to get the precise amount called for in the recipe.
Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll go over the tools and equipment you should have on hand to make your cookie baking a breeze. Once we cover all of those basics, we’ll be all set to start baking a few of my favorite cookie recipes that I’m looking forward to sharing with you.